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Pen Review: Pentel EnerGel-X

The Pen Warrior knows how much I love my Pentel EnerGel pens, so when he told me recently that he was sending along a new EnerGel  he thought I would like, I got excited.

This new pen, the EnerGel-X retractable, is the pen that Pentel is putting up head-to-head against the Pilot G2. To celebrate the launch, the company has rolled out a huge promotional wave - everything from giving away a car to hosting a special VIP lounge at Lollapalooze earlier this month.

The tagline for the EnerGel-X is, "The future is smooth."

With all that hype in mind, I happily opened the package from the Pen Warrior and took out my new pen.

First impression was that it was almost identical to the G2, with the exception that the G2 has a tighter plunger and a better grip. Pentel's grips tend to be kind of "meh," and this one is no exception - just a straight rubber sleeve with some rolling grooves cut into it.

OK, so the G2 had the slightest of advantages there.

But then, I sat down to write.

To me, the EnerGel has always been completely under-rated. People talk about how smooth and reliable the writing experience is with the G2 and the Jetstream and the Signo, but those have always felt like ballpoints compared to my liquid ink EnerGel Deluxe.

And the 0.7 mm EnerGel-X feels just as good.

The pen floated across my notepad, even when held at extreme angles. Writing was effortless, the black lines extremely clean, even on the cheap paper.

At one second of drying time, there was some smearing. At three seconds, the smearing was slight. And at five seconds, virtually non-existent.

The only complaint I had was that there was some blotting at pause points, even though I was writing extremely fast. According to Pentel, the ink is a combination of liquid ink and gel ink that they call "RollerGel," and seems to flow a little heavier than necessary.

Just to confirm my feeling that this pen was a far superior writer to its competitors, I grabbed a G2 Mini and a Jetstream RT that I had handy.

To be fair, both of those are excellent pens and have more than earned their outstanding reputations. But, both tips dragged significantly in comparison to the EnerGel-X. The lines also seemed less vibrant, although neither blotted as much as the EnerGel-X since their inks are thicker.

My final assessment of the EnerGel-X was that it is a work in progress. As it is, it may be the best writer of its kind on the market. All it needs is a better grip and a little tightening of the overall construction. If Pentel nails that down, this pen may very well eclipse the G2 and the Jetstream.

If you haven't had a chance to try one yet, I'd highly recommend it.

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