I have been using Uni-ball Jetstream pens ever since they came out several years ago. As a left-hander, the fast-drying ink appealed to me right away and I have not been disappointed.

I did break ranks and buy a Cool Tools recommended Parker Jotter ballpoint pen and had trouble with the ink flow almost from the get-go. I contacted Parker and they sent me two new refills, but the problem persisted, so I gave up on Parkers and went back to my standby Jetstream pen.

Then, fairly recently Uni-ball came out with their Jet Stream Prime multicolor pens. The Prime pens are more upscale then their single color brethren, but look much nicer (and, of course, cost more).

I rarely lose pens (just don’t ask to borrow mine), so, without hesitation, I opted for a black three-color pen from the Prime series. These little guys are close to $30 from Amazon, but even at that price I find them a good deal. Most multicolor pens have a less than sleek cross-section and the mechanisms tend to be clunky. Neither of those descriptions apply to the Prime pens. The little sliders for the three colors are barely noticeable and the mechanism is crisp and operates smoothly. I’m a mathematician and I often need to highlight some parts of a derivation, which used to mean circling the parts. No more. Now I just switch from black to red or blue to mark important equations.

I am not sure what the barrel is made of, but even though it’s not textured or soft-coated it is easy to grip and does not slide in my hand. Also, the pen takes standard Uni-ball refills. The Prime pens come in several color combinations and there are even models that include a pencil, but I haven’t tried the pen-pencil combination. If you hang on to your pens for a long time and have need for more than a single color (or even a pencil), I’d highly recommend the Prime pens from Uni-ball.

One caveat I discovered only after using the pen for a while, and it holds for almost all multi-pens: In order to fit all the refills into the pen, they need to either make the barrel very fat, which this one is not, or skimp on ink, which is the case with this pen. It’s not a big deal, but something to think about. I ordered refills later, but I wish I had ordered them with the pen. See photo below for comparison:

pen-size

— Jim Shapiro

Uni Jet Stream Prime High Grade Multicolor Ballpoint Pen

$27

Available from Amazon

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