Since one's satisfaction can vary greatly based on a pen's intended purpose--jotting notes and memos, sketching, inking art projects, lettering invitations, addressing letters, etc.--I'll focus on four angles: comfort, ink quality, longevity, and nib sizing.
I prefer pens which allow me to grip close to the nib--I feel I have more control over the line that way. Unfortunately, there is a good distance from grip to nib with this pen (~2.3mm as opposed to ~1.25mm on the Pilot B2P or ~1.5mm on a Bic Cristal) which annoys me. Also, the grip is slightly beveled with ribbing; while this doesn't bother me, it can be a turn-off to those who prefer a smooth, rubber/soft, or thick grip.
The pen enclosure is hard plastic with a girth comparable to a Bic Cristal or slightly slimmer than a Sharpie Pen. People with large hands or those who prefer beefier pens may find it too narrow. And despite its light weight, my hand still becomes fatigued after writing for an hour or so due to its diminutive size.
When it comes to comfort, this pen is middling for me. However, what this pen lacks in comfort, it makes up for in ink quality, longevity, and nib sizing. Once you break the pen in (write a couple of pages), the ink flows smoothly laying down crisp lines of color, even when using a light touch. The black is pleasantly dark, the red is quite close to true red, the blue I wish were a tad darker, but that's a personal preference, and the green and purple colors pop off the page without being overbearing. The drawback is that only one of the colors is somewhat colorfast--the blue one. If water so much as goes near the ink, it will smudge, so this means no signing important documents (to include checks) with these pens.
Like other gel pens, the ink tends to drain faster than the typical oil-based ink pen, however, you can get some serious mileage out of a single barrel of ink--about 20-30 8.5"x11" college-ruled pages worth--plus, these pens are refillable. And some pens sputter the closer to empty the barrel gets--not this pen; it will continue to produce dark even lines to the last drop, quite literally.
The G-Tec-C is the Western version of the Hi-Tec-C*, which is well-known for its ultra-fine lines. Where the Hi-Tec-C can get as fine as 0.25mm, the G-Tec-C primarily comes in a 0.4mm nib size (the 0.25mm and 0.3mm are more difficult to find). It's a good compromise for those who prefer thin precise lines without the scratchiness of a 0.25mm, or even 0.3mm, nib. Those who are accustomed to typical oil-based ballpoints, however, might still find this pen scratchy. Also, this pen is not ideal for heavy-handed writers. While the needle point can withstand moderate pressure, it could easily bend--or break--with repeated heavy pressure.
This is my go-to pen for jotting notes in my small notebook because it allows me to write almost microscopically and for doing quick loose sketches, though artists who are thinking of using watercolors or water pencils should proceed with caution because the ink could muddy a drawing when wetted. This is also an ideal pen for those looking for precision (i.e. structured sketches/drawings, lettering), just be forewarned that prolonged continuous use may cause discomfort.
*For more information on Hi-Tec-C pens, please see my comment.
on February 1, 2012
The G-Tec-C is the 'international' version of the Hi-Tec-C, which is distributed in Japan.
Most reviews you see at places such as penaddict.com will be for the Hi-Tec-C, which confuses some people, who assume they are different pens. What is interesting is the Hi-Tec-C has developed a near cult level following, and various times I've gone out to meetings with clients and had people ask me 'Is that a Hi-Tec-C' which is frankly a pretty odd question to get for a pen with such a cheap plastic barrel and look. So why is the pen popular?
1. It makes beautiful clear and fine lines
2. Despite the very small nib, the scratchiness you find with such ultrafines goes away very quickly as you start writing.
3. The ink flows and sets nicely for a gel pen.
I love to write and take notes and sometimes mindmap with sketches and non linear jottings. This pen is beautiful for such. The .4mm size (which this one is), is a good size for those getting used to it. I sometimes prefer .3, but .25 pushes the limits and does tend to be a bit scratchy. The black is also a nice black. Another perk about this particular 3-pack is it is a very inexpensive way to give the Hi-Tec-C/G-Tec-C a try. Even when you buy a box you're often paying $2 or more a pen/refill, but this three pack costs a good bit less. So a cult level legendary pen at pretty much the best price out there.
The refill does tend to empty a bit faster than a regular ballpoint pen, and some of the other gel pens, but not in a significant manner, especially not for the quality. The main negative to the pen is the plastic barrel. It is a plain cheap barrel. It isn't particularly durable, doesn't have the best ergonomics, and isn't hugely aesthetically pleasing. However, my first criteria for a pen is how it writes, second is how it feels to the hand, and only then do I get to things like how it looks.
If you are interested in looks (and hand feel) there are some great Kickstarter projects for the pen. I tend to favor the X-Pen and the Render-K but the Pen Type A is interesting too if you mostly will leave the pen on your desk rather than carry it with you.
When you consider people spend $50-$500 on pens that don't deliver anywhere near as great a line of ink as this $1.60-ish pen, you just can't go wrong. If you like writing at all, you simply can't go wrong dropping $5 to give these pens a try.
One thing you should consider is that pens like this show to best effect when using better quality paper. You can certainly use them with any basic pad of paper, but lower quality paper can show a bit of feathering and have other properties that will compromise the virtues of any high quality pen. Also the biggest difference between the Hi-Tec-C and G-Tec-C, is that in Japan the Hi-Tec-C comes in something like 40-50 colors. The G-Tec-C comes in the much more standard black/blue/red/green (and purple in the 5 color pack). I suspect however, 90% of the people will be primarily interested in the basic black at least to test.
So with all that in mind, really can't review this any more highly. It is a superb pen, it is at a great price, and if you like writing you owe it to yourself to take advantage of that combo.
on August 28, 2011
I bought these to see how I would like them compared with the Pilot Hi Tec C pens I have been using for the past few years. The Hi Tec C pens are hard to come by in the USA, but the G Tec pens are much more available. The point on these pens is .4mm, which compared to my Hi-Tec pens (.25mm) is absolutely huge.
These pens are great, and every time I lend them to someone they make a comment about the quality. These are, no doubt, wonderful writing devices, but for those that write smaller, you'll probably be wishing for a finer point.
I've purchased a box of .3mm G-Tec-C3 pens from Pilot and I enjoy them more than the .4mm tipped pens. For my size of handwriting, they are perfect. I use these pens every single day of my life. .3mm = 5 stars
Also, I'd like to comment that the blue ink is much more stable against water than the black ink is.
on April 27, 2013
Here I go again, I am going to review this godly made pen but I'll try not to be biased (or worse fangirl) in this review:
Anyway! First of all, let me state the facts about the Pilot G-Tec pens. They are all about precision and smooth fine writing. Tells everything about how great a pen is right? That's not just it. This pen is not only for fine writing but is basically for technical purposes. Yes, you are thinking right. People with technical careers like architecture or engineering uses this kind of pen, even artists, because of how this pen works well in technical stuff. So, it's fine if you use it for your daily use (with caution, why? You'll know later) but this pen could do so much more. And if you're buying this sort-of expensive pen, it would be more better for that reason. Do not even start with it's pen life, this thing can last, and when I say last, I mean like about 5-6 months or more (depends on the user) which if you think about it, is a very great investment.
Now we covered the great things about this pen, let me talk about the downside. It's not really a downside of it uses (because it is nor lacking at it) but it comes down HOW YOU TAKE CARE of it. This pen would demand more care than any random and basic pen lying around. This pen? When this baby falls from a table or from anything that would make it shake violently? IT WILL PROBABLY 90% WOULD NEVER WORK ANYMORE. It's that sensitive, I'm sorry. It's not really it's fault but because of it's tip, thought promising, is really easily breakable. And once that breaks? You can just either buy a refill for lower expense. There are people who'll try to revive it but it's really hard, you'll just a hard time on your hand.
Now citing that stuff, my advice to you is that if you want to buy this pen, be cautious and more careful around the pen. That's why the pen's cap always remind you to CLOSE it whenever you do not use it, because even the makers know how the probability of it living from a accident is fatal and would just cause you more big bucks (for a pen). Also, if you are buying this pen for the heck of it, do check other more basic pens before looking this way because like I said, this pen is more useful in technical way than just a writing pen. (Not that I am discouraging you, but you get what I mean.)
on December 31, 2012
Grabbed these after reading such positive praise for the Hi-Tec-C/G-Tec-C, while looking for another brand. Wish I hadn't. They were inexpensive, but even still, not worth it. They hardly write on the first attempt, so you have to scratch it to get going. By the third sentence you're running dry, and have to scratch again. It can't keep up with relatively quick writing, like a signature. It has a rough feel as well, even for a fine tip.
I read a review, where these same issues were described, and the solution was to write on better paper. Well, that's not gonna work. Would you drive a car that hardly started, ran out of gas after three miles, couldn't get above 15mph, and had no suspension, but drove great on perfect roads? No? Then you shouldn't want these pens either.
I gave it two stars instead of one because of the hype. Maybe a got a bad batch? Either way, I ended up replacing these with what I was looking for to begin with: Uniball Signo DX UM-151. Love them, and I won't stray again!
on March 8, 2012
Do you write a lot?
Is your handwriting on the small side?
Normal pens have a tendency to slow you down or "skip" a lot?
If you answer yes to these 3 questions, and you need to write in blue ink like I do, then this is THE pen for you. These pens are my new go-to pen for all of my documenting at work. They are as smooth as a Pilot G2 5 or P500, but they are even finer, which is quite a trick.
I've tried some other pens that are even finer tipped (.25mm slicci .3mm hybrid arts, .3mm g-tec-c3), but this seems to hit the sweet spot of fine line without skipping as often. And as fine as the line is, there is an ink supply the same size as a G2 refill, so it lasts even longer.
If you simply MUST have a retractable, you may want to look at jetpens as they have a very small version of the hi-tec-c pen which is similar. I personally don't know that retractable would be a good idea, though, as with these super-fine tips the ink can dry on them and ruin the writing quality of the pen.
on September 20, 2012
I usually use pilot G2 .38mm pens, but this brand makes even smaller point pens so I thought I'd try the .3mm. They write very smoothly and don't appear to have the problem where the tip breaks like occasionally happens with the G2s. The first thing I noticed is that they seem to be thinner than the G2s and feel more delicate than the G2s firmer barrels. These pens also have a cap, so I need to be very careful about not losing them because somewhere I read that they do dry out (and sometimes when I first start to use the ink, I need to write for a bit to get the ink going, which can be a pain if I'm writing very little). Another difference is that the G2s have a comfort grip for writing a lot, whereas these don't. I did find it to hurt my hands more than my G2s did after a long period (several hours) of continuous writing.
The writing size looks about the same between my G2s and these pens, but I noticed my G2s have a visibly darker color in black (I didn't notice any difference between the green, red, and blue colors of each). Also these pens have purple which isn't a color option for the G2 .38s.
Overall, I'll probably stick with my G2s because I can get them discounted in local stores, but these are a great option as well, especially if you try to color code your work and need/want that extra color provided with the G-Tec-Cs. Hopefully Pilot will eventually release more colors of small nib sizes.
on November 23, 2011
I got some of these pens in Britain several years ago and finally used them up, so was pleased to find them here on Amazon - They are impossible to find in any US store I have been to.
I like them because they write with the finest line of ink that I have ever used, which is just perfect for fine diagramming or commenting. The fineness of the line really makes what you have written stand out in contrast to anything else written on the page with a ball-point or any other type of pen, even other gel pens. I have a lot of different pens in my drawer, but these are unique. And they feel really nice while writing.
A few usage notes:
* They can smudge a bit at times.
* Ink is not waterproof, and can smear (this is clearly stated). I *think* there is another version of this same pen with waterproof ink but I am not clear on that point.
* Because the point is very, very fine, you can't press very hard. Not a problem; just something to be aware of.
* And you have to be careful to *fully* re-cap the pen after every use. In fact, there is a label on the cap of each pen reminding you of this. If you are not careful, you might wind up pushing the cap on but not snapping it on fully - as I did once, to my regret.
These pens are very, very fine. In both senses of the word.
on June 25, 2013
Normally, I LOVE these pens, but lately each batch that I purchase has a few pens that are stuck form the get go, and they stop to work while there is still plenty of ink in them.
on January 9, 2013
I discovered the "hi-tec-c" pen over 10 years ago, and it's been my favorite pen ever since. I have actually been ordering them from Japan for the past 6 years or so, until I discovered that they sell the same pen in the US as "g-tec-c".
There are lots of other "fine line" pens on the market, but this is better than all of them in every way:
* Very thin line
* Deep black is high contrast and very readable
* Not smeary or too absorbent.
* Dries fast, and is permanent (won't run if wet)
* Writes smoothly and consistently. Rarely skips or runs out of ink.