Recently, the good folks over at Staples offered to send over a bunch of their new AvantPro pens with SilkScribe ink for a review and a big giveaway to all of our fantastic readers. First we will take a look at this great looking pen, then at the end of the review here you will find the rules for the giveaway.
Visually the new Staples AvantPro pen is quite impressive. It has a very nice looking brushed metal body and cap and has a small flared out band at the neck with a shiner chrome finish. In addition to the nice finish on the cap and body, the cap also has a nice strong and wide plastic clip with a little bit of a spring action to it. With the cap closed, the pen measures about 5 1/3″ and with the cap posted it measures almost exactly 6″ long. One of the things I like about how the cap posts is that it comes down really far on the body, about 1.25″ down on to the barrel of the pen. I think that having the cap post so far down on the body probably helps to keep the pen from becoming top heavy and causing you to experience tiredness in your hand when writing.
The grip on the Staples AvantPro is made from a soft, smooth, black rubbery material, and it does a good job of keeping the pen firmly under your control while you write. The picture above also shows the uniquely flared out neck of the pen which is the only part of the body that is not made from the brushed metal, and is instead a chrome-like plastic. This is also the area where you unscrew the grip when it comes time to replace the ink cartridge. Speaking of the ink cartridges, this is one of several pens in the new Avant series from Staples, and each of the pens take both the proprietary SilkScribe refills and the regular gel ink refills. The AvantPro being reviewed here comes loaded with a 1.0 mm black SilkScribe refill. The SilkScribe ink and the gel ink refills come in a black, blue, and red, and in .5mm and 1.0mm tip sizes. My best assessment leads me to believe that the SilkScribe ink is most like a hybrid ink that you would find in a Uniball Jetstream pen.
Writing with the Staples AvantPro turned out to be a very nice experience. The pen has a slightly hefty feel to it, which I personally like, but it is not TOO heavy as to cause fatigue in lengthy writing sessions. The SilkScribe ink performed well leaving smooth bold lines of black ink and hardly a trace of any skipping or blotching, although I did have some minor issues with that on one of the pens I tried, but they went away after a bit of use and were not apparent in the two other pens I tested for this. In addition to the smooth writing performance the ink seemed to dry pretty quickly at around 2 seconds. The Staples AvantPro is definitely a nice entry into the mid-range (a step above disposable but not quite luxury) pen market and should definitely be a consideration if you are in the market for a great looking pen that also writes nicely and can be refilled with both a hybrid ballpoint ink and a gel ink.
Staples was kind enough to send over a bunch of these pens for the giveaway, so we are going to pick 10 lucky winners that will each receive two of the AvantPro pens. As usual there will be multiple methods for entry, so please read the rules carefully.