Schneider Haptify ballpoint
I went to a local art supply store a few months ago and found they had lots of pens from the german brand Schneider that I had to try. One of them was the Haptify that I am reviewing here. It is hard for me to say if it can be considered disposable. I got mine for like USD $3, which I think is a bit steep for a disposable ballpoint, but I see the prices get wildly higher with certain retailers. The blister package does not make emphasis on the improved ViscoGlide ink or the fact that it can take at least two kinds of refills.
The first thing that caught my eye about the Haptify is the unusual shape, with that triangular rubber grip that somehow reminds me the Lamy Safari. I must admit I don’t particularly care for rubber grips, but I do like pens that go the extra mile to provide extra comfort. The grip is made of the dense rubber stuff and is “fused” with the pen body, meaning it cannot be removed and will not slide in any direction. It does adjust to my medium sized hands and there’s extra room for bigger hands. It is also very grippy, so the pen is firmly in place while writing. Extra points for that. My only complaint is that it can be somehow misleading, my minds keeps expecting to grab this wide, chunky pen but my fingers wrap around a skinny and light three-sided barrel. I think the overall shape would work even better in a wider pen. If I was going to be extra picky, I’d also ask for an additional spring that keeps the plunger extended because it rattles slightly when depressed.
The second detail about the design of the pen is the unusually large and flexible clip. It is more flexible than I am used to expect from metal clips of this kind and does not get in the way at any point, while writing or handling the Haptify. It’s good.
Then you push the plunger to reveal your standard ballpoint tip… which exceeded my expectations when it finally touched paper. The Haptify uses an improved viscosity (and I think, saturation) ink which reminds me of the Paper Mate Ink Joy system. It starts immediately and does have a more “oily” feeling to it, like using a very well lubricated piece of machinery. It is smooth and draws lines that almost approach a good quality gel or rollerball ink. It still skips from time to time like most ballpoints, but it is definitely better.
Another high-light of this system, which the makers calls ViscoGlide, is that it dries really quick and is waterproof. I was not able to make any noticeable smudge when I slid my fingers over it immediately after writing, even when I poured some drops of water over it. Remarkable.
After my first positive impressions with the pen, I still wondered if it was disposable or not and how would the refill actually look like. It is so well constructed that it may appear to be sealed, kinda like what a Zebra F-701 can feel at first. I imagined that I might be able to unscrew the plastic part near the tip, as is usually the case, and was surprised to find that the pen opens in half to reveal a thin metallic refill. I was disappointed to see it would not last for long, but it does have that precision german made feel that sort of compesates for the small amount of ink.
It surely is disposable, I thought with dissapointment, but I was glad to find on the website of the brand that the Haptify actually uses the Plug & Play system, which allows for several kinds of refills to be used. There are gel inks and many colors available. It does take standard Parker refills too (Schneider makes a ViscoGlide refill of this variety, which you can use with many other pens) so I am sure the Haptify will be a trusty companion for a long time.