Uniball make my favourite non-fountain pen pens. I’m a bit fan of their Signo gel pen range, especially their 207 needle tip pen. When they released their Vision Elite range a few years ago, I was keen to try it. I had long used their Vision Eye pen, which held lovely dark ink and while I mostly enjoyed that pen, I found the rollerball itself a little scratchy. Not scratchy against the paper itself, but scratchy within the pen. It seemed as though the ball didn’t sit well within the rollerball tip? It wasn’t always there but on the odd occasion you would feel it scratching against the pen.
It wasn’t overly annoying, but I was hoping for a bit of an improvement with the new release and I wasn’t disappointed. The Vision Elite is beautifully smooth and easy to use. The ink is dark and reliable, as always, but the ball now behaves and fits in well in the rollerball tip, meaning that the scratchiness experienced in the Vision eye.
The other improvement on the Vision Eye is that the Vision Elite is now refillable. This is a good idea in theory but in practise, I don’t think its particularly realistic. The Vision Elite pen body is not super sturdy and the body has split on most of the pens I’ve used, well before their first refill was finished. What this does mean, however, is that its much easier to work out when your rollerball pen is out of ink. While I adore the Schmidt rollerball refills (P8127 and 5888) its really annoying when you run out of ink because the writing experience becomes much less smooth.
For lovers of finer points, you will be disappointed to learn that the Vision Elite is a little wider than the Eye – 0.8mm v’s the 0.7mm in the Eye. It does come in a 0.5mm version, but I’ve not yet tried that. I don’t mind the wider tip but it can take a little longer to dry, especially on fountain pen friendly papers like Rhodia and Fabriano. In fact, when writing the handwritten version of this review, I smudged the ink a few times and had to rewrite it (but my hand was also wet, so I’m not sure if that was the wet hand or the wet ink).
When photographing the written review, I realised that the ink in this pen sheened, even on Fabriano. I went to try it on Tomoe River Paper and the effect was a bit more pronounced. Although I wouldn't recommend it because it took AGES to dry!
This version is a bit more expensive than the Eye version, but I think the smoothness of the ball makes up for the slight price increase. Although my favourite rollerball remains the Schmidt P8127, this comes a close second for the pens that are currently available (my all time favourite is probably the Uniball Vision Exact which has been discontinued).