Papermate InkJoy Gel Review

I know I’m not alone in doing this, but I have a habit of walking down the pen aisle whenever I go to a big-box store in the hopes that they have something new. I do this knowing that I am setting myself up for disappointment because nothing new or interesting will be found.

I had seen the Papermate InkJoy Gel in (insert name here) big-box retailer many times and my initial thought was pretty much “That pen is going to suck.” My thoughts were based on Papermate including the pen in their InkJoy line of pens and previous bad experience with the other pens in the InkJoy line. A few weeks after the InkJoy Gel started appearing in stores, I started to hear that the pens were actually pretty nice, so I decided to pick up a pack up and give them a shot.

The design of the pen is nothing special. It’s a basic design that has office supply room pen written all over it. The body of the pen is mostly colored rubberized-plastic with a colored transparent clip and plastic portion where the name of the pen is. Like most pens found in big-box stores, the exterior of the pen is colored to match the ink color, though the click-mechanism is silver colored plastic on all the InkJoy Gel pens. The barrel is a straight cylinder except with no taper, except for the nose of the pen where the refill tip extends.

The clip, if you can it a clip, is nothing more than a stiff, rounded piece of plastic that sticks up from the barrel like a design afterthought. There is a noticeable gap between the clip and the barrel which really affects the functionality of the clip.It is near worthless when clipped to the average shirt pocket, and isn’t much better when clipped to a pair of shorts or jeans. There’s no resistance at all either clipping to or removing from the shirt pocket, nor does it make the snapping sound of the clip hitting the barrel that is common when removing clipped pens from pockets. It does prevent the pen from falling to one side of your shirt pocket and it serves as a roller stopper, so I guess it does do the job but it’s still think it’s a poor design.

Here's the gap between the clip and barrel.
Here’s the gap between the clip and barrel.
What makes the InkJoy Gel really shine is the refill. The refill is one of the smoothest and wettest gel refills I have used. I would say the refill feels and behaves more like a rollerball than a typical gel pen, especially the .7mm version. The .7mm lays down a thick line and feels more like a Schmidt P8127 than a .7mm Pilot G2 or Signo 207/307. The .5mm is definitely my favorite and lays down a noticeably thinner line than the .7mm refill. I have not experienced any hard starts, skips, or blobbing with either the .5 or the .7mm version. The best thing about the InkJoy Gel refill is that it is the same size as the Pentel EnerGel refill, which means that it can be used in a number of different pens.

InkJoy Gel on the left, EnerGel on the right.
InkJoy Gel on the left, EnerGel on the right.
The InkJoy Gel is a good pen but leaves a lot to be desired in the looks department. Looks aren’t everything though, and the way the pen writes more than makes up for it’s basic looks. The refill being the same size as the Pentel EnerGel means it can be used in other pens, I’ve got a .5mm Slate (blue black) refill my in Big i Design Ti Arto. Don’t make the mistake I did in ignoring the InkJoy Gel based on who it was made by and by the way it looked, pick up a pack and give them a shot.

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