Hero 360 Degree / 70 Review: Just Say No
The Hero 360 Degree pen, which seems to share the same nib, body and design as the Hero 70, is about US $3 on eBay, but its actual value is a negative number. Although on paper it seems like a decent and perhaps interesting pen, writing with it is an exercise in self-inflicted aggravation, as every aspect of it has some deeply irritating flaw.
Barrel Diameter: 10 mm
Length: 14.5 cm capped
Weight: I don't have access to a scale right now but similar to or lighter than 78G
At first glance it was a promising pen that had a slim solid metal body and cap, a low weight and a nice color, although the appearance is marred by the cap's somewhat unfortunate bulging forehead, it has a greater impact in person than in pictures and is especially noticeable when the clip is towards the viewer, to be frank I try not to look at it.
The plain metal section is not slippery and the pen is comfortable to hold, the cap posts effectively and without unbalancing the pen, the barrel holds Hero's standard aerometric filling system which does to its credit work reliably, but the barrel unscrews itself under the slightest provocation, including sitting immobile on my desk. I don't know how and am open to the idea that a malevolent influence is taking a hand somewhere, because I can't figure out any other reason for spontaneous disassembly. It has never leaked into the cap and in many respects seems rock solid internally, but a good feed can not save this pen.
The major interesting feature of the 360 Degree is the nib design, meant to allow the pen to write from any orientation without regard to whether the nib is right side up or not, and while I give Hero's engineers for the attempt to think outside the box the end result is deceptively horrible. Instead of having 2 tines which touch on a flat edge to create a single slit and have a smooth writing surface, the 360 Degree has 2 slits that cross perpendicularly, creating 4 tines, all of which end in a sharp corner right at the tip of the nib, and several of which likely have some other problem I can not bring myself to care enough about to troubleshoot.
I wrote with this pen for several days during a work week, initially finding it interesting and assuming that any problems could be adjusted to or smoothed away, and not being all that invested since it was simply a cheap pen. The longer I used it, the clearer it became that this pen was actually tremendously irritating to use, regardless of the speed I wrote at, the angle I held it at, or which of the multiple writing surfaces I attempted to use, so I put it away for several months, then smoothed it and attempted to use it again. This second round has only confirmed my initial impression that this nib is an ill-conceived notion that has been badly executed. The arrangement of 4 tines means that inevitably a sharp edge from the central meeting point will catch on the paper somewhere, and it is impossible, or at least not possible in the amount of time I was willing to spend, to smooth these inner edges enough to make a difference. Held upright like a ballpoint the pen writes but is scratchy and noisy, held at an angle to the paper like a fountain pen the pen is quieter and smoother but skips frequently. Words can not convey how essentially grating writing with this pen is.
Edited by WirsPlm, 12 January 2019 - 01:48.