I remember trying the original Yoropen when it first appeared in the UK. I think this was around 10 years ago. At the time it caused quite a stir in education because it purported to help just about every writing problem going: RSI, dyslexia, dyspraxia or just rubbish handwriting. I didn’t get on with it myself but it certainly had its fans amongst my colleagues. I seem to remember seeing news articles about it. It was available in high street shops. Then it disappeared and everyone forgot about it.
That original version was made from plastic and lives on, primarily in pencil form. The Yoropen company recently relaunched the pen in a luxury metal version, via Kickstarter, and are selling it online for $64.99. Yoropen leant me this pen so I could write this review.
I’ll get the ballpoint aspect out of the way first. It is one. A ballpoint that is. It’s not a bad one. It writes smoothly and doesn’t skip too much (for a ballpoint). It’s possible to have a much better writing experience with most pens that use a different kind of ink but it’s on a par with the better refills of this type. I don’t like ballpoints very much (except for this hybrid one, and I’m not sure that counts) but if you’re a fan I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this. It’s good for a ballpoint.
(The Kickstarter campaign included a mould for bending your own refills into place. I haven’t got this and it isn’t currently available. I don’t know if the mould could be used to bend a rollerball refill into shape but if it could that would very much suit me.)
The build quality is outstanding. The look is quite industrial and the overall impression is of a very solid and precisely engineered pen. The clip is firm and the cap clicks closed and clicks to posts in a lovely way. I cannot fault the effort that has gone into making this pen a quality product.
The Yoropen is comfortable to hold. Is it “the world’s best ergonomically designed pen”? Who knows? How is it even possible to measure that? It does feel easy as you write, though. The rubberised grip is easy on the fingers, too, although I noticed bits rubbing off it a little (like a used eraser, though much more subtle). However, there are lots of claims made about the benefits of this pen, made in ways that give the impression of them having been scientifically proven. As far as I can tell, though, these claims are based on nothing more than anecdote and while I’m sure there are many people who do find this pen comfortable to hold and easy to use, that’s not quite the same thing. I asked Yoropen where the evidence was to support their claims and never received a reply to my email.
There is clearly a market for premium ballpoint pens. Usually premium ballpoints seem to be just versions of popular fountain pens so it’s to be commended that Yoropen are doing something unique here. But it is a ballpoint pen for sale at more than twice that of a Kaweco Sport and for four times as much as a Pilot Metropolitan. Either of those fountain pens (and many others) will, I think, solve many problems people have with writing in comfort and also provide a more pleasurable experience. If you’re hooked on ballpoints, although this is a good example in this category, there are ballpoints that write just as well for just a couple of dollars.
For this to be the pen for you, you either have to be convinced of the claimed benefits or you have to be in the market for a premium quality ballpoint with this particular design. If that’s you, then I won’t try to talk you out of it. I think you’ll be happy with your purchase. I don’t fall into that camp though and so, grateful though I am to Yoropen for giving me the chance to try it out, and impressed as I am by the quality of their product, I wouldn’t spend my own money on a Yoropen pen.