Pokka Pen

The Product

The Pokka Pen is a small plastic pen designed to be affordable and pocket-able. It's available in a wide range of colors and patterns, but the 3 I have to look at today are yellow, blue, and orange. The cap of the Pokka Pen attaches to the tail end to form a full length pen when in use, for more comfortable writing. Pokka also sent along a pocket clip and a notebook to take a look at as part of the kit.

Spoiler

This pen is a great idea, and a great execution. I love how small and light it is when carrying, and the 'pop' the two parts make when you pull them apart is very satisfying. There's a bit of play between the two pieces, and the light weight of the pen isn't as nice when you're writing with it - but I really think that's fine. This isn't the tool I'd use to write a 3 hour exam, but it's definitely something I can (and do) keep in a pocket in case I need to take a quick note, sign a receipt, or lend it to a friend. The writing experience reflects that as well. This is a bog-standard ball point pen, akin to what you might find in a Bic. Even so, it writes just fine. It works when I expect it to on all sorts of paper, and it's not unpleasant at all.
It would be impossible to get through this article without talking about the Fisher Bullet, so I'll get that out of the way now. Yes, this cap back design is functionally similar. I'm aware of that, and I'm certain that the people at Pokka are too. The biggest differentiating factor is the price - the Bullet goes for around $20, depending on sales. While I certainly don't think $20 is unreasonable to spend on a pen, some people will - especially if you loose it. The pack of 3 I have to look at today goes for under $9. I find the weight and solid build of the Fisher makes it a bit more comfortable to write with. The Pokka pen's lighter weight makes it more comfortable and easy to forget about in a pocket. The Pokka also writes nicer, since the pressurized ink Fisher uses is notoriously viscous. Both are available in a wide variety of colors and styles, so pick whichever suits you best.

Physical Dimensions

The pen measures 11.5 mm at the widest point, and the grip is 7.5 mm. Closed, the length is 83 mm, and it extends to 137.5 (including the tip) in use.
For size comparison: Pokka pen closed with clip, Fisher Bullet, Pokka pen open, Nitecore NTP40, Lumintop IYP365 Ti (not a pen).

Build

The pen is made up of two pieces - the grip, and the cap.
The cap is a simple injection molded tube, closed on one end. The brand is molded into the side, but it doesn't stick out very far and isn't noticeable at first glance. There are some small marks from the injection process - but again, you have to be looking to find them.
The grip has two o-rings at the top to lock the cap in place either closed, or open as a full length pen. There's a black cap on this end that doesn't seem to be removable. When the cap is installed it can move a tiny bit if pressure is applied, and this seems to vary a bit across the 3 pens I have. Could be due to variance in the O-rings or the bodies themselves. If you wanted to further customize your pen, I'm sure you could find other colors of these O-rings to add your own flair.
The cartridge is friction fit into the grip, and can be replaced with a pair of pliers. There's no play or wiggle at all here.

Ergonomics and Retention

When writing, the cap sits high on the tail to give an almost full length pen. This gives the pen a very natural feel, no different to what most people are used to using in an office.
Even with these features, I think this pen is best suited as a back up or for short notes - I certainly wouldn't plan on writing an essay with it. The cap on the back of the pen adds to the length, but the pen is still much lighter than I like and has a bit of play to it. The grip section is comfortable, but smooth.
For retention, the add-on pocket clip can be slid over any part of the cap, directed either way. The clip has a good shape, and keeps a solid grip on both the pen and your pocket. For me, the biggest advantage is that the clip stops the pen from rolling away when in use.

Writing and Refills

Here's a visual comparison to a few of my most used pens and inks. The Pokka refill flows smoothly and doesn't get gummy in my experience, but it obviously doesn't glide as well as a rollerball or the Quink.
Refills aren't any standard format, but the company sells them in black, red, and blue. There's also a Pokka pen available with Rite in the Rain branding that uses a Fisher refill I would imagine to write similar to the PR4, though those are currently unavailable. 

Notebook

Since Pokka also sent a little notebook, here's a few words on that. It's a standard Rite in the Rain book, with a black cover. I was surprised to find that the paper is much more natural feeling and nicer to write on than the Field Notes Explorer I usually use. I'm also a huge fan of the dot/line markings on these pages, and the two rulers on the back cover are a nice touch. Not much else I can say about it, but it's real nice. If you want a waterproof notebook, get one of these.

Summary

Pros:

  • Great compact form factor
  • Lots of colors to choose from
  • Lightweight and inexpensive

Cons:

  • Ergonomics aren't comfortable for extended writing
  • Some play between the cap and body of the pen

Notes and Links

This product was provided by the manufacturer. I was not paid to write this review, and have tried to be as unbiased as possible.
Manufacturer's product page (tracking link with coupon code)
Product listing on Amazon (affiliate link)

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