Ballpoint pens work everywhere, on pretty much any paper. Gel and liquid-ink rollerballs have solid, dense colour, and are nice and smooth to write with, but can be a bit slow to dry, and they can be frustrating when someone hands you a shiny birthday card to write on! Hybrid ink pens combine the best of both, giving you the ease of use of a ballpoint with the solid lines and smoothness of a rollerball.
Hybrid Ink Rollerball Pens are a relatively new invention. Pioneered and perfected by Uni-Ball with their Jetstream range, hybrid ink pens provide the best features of ballpoint pens and the best of gel ink rollerballs.
Hybrid ink provides the solid, densely coloured lines normally only found with gel rollerballs but with the fast drying - non-smudging - characteristics of ballpoint pens. This not only makes them the perfect pen for left-handed writers, but makes them a nicer writing experience for everyone else too.
The ink doesn't dry out like a conventional gel ink rollerball, giving a longer shelf life, yet provides the same level of vibrant colour and a similar line consistency. The best of the bunch, Uni-Ball's Jetstream, features the added innovation of their Super Ink technology, which makes Jetstream ink highly secure and lightfast.
Hybrid Ink doesn't only come in the form of proprietary pens and refills though, Platinum - normally associated with fine fountain pens - have recently released a hybrid ink D1 multipen refill, compatible with most multipens that use this refill format. There are hybrid-ink Parker Style G2 refills available too, as used by a huge number of pens. Parker's Quinkflow refills are a popular choice, as is the Schmidt Easyflow refill.
There are plenty of other brands partaking in the Hybrid Ink Revolution. Pilot got in on the act with their Acroball range, Pentel recently released their version, the Vicuna, and Zebra have created the Z-Mulsion. Perhaps the most recognisable of all though is the Schneider Slider range, using Schneider's hybrid ink technlogy - Viscoglide. With a range including the chunky Slider Memo and the slim Edge models, as well as several hybrid ink refills, Schneider are, after Uni-Ball, the biggest advocate of the hybrid ink technology.