Day 2: Battle of the “Identical” Sharpie Pens

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***I was neither endorsed nor sponsored by this brand to make this review. I purchased the item with my own money and am reviewing it of my own volition.***

Sharpie. A brand known for its generally accessible and quality writing and art supplies. As you might have noticed in yesterday’s post, I use a purple fine tip Sharpie for my plotting notes (it was in the binding of my notebook). Let me tell you a little story about my experience with my Sharpie pens.

I picked up the first one, a purple silver labeled pen, on the exit line of my local Staples. I was really getting into my web series and decided “what the heck, a purple pen is so on brand. Let’s grab it.” Well, I liked it so much that every time I’d check out of stapled (maybe once a month?) I’d grab another pen. They didn’t sell this particular one in a box so I just kept accruing them at check out.

One day, the label changed. It was still a purple Sharpie pen with “fine” written on the barrel, but the label had changed. It was now black. I made the assumption it was some small branding thing and bought a few anyway. The cap was the same and the tip looked the same as well. In fact, without putting them side by side, I thought they were identical.

They were not.

The look different and yet similar. To me, it really seemed like nothing more but a branding shift. Remember, the silver one came first.

For this review, I decided to finally find out if there was, in fact, a difference between them. There is. And I’ll explain it here.

Let’s start with the OG silver label. This thing writes so smoothly and the ink matches the cap color. You get exactly what you expect. I tested it on both the maruman notebook and just your average journal. Paper quality aside, it was very clear that this pen wrote consistently smoothly and the ink was consistent. It did smudge a bit on the maruman pages, but that was probably user error as I dotted the “i” it smudged on very hard and then intentionally wiped it off. Take that for what its worth.

On to the black label. Again, until I put them side by side, I really thought they were identical.

Top is the silver label, bottom is black. The nibs, for what its worth, look the same to me. Well, it turns out they’re actually quite different.

First of all, color. The black label is incredibly dark. It barely shows up as purple. In fact, at a glance on my notebook, it looks black. You can see the edge of the letters have a purple sheen to them, but to the naked eye, its very dark. I don’t have a black ink pen on hand, or I’d do that comparison as well, but I think we’d find that compared to true black, it would look more purple.

Second of all, the writing experience. This is going to sound really weird, but the black label had more drag to it. Testing it on the same papers as the silver label, it felt a bit more rough to use. Regardless of medium, the silver label would glide across the page and while the black label also felt better than your average ballpoint pen, it seemed to have a bit of a gravely feel to it. Honestly, I’m not sure the average consumer would pick up on it, but as someone who writes a lot, the difference was surprisingly noticeable.

Long ago before current world events and before this review, I went to Staples and found they no longer had any purple Sharpies on the exit line. Instead, I grabbed a gel ballpoint (I’ll review this piece later). I was sad to see my Sharpies were no longer so easily obtained so I went on Amazon and bought a pack of the silver labels via a listing that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. In fact, I can’t seem to find anything on Amazon with a similar label. They seem to be white now… Interesting.

Needless to say… I should be set for a long time on purple fine tipped Sharpie pens.

This may seem a bit excessive, but I’ve learned throughout my life that when I like something, I should buy multiples. This has been amplified by the fact that every time I like something, it’s usually discontinued. After my brief Amazon search for this post, it seems I was right to buy so many extras.

I regret nothing.

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