Lefty Review: Uni-ball Signo 307

Looking for a reviewer bias statement? Try this one: The Uni-ball Signo 307 is my favorite gel pen [refill] full stop.

Landing in that spot wasn’t an easy road, and my pen drawer is practically overflowing with contenders that lost their grip on the crown. For left-handers, there are plenty of good gel pens out there, but few can really be considered great. Let’s dig into why the 307 leads that pack…

It’s Like They Made it for Us

There are a few problems lefties tend to perennially experience: Our palms often drag through our own writing, leading to smudges and smears. We tend to push the pen along the paper (where right-handers pull), so our fingers tend to slide down the pen’s barrel. Our grips can apply torque to a pen’s barrel, actually causing twist mechanisms to retract!

The Uni-ball Signo 307 doesn’t just manage these problems; it solves them, and it does so beautifully.

Let’s start with the ink: It’s got nano-fibers! Cellulose nano-fibers, to be exact. Uni-ball uses this futuristic material as a thickening agent in the 307’s ink formulations. The result is an incredibly-saturated ink that dries in under a second (according to my highly-scientific tests involving a lot of scribbling, finger-smearing and counting out “one Mississippi”…) For lefties, this is a killer combination: Rich, bold lines with zero smudging.

Then, there’s the grip: I write fast, and I press hard. I’ve slipped the floppy rubber grips off of plenty of other pens. The 307’s grip is solid – the rubber part doesn’t spin around the barrel, and doesn’t push down over the lip of the nose cone. There’s just enough texture to it to keep my fingers from sliding toward the paper, even if there’s oil or sweat in the mix.

After all this, the crisp click mechanism – complete with a little retracted/extended indicator on the inside – is just icing on the cake.

No, It’s Not Perfect

The Signo 307 isn’t without its issues – but they’re issues that apply regardless of which hand you use to write.

I have enough real carbon fiber in my life that I don’t care for the faux stuff. The upper end of the 307’s barrel fades into a crosshatch-ish pattern that – I assume – is intended to have a carbon fiber look. I can take it or leave it – but it hasn’t bothered me enough that I’ve tried transplanting 307 refills into 207 bodies.

The clip is functional, but a little on the weak side. Compared to fountain pens like the Montblanc 146 or Pilot M90 that have strong metal clips, or even the assertive springy-aluminum clip of a Zebra G-301, the 307’s plastic clip feels a little halfhearted. It does its job, but it doesn’t instill a sense of security. I happily use it to clip my 307s inside a briefcase pen loop or a shirt pocket, but wouldn’t rely on it for an outside coat pocket or jeans-pocket carry.

Overall, I’d love to see an “up-market” Signo 307 option with a metal barrel and clip, or at least a sturdier build and a classier appearance. Until then, I’ll happily hack the stellar 307 refills into my stable of machined pens from the likes of Karas Kustoms and Tactile Turn (it works beautifully in a Tactile Turn Glider without any modification).

The Sum-Up

If you’re a left-handed writer and you haven’t tried a Uni-ball Signo 307, buy a pack and try them. Do not delay, procrastinate or dawdle. I bought my first set of 307s at Target, and more-recently found a “micro” version (with a 0.5mm tip, versus 0.7mm on the standard pen) at Staples. They’re not hard to track down. With a street price of $7 for a 3-pack, they’re not the cheapest gel pens in the aisle, but they’re well worth the cost difference over their older sibling the Signo 207, or competitors like the Pilot G2 or Zebra Sarasa.

If it seems like I’m gushing, it’s because I am – and the praise for this pen is well-deserved. Call me a fanboy, but when a product is as functionally, objectively, quantitatively good as the Signo 307, it’s hard not to carry that title. Either way, you’ll find me carrying a 307.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *