I have tendency to put too many items in my purse, especially pens.  I have a roll pencil case from Saki Collection in my purse at all time, and my difficulty has been rolling up the case neatly, without looking bulged.  As you can imagine, I put too many pens in it.  A stationery addict’s first reaction would be , “Woo, I can get another pencil pouch,” but that is only practical in fairyland.  To carry less pens might be a practical solution, but how could I revise my thesis with only one color?  Do I really have to sacrifice pen choices while I am out?  To reconcile both the addict and practical sides, I start looking for multipens.  It will definitely reduce numbers of pens that are in my pencil case, as well as providing a selection from where I can choose.

The actual narrowing down of which multipen I should acquire was easier than I thought.  Ballpoint never sits well with me because it is too smooth; I feel that the ballpoint pen usually goes out of control in my hand.  That only leaves me with rollerball/ gel pens.  From the variety of stationery blogs I perused, Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto and Uni-Ball Style Fit both present as viable choices, but Coleto seems to receive more reviews and praises than Style Fit, statistically speaking.  Though many people raved about Hi-Tec-C, my very brief encounter with it while I was in high school was not favorable.  It wrote a bit scratchy and I almost bent the needle tip due to the pressure I exerted on the fine tip when I wrote. (I did once dislodge the roller ball of a .28mm Uni-Ball Signo refill)   Because of this previous experience, I hesitated choosing Coleto, but I was quickly assuaged by several favorable reviews.

I picked a 4-color clear body pen body, for the reason that I could see when my refill was about to run out.  One thing about Coleto is that Pilot periodically releases playful pen bodies, such as the peach color one in the picture (one of the selections from the Coleto Sweet series).

From top to bottom:  Coleto Sweet, Coleto clear body, both with 4-color cartridges

The pen bodies ranges from 1 to 5 colors, which accommodate to most people’s needs.  Both bodies measure 5.5 inches.  One of the subtle differences between the clear body and Coleto sweet is the girth:  clear body measures 1.625 inches, while Coleto Sweet is 1.875 inches.  Another difference is that the clear body has some rubber strips on the barrel to ease the grip, while Coleto Sweet does not.

The rubber pieces envelop the barrel
Smooth barrel
In my opinion, the rubber cushion does not alleviate much, especially if you are like me, who hold pens with tight grip.
While regular Coleto pen body is monochrome, the special series of Coleto has colors that are different from standard series and has patterns on the pen body.  In this case, you can see, this peachy color Coleto Sweet has white heart pattern.

Though appearance of both pen bodies might vary, the operating mechanism is the same.

Top portion of Coleto clear body, fully loaded.
Coleto Sweet with mechanical pencil and eraser components.
Can you see that both pencil and eraser cartridges stick out more
than reguular cartridges?
They are “nubbier” because you need more leverage to
dispense the lead and eraser.

To load cartridges, first lift the top lever.  It is snug on mine, so I felt that I was breaking the piece, but once you are used to it, you can open it with ease.

By enlarging the picture above, you can see the spring in each slot.  You will load each cartridge into the spring, with the nubby side facing you.  It will take some time to be accustomed to how it loads, but if any force is felt during the process, most likely, you did not load it properly.  The process of ascertainment is similar to playing a jigsaw puzzle in that you need to figure out how each piece fits.  This is how I can tell whether a cartridge is properly placed:  when gently push it down, the cartridge should bounce right back.

Here is a view of happily located cartridges before closing the cap.

One observation, if you have the pencil component in the Coleto, it will rattle a bit more than the one that does not.  The clear body one does not make any rattling sounds, while the Coleto Sweet makes a bit more noises.

Regular pen refill

mechanical pencil component

When you compare a regular cartridge to a mechanical pencil component, it is apparent that the tip end of the pencil component looks disjointed, and maybe that is why it has more rattling sound than a pen body that does not have it.  To refill lead, you simply pull the metal barrel off the rest of the pencil and insert the lead into the tip part.

Eraser component

Since this is technically my first Hi-Tec-Cs, I did not know what to expect.  Given the needle point-like tip, it is just a bit scratchy than Uni-Ball Signo.  If you write very quickly, it will occasionally skid.  Ink consumption wise, it drains a bit quicker than regular gel pens I have used.  Refills are available in .5mm, .4mm, and .3mm.  I prefer finer tip, but since I am such a brute when it comes to writing, I chose .4mm to be safe.  I did get a .3mm just to see how much of a difference it has.  As you can see in the sample below, the difference is minute.

Written on Rhodia No. 19

The ink, however, is not water proof.  It seems to have less water resistance than Uni-Ball Signo.  Hi-Tec-C offers 10 colors to choose from (a bit shy from Style Fit’s 16).

If you are looking for a pen that offers precise writing, vibrant colors, as well as a wide array of combination/customization, Coleto will be a great choice.

What other people have said about Coleto…

You may purchase Coleto pen bodies and refills at the following fine stationery stores:
and any Kinokuniya stores.

7 thoughts on “Pen Review: Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto

  1. Hi, your right-click disable script is kind of useless. People can easily find the picture's URL in the source of the HTML (which is accessible via any browser) and then open it in a new window if they would like to look at it outside your colorbox/lightbox, which was actually all I was trying to do. Any browser that looks at your images has already downloaded them. I am not sure why you think I'm going to use your handwriting in pen photo on another site but the script blocker frustrates people far more than it benefits you. People who can't use a webpage as they need to simply don't come back.So that's what I'm going to do.


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