Monday, February 1, 2010

Tombow Reporter 4 Compact Multi Ballpoint

I was looking through the wares at Tokyo Pen Shop and came across this mini multi-pen, the Tombow Report 4 Compact. It looked interesting and I'm a fan of Tombow pens so I popped it into my cart with the other ballpoints and gel inks.

The Compact has four oil-based inks in the standard colors: black, blue, red, and green. One particularly interesting feature is that each of the "knock levers" used to push down a cartridge has a different shape to it. After a few uses you'll remember which shape is which color, and be able to choose red (two rounded nibs) by feel rather than sight.

All the inks write quite well, although like any ballpoint there is the problem with ink blots as you write. In this case, the Compact ink dried quickly, so I didn't get the smearing that happens when you run over one of these blots when writing.

The pen comes in 6 pastel colors with descriptive names. I chose the "Cheerful Yellow" most likely because I was feeling slightly down that day and thought the Tombow Compact might give me a boost. At $5.50 it's fairly inexpensive for a multi-pen, and while the green and red are a bit light the Compact is a good choice if you like multis and ballpoints.


  1. Why have I shunned the multipen? For doodling and idea-mapping, I have dozens of colored drawing pencils and fiber-tipped pens. I like my multipurpose and well-made Leatherman and Swiss Army knife. Was it the limited local selection? An unwarranted hunch a 4X pen couldn't possibly work well? Pedestrian design? Price and availability of refills? Maybe it's time for me to take a second look at a pen I used to ignore.


  2. I found the Tombow Reporter at JetPens and ordered it along with four other multi-pens. The barrel is 1 cm wide, smaller than other multi-pens so writing extended notes isn't a strain on my fingers. The short length makes it easy to carry in a pants pocket. The ink flows well and rarely blobs. This is the one I now carry all the time for quick notes and daily office use.