In keeping with the tradition of using cheap implements if they are sufficient for the job, I found this four-pack of gel pens at my favorite store, for $1:
Made by the FamilyMaid line of the "Dollar Empire" brand from California, the pen's name is the "Smoothie", and has some bold claims on the back of the packaging (backaging?):
Check out these beauties - where else can you get four gel pens for $1? I love dollar stores, and by extension, Chinese factories, and the mass distributers.
Here is the pen, posted. Looks nice - frosted clear body, large size (fountain pen users might even be tempted to call this a 'magnum' gel pen), and good amount of ink in the tube. But, does it live up to the "Writes Smooth With Gel Pen" claim? First, a look at the tip:
which looks, interestingly enough, like a dead ringer for a ball-point pen. But unlike some other times where the dollar store item's packaging was not reflective of the actual product held within, this pen is indeed a gel pen, as evidenced by the writing of the sample:
(sorry for the underexposure, forgot to set EC). It is indeed, very smooth writing! The line is consistent, no skipping, and a very nice writing experience. The oversize body and rubber grip definitely helped in this regard - I like Dr. Grips as well, and it's all because larger size bodies cause you to strain your hand muscles less, allowing you to use a more relaxed grip. Less pain, less fatigue, more writing fun.
The line is also a .5mm, which is pretty rare among gel pens sold in the US in general, and definitely at the dollar store. Most pens, ballpoint, gel, or otherwise, I have found to be .7 or thicker. Sometimes that's nice and all, but generally I like thinner lines as I think it looks nicer, and you also can fit more on the page. Only thing is that they only had it in blue, whereas I prefer black, but that's just a preference thing.
So, there you have it folks! The dollar store comes through again. An incredible gel pen for 25 cents - definitely rivals other gel pens I've used. I bought a few more interesting items on the same dollar store run, and will share about those in the future. Happy, er, dollar-store-ing!