I finally broke down and decided to try the Fountain Pen Revolution staple, the Dilli. I bought two models, the fine firm nib ($15) and the flex nib ($18). Both pens are translucent plastic bodies with solid black cap end and piston-filler end. These are piston fillers only and do not accept cartridges.
My impression when they arrived is that they look cheap. The edges where the plastics meet are not smooth joins, the plastic feels low quality and even the nibs are a dull silver. The clips are metal but a very light metal. One good tug on the clip and I think I could easily bend it out of shape.
The flexible nib is a split nib, similar to the Noodlers Creaper. Each pen measures 5.5″ capped, 5.875″ posted (and the cap will post) and 4.75″ unposted. They are very lightweight (14gms capped), comparable to a Kaweco Sport (13gms) despite being an 1.5″ longer.
My initial feeling was that I was not going to like these pens based solely on their humble looks. I decided to go ahead and ink them up though and withhold final judgement until I got ink on paper.
I tested the flexible nib version first, being most curious about how well it would work. It is very smooth on paper, surprisingly so but its very stiff. If you are looking for a flex nib for a heavy hand, this would be a good option to try. I have a very light hand so this was too stiff for me to use and get the line variation I like in flex nibs. Alternately though, with a light touch, it worked like a fine nib pen and still wrote ridiculously smoothly for the price.
The firm nib was a bit wider fine than I am accustomed to, closer to a medium nib in my opinion, but it wrote very smoothly. I thought these nibs would be comparable to a Platinum Preppy but they are much smoother. Surprisingly so.
Overall, I don’t think I’d buy anymore of these. Sadly, the feel of a fountain pen in my hand is a huge part of my writing experience and these just continued to feel cheap — and I understand that they are cheap pens but for a few more dollars, there are other budget-priced pens available. If you are looking for flexible nibs, Noodlers Creaper/Ahabs are available in much more interesting material colors and perform quite similarly. As for another standard fountain pen option, there are others in the under-$50 range I would recommend over the Dilli.