I was a little hesitant to get another TWSBI simply because I already own a Mini and a couple of 580 models so I saw no real reason to purchase to budget-priced Eco model, until they released the lime green model and then my urge was entirely based on aesthetics.
When looking at the Eco, the only thing I can tell that happened to bring the price down was to remove some of the metal hardware on the higher priced 580 line. The clip is simple and the only metal components are the clip and the band on the cap with the branding.
The logo on the end cap is inset red plastic which actually looks quite nice. And both ends terminate in a hexagonal shape. The pen seems similarly weighted and balanced to the 580. In actuality, the Eco is 23gms, filled and capped and the 580 weighs 30gms. The Mini weighs 20gms comparatively. The Eco is the same length as the 580 but the barrel is a smooth, round tube where the 580’s is faceted. The Eco cap is a straight hex tube to the 580’s tapered cap and end. Also the ink capacity looks a little bit smaller but its still considerably larger than most cartridges or converters.
The cap posts with a click which seems pretty secure but I wonder if, for newbies, might lead to twisting to remove it leading to releasing the piston a bit? The hex grip on the end was the first thing my husband grabbed and started to hold as he attempted to remove the cap leading to releasing the piston and the cap simultaneously. Awkward.
The nib is the same design and material used in all the other TSBI pens so its the one area that is consistent. I had a scratchy nib in a previous TWSBI so I was a little gun shy to get another EF nib but this one is sharp and hard as nails but not scratchy.
In writing, the pen performs without any false starts and stops and the EF writes fine enough to be a good gateway for someone transitioning from a rollerball or gel pen in a fine diameter. Liquid fountain pen inks will still present new challenges in regards to paper choices but overall, the TWSBI is one of the best options for someone who is looking to move into fountain pens for the first time, especially if the lure is bottled ink.
Being able to get a piston-filling pen for $28.99 and a full-sized pen is a great option for folks just starting out. Being able to swap out nibs makes it extra appealing for folks who are still trying to find their way in fountain pens. My only complaint would be about how hard the nibs are but I’ve been writing with a lot of gold nibs lately so I may be to a point in my fountain pen life where I’ve moved past these pens. That said, I really like it and have already recommended it to folks who are starting out in fountain pens. If you’re coming from rollerballs and ballpoints, you’re not as likely to notice quite how hard the nib is. The clear ink reservoir is conversation starter wherever I go too.
Of course, the Eco is available with other cap color options, I chose the lime green for obvious reasons. Do you own one? If so, which color and nib combination did you pick?