Category: Pen Review

Review: Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point

Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point

The Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point ($2.50) is a pen I can’t believe I had never tried or owned before last week. I’ve heard others talk about them but I’d never tried one. It was about time!

In the past, I’d only ever seen the larger point sizes (0.5, 0.7 and 1.0) and I knew they would not be well-suited to my left-handed tendency to smear. So, I wasn’t compelled to try them until I found the Needle Point version at 0.35mm.

Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point

The tip immediately reminded me of the Pilot Precise V5 or the Morning Glory Mach 3 0.38 pens — with the needle point tip and rollerball feel.

The body of the pen has a rubberized grip area which makes it quite comfortable to hold. The rest of the aesthetics of the pen are as non-descript as most “supply cabinet” pens. While not offensive, the looks are not unique or interesting.

Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point Writing Sample

When writing, the experience vastly exceeds its humdrum looks. Its practically glassy on Rhodia paper which means on your average office photocopy, it will write smoothly with minimum friction.

Even on the high-quality Rhodia paper, the ink dries quickly so I had no embarrassing lefty smears or smudges.

When compared to the Morning Glory Mach 3 and the Pilot Precise V5, the Energel was the smoothest on paper. The Morning Glory Mach 3 felt a little toothier on the paper, especially on slick paper, but the Pilot Precise V5 took longer to dry and caused some smudges.The Precise V5 also tends to get a little gloppy on the tip over time which I didn’t notice with the Energel Needle Point at all.

Aesthetically, the Energel is the least appealing but the writing experience more than makes up for its looks. One can hope that its so ugly no one will try to steal it off your desk.

Pentel Energel 0.35 Needle Point Comparison


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Tombow Airpress

Tombow Airpress Comparison

The Tombow Airpress is another contender in the “extreme conditions” pressurized ballpoint pen race. Other tools in this category are the Fisher Space Pen, the Uni Power Tank, Pilot Down Force and Rite in the Rain All-Weather Pens. The Airpress body design is pretty unusual. The length of the pen is relatively short but quite wide. The Airpress is just a little longer than a Kaweco Sport capped but the width is comparable to a large capacity multi-pen.

The body creates a pretty comfortable grip, despite the short length, thanks to the ridged windows on the grip section.

The clip is a large hinged clip that will attach to just about any notebook or binder cover. On the opposite side from the clip is a loop that could be used to attach the pen to a lanyard.

Tombow Airpress disassembled

Inside the pen is a small refill that would be easy to replace when the need arises. I test drove the pen on appropriately-tough Rite in the Rain notecards. Deeper in the pen body is a pressurizing chamber. By pressing the button on the end, the ink is pressurized to write upside down for up to about 500 feet.

Tombow Airpress

For the price point (about $10), the Tombow Airpress is about the middle of the price range for pressurized pens with the Fisher Space Pen being at the upper end ($20 or so) of the price spectrum and the Uni Power Tank being the lowest, starting at $3.30.

The writing experience was good for a ballpoint. I didn’t have any real issues with it and the point was pretty fine. I like the Airpress better than a lot of ballpoint pens, pressurized or otherwise though I find the body shape to be a bit too wide for my hands.

Giveaway: Would you like to try out a Tombow Airpress? I have TWO to giveaway. Leave a message in the comments and tell me what extreme writing you would do with a Tombow Airpress to be entered to win.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, November 29, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. US readers only this time, thanks!

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Tombow for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ka-Week-O! Review: 14K Gold BB Nib

Kaweco 14K Gold BB Nib

Have you heard about the new 14K gold nibs available from Kaweco? Ooh la la! I got the chance to try out the BB, double broad nib. By eye, it looked like a stub nib, wide and flat but when I put it to paper, it created a wide soft line. Not hard edged at all.

Kaweco 14K Gold BB Nib

The ink just poured out of this nib. It really was quite wet and super smooth. There’s a little bit of a spring to the nib but as you can see from the writing sample, it doesn’t actually flex. I suspect it has as more to do with the overall broadness of the nib than how flexible the gold nib is. I’ve never used a BB nib before. It was a lot of fun but with my small writing, it might be a bit too much nib for me.

Kaweco nib size sampler

As I was testing all these Kaweco pens this week, I was able to compare the line widths of all the various Kaweco nibs I had on hand. I have almost the full gamut available (just missing a B and the calligraphy nibs). I’ve often commented that there is very little difference that I can see between the Kaweco steel EF and F nibs and, from the sampler page, I think that stands true. It also makes it abundantly clear how much wider and darker the BB 14K nib is.

The BB nib I received is a full unit, not just the nib so, out of the box, its designed to fit onto the higher-end Kaweco fountain pens like the AL-Sport, Luxe Sport, Special, Allrounder, Elegance, Student or the Dia2. It could probably be wiggled out of the housing to fit into a standard Sport but since its a nib that will retail for around $100, is it really something you’ll add to your $25 Sport?

The 14K nib is available in the full range of sizes: EF, F, M, B and BB. There is a two-tone version available in M only.

Overall its a gorgeous nib and speaks to Kaweco’s commitment to advancing their pen line, staying true to its historical roots and listening to the numerous requests of its loyal users. And that makes me very happy.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ka-Week-O! Review: Kaweco Skyline Rollerball in Grey

Kaweco Sport Skyline Grey Rollerball hack

With pens, I tend to choose silver and grey as my go-to colors since there are seldom options in green. With the new Skyline series for the Kaweco Sport line, I went straight for the Mint color. I did not pass GO, I did not collect $200 – or a grey pen.

Most people are excited about the Skyline series because they feature silver-toned nibs and chrome silver hardware instead of the traditional Sport series’ gold-toned nib and hardware. So when the Skyline series was released, lots of folks were just pleased to purchase the black or grey Skyline model with silver hardware.

Its only now that I see the appeal of the neutral grey color of the Skyline series. In an effort to expand my horizons, this time, I’m test-driving the rollerball version.

Unfortunately, the Kaweco refill was not the least bit left-handed friendly – at least not on the Rhodia paper I use for most of my testing. The Skyline rollerball refill is probably about a 0.7mm in black and I smudged for the word “go.”

So, it was time for a hack. I found a Uni-Ball Sign RT 0.38 refill which looked to be the right length in the point section but the barrel was a little too long. I used scissors to trim the end and then put the spring on the tip and loaded it back into the Skyline body. Voila!

No smudges and a great new pen!

Kaweco Sport Skyline Grey Rollerball hack


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ka-Week-O! Review: Kaweco AL-Sport RAW

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW

The Kaweco AL-Sport in Raw is the same size and shape as the other Sport models but with a raw aluminum body with a high gloss finish. Its gorgeous in the hand.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW & Aluminum Liliput

When compared with the brushed aluminum finish on Liliput, its obvious how much more polished the RAW AL-Sport is. Shiny!

The RAW finish will show scratches and patina with wear and pair beautifully with a leather notebook like a Midori Traveler so that they could age together.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW M nib

This is my second medium nib on a Kaweco. I had a little trouble with the nib on this one out of the box. I removed it from the pen and rinsed it completely and that fixed the problem completely. I suspect that, with the aluminum finish, there may have been a bit more oil or some other lubricant on the pen that may have transferred to the nib so I definitely recommend rinsing this nib before inking it up for the first time.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW writing sample

Once I got it going, this is another lovely medium nib. Its a bit stiffer than the medium nib on the Dia2 even though they are both steel nibs with an iridium tip. I definitely think that Kaweco medium nibs are not as broad as a comparable Lamy medium. Kaweco medium nibs are not as fine as Japanese nibs but not as broad as some other European medium nibs.

Kaweco AL-Sport RAW writing sample

The AL-Sport is definitely a more durable option compared with the plastic Sport models. If you’re looking for an Everyday Carry pen, you can’t get a better option than the AL-Sport.

If fountain pens aren’t your thing, the AL-Sport RAW is also available in rollerball version with a cap as well. Click models are available in pencil, ballpoint and the touch model with twist and clip.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kaweco for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ka-week-o! Review: Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen M Nib

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

I know Kaweco is pronounced “ca-vek-oh” but I thought it would be fun to play on the habit I have of saying “ca-week-oh” and start the first ever Kaweco Week – KA-WEEK-O!

To get the week started, I thought I’d show you a fountain pen I’ve always wanted to try: the Dia 2. Its got such beautifully classic looks. Kaweco hasn’t changed the physical look of this pen since it was introduced in the 1930s. It has the streamlined details inspired by the era, like the soft curve of the chromed brass clip, etched with the Kaweco script logo and decorative feather lines.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

At each end of the pen is the classic is Kaweco logo mark inlaid in chromed metal on the plastic. There is knurling at the ends of the pen which gives it a little grippy area and a functional but elegant look.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

There are some simple chrome rings around the base of the cap and on the ends of the pen which echo the look of all the streamlined designs from the 20s and 30s.

There is a simple stamped logo name on the cap, on the reverse side from the clip that simply states “KawecoDia Germany”.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

The nib is etched with the same decorative lines and text found on the Sport line and the nib is the same size. The nibs are not interchangeable from the Dia to a Sport, however.

Kaweco Dia 2 Fountain Pen

I’m a little ashamed to admit it but this is the first time I’ve used a medium nib on a Kaweco despite several people recommending it to me. The nib is buttery smooth and writes very well. There’s a little spring to the steel nib. It gives the writing experience a pleasing quality overall.

The Dia is a bit heavier than my usual go-to pens at 19gms unposted but, for me, is perfectly weighted for writing. Posted and filled the pen weighs 28gms. The Kaweco Student is 27gms capped but most of the weight feels like its in the chrome grip area to me, making it feel a little off balance when writing.

Kaweco Dia2 comparison
From top to bottom: Kaweco Student, Kaweco Dia2 and vintage Estrbrook

The Dia2 is just a hair longer than the Kaweco Student model and a little bit bigger overall than a vintage Esterbrook. I used to think a Pelikan M200 would be my dream pen but I’ve changed my mind. The Dia2 is my dream pen.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Levenger for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen: Emerald Pearl M Nib

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Writing Sample

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

When the Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen ($52) arrived I could not wait to load it with “good ink.” I installed the stock blue cartridge that shipped with it on the counter at the post office and started doodling on the back of my junk mail. Who says pens aren’t an addiction?

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

I got the Pearl Green version of the IM Premium, of course. No one is surprised about that. The pen shipped in a simple paperboard box with a faux velvet lining and ribbon wrap to hold the pen in place. Its not expensive packaging but its fitting for the price point.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Nib

The pen was only available in the medium nib which I was a bit worried would be too wide for my taste but I was pleasantly surprised. The nib is beautifully etched with a classic Parker design and super smooth. Its a steel nib but felt good on the paper and caused no issues for this left-hander.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen

The look of the Parker IM Premium is inspired by the vintage Vacumatics, which if I’m honest is the WHOLE reason I got it. I have one vintage Vacumatic and I love the look and feel. I am easily swayed by anything that is retro- or vintage-inspired so it was a no-brainer for me to grab this pen.

Of course, its not the Vacumatic. Besides the nod to the Vacumatic with the etched lines on the aluminum barrel (which are horizontal not vertical), the lovely etched nib (which is pretty but not the same etching used on older Vacumatics) and the arrow shaped clip (still used even on the Parker 5th line), there is nothing about this pen that makes it truly inspired by the Vacumatic. It takes cartridges or a converter, its metal not plastic or resin or whatever material was used with Vacumatics, the nib is not 14K, there is no ink window… need I go on? I do appreciate that Parker recognizes that a lot of the modern appeal is from pen collectors like us so I want to support their efforts to trip down memory lane occasionally.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Medium Writing Sample

Now that I’ve said that, I really like the pen. The aluminum body is light in my hand (just 16 gms filled and capped) and the overall width of the pen is on the smaller side (about the same as a Sharpie marker fine point). I can hold it comfortably in my hand and write with it unposted. The cap will post but it makes the pen a little top heavy in my small hands. My husband took it for a spin and his big “monkey paws” found the pen a little too small for him.

  • Capped length: 5.5″
  • Uncapped length: 4.625″
  • Posted length: 6.125″

This was my first foray into modern Parker fountain pens and I’ve come away pleased. I don’t know why I thought they would be bad except that I often only see them in office supply big box stores which I associated with low cost/low quality. At the sub-$100 price point for a fountain pen, this is a really good option. The medium nib might be a breaking point for some folks but I like that it gave me an excuse to break out of my EF or F nib rut.

It’s been my daily carry fountain pen for a week now. I’m not thrilled with the blue ink cartridge included with it. When the pen has sat overnight, the ink comes out quite dark at first and then gets lighter and lighter until its sort of a washable blue/washed denim pale.  I need to swap out the ink so that I can experience this with an ink I actually like.

I should have purchased the Parker converter ($9.25) too but I forgot to check if one was included with the pen (only a cartridge is included with the pen).


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.