This is a long-term review meaning that it is based on roughly 18 months experience with the particular pen.
Pilot 78g Broad (stub):
After enjoying playing with my 1.1mm Lamy Joy, I thought it would be nice to add some other italic pens to my collection. The Lamy 1.1mm nib is smooth and pleasant to write with, but lacks sharp line variation and is, perhaps, a touch too broad for extensive notetaking. Based on my experience with Japanese nibs running thinner than western, I gambled that the Pilot 78g might serve this purpose better. So I bought a green one from Speerbob (great eBay seller, no affiliation) for $20 hoping that I would be happy. The pen arrived in a Pilot labeled cardboard box enclosed in a ziploc bag, also labeled Pilot. This is about what I was expecting, so I was not fussed by the utilitarian packaging. The pen did not come with a cartridge but did come with a Con-20 converter--a very nice touch for a pen at this price point. The Con-20, as most know, is not one of the better converters on the market, but it works well enough.
Rant: Why are western pen companies so stingy with converters? It drives me nuts that when I buy a Safari, Vista, or Joy I have to plunk down an extra $6 for a converter--more than the cost of many Chinese pens that come with converters. To me, a converter is an essential part of the pen. I want to use bottled ink and that requires a converter. It's like selling a car and not including headlights since, after all, you don't have to drive at night. Lamy is not the only company guilty of this. Pelikan provides no converters for their inexpensive pens, nor does Parker or Sheaffer. The worst offender is Cross: I recently bought their Special Edition Year of the Dragon pen. It's a beautiful pen and not especially cheap, but they didn't bother to include a converter!!
End of Rant
The moment of truth--inking the pen up and taking it for its maiden voyage--was something to look forward to. I filled it with Pelikan Konigsblau and gave it a go. The 78g broad is a wonderful pen. It produced a finer line than the 1.1mm Lamy and good variation. Smooth and effortless to use, it is a medium writer in terms of wetness and worked well for the cursive italic style that I favor. (Thank goodness for the Dubay and Getty book Write Now that taught me how to do this as my previous handwriting was spectacularly awful.) I also tried out foundational and half-uncial with good results as well.
What I want out of italic pens is the ability to use them to liven up my everyday handwriting. This means they must work when writing at speed, and they cannot be too fussy about the location of the sweet spot nor too sharp that paper gets torn when writing quickly. In those terms, the 78g is masterful. Of course, the compromise is that the thin part of the line is not as thin as what one can achieve with dip pen nibs nor are the wedge serifs in half-uncial as crisp as they might be, but for someone looking to pretty up their basic handwriting, it is excellent.
This pen took its place in the #1 slot of my travel rotation. These pens live in a small case in my backpack and travel with me wherever I go. To be effective in this role, a pen needs to be cheap enough that it can be replaced if lost, which occasionally happens. It needs to be tough enough to get bounced around. It also needs to be continent enough that it does not leak when jostled. An ideal pen for the role should also be able to fly without problems. The 78g has performed well in all of these dimensions. It does not leak when jostled and flies extremely well--I've never had an ink explosion while flying with it many times and at various levels of fullness. It does, however, have one drawback for traveling: because it uses proprietary Pilot cartridges, it requires its own supply of cartridges for long trips apart from the usual supply of international carts I regularly carry.
Having used the pen for more than a year, it has acquitted itself extremely well. No signs of surface wear or other problems. The plating is still fine both on the furniture and on the nib itself. No functional problems with the nib or converter despite active use of both. The pen shows no tendency to dry out or become a hard starter even with weeklong periods of lack of use.
For $20, the pen is an exceptional value for those looking for an easygoing italic/stub nib and some modicum of classiness. Cheaper italics, including the Pilot Pluminix can be had, though the weird shape and design of the Pluminix make it questionable for business use. The biggest drawback will be felt by those looking for extreme line variation, say running from EF to BBB. The 78g cannot supply this variation--it is more like F to BB (i.e. a stub). For those looking for the ultimate in fit and finish, the pen will also disappoint. The plastic is neither the most lustrous nor the highest grade. The furniture is functional but not spectacular. At its core, it is a utilitarian pen, comparable to the Lamy Safari and the like. Finally, for those who want their pens to have heft, it will disappoint, The all light-plastic construction makes the pen feather light. I find this to be perfectly fine and, indeed, a design plus for long writing sessions without fatigue. But others may prefer something a bit heavier.