A few weeks ago, I received a Cross Affinity fountain pen. I've been playing with it ever since and I'm not merely "impressed" with its quality - I'm blown away. In my line of work, I find that a fine or extra-fine nib is most suitable, since I tend to take a lot of notes and write marginalia. One of the biggest problems with most "European" style fine nibs is that they're actually pretty wide. That's one of the reasons I really like Sailor pens and other Japanese makes - their nibs run pretty true to size. With the Affinity, Cross seems to have taken a page from its Asian counterparts because the the fine nib writes a much finer line than I thought it would. It is NICE! Fairly smooth, with enough feedback to know you're using a pen and not an ice cube. Excellent ink flow, with no false starts, skips, streaks, or any glitches whatsoever. I filled my Cobalt blue Affinity with one of my favorite inks, Diamine Sapphire Blue, which also complements the pen's resin finish beautifully. So far, I've written on a variety of different papers to test the nib, including Rhodia, cheap Office Depot legal pads, Post-it Notes, and 20# copy paper. So far, the Cross has performed excellently on all of them.
The pen is nicely weighted - like the Waterman Phileas, it has a resin base with a metal insert for some heft. The Affinity looks and feels much more solid than the Phileas, however. It is a much more elegant pen and would be at home in a purse, in school and even in a corporate boardroom. In retrospect, the nib doesn't look as small as I thought, but it's not going to leap out at you as being big, either. In length, the Affinity is equal to the Full Size Sailor 1911, but it's girth is more akin to that of the 1911M; a nice balance, in my opinion. The fit and finish really is first rate. It's a bummer that a pen at this price point doesn't include a converter and comes only with two dinky-sized ink cartridges; nevertheless, at $80, it's still a very good value. But since the some retailers are including a free converter with every Affinity fountain pen, hopefully that will not really much of an issue for most buyers.