There does not seem to be a review of this pen so I thought I would produce a quick review.
It is a student pen in the same price bracket as The Lamy Al-Star and Pelikan Future so I will add a few comments to compare the three pens although this is not meant to be a rigorous comparison.
• First Impressions (7/10) – The Idea came in a nice little cardboard box, slightly better presented that the smaller Future cardboard box or the Al-Star blister pack. However the Al-Star came with a useful little pen sac. My first impression was that the cap of the Idea reminded me of a vintage Skyline.
• Appearance & Design (6/10) – The colour is meant to be black but in reality more of a charcoal gray with a hint of amber. The cap has a metal silver clip the rest of the silver embellishments are plastic. The pen has a soft satin feel, warm to the touch. Capped it sits well in my hand feels well balanced.
The Al-Star and the Future have very similar designs to each other. Both have flat tops, both have a small ink viewing window. The Lamy has the metal wire clip, the Pelikan a plastic clip. The Lamy seems a little wider in the barrel and has two flattened sides to the barrel. The Lamy has more of a gloss sheen finish, the Pelikan a satin aluminum finish.
The section on the Idea has a little ridge at the end to prevent the finger slipping onto the nib (not a problem that I have ever experienced). The section of the Future has three small soft inset panels for the fingers. The Al-Star’s section is triangular.
I feel the Future’s soft panels add nothing and the Idea section is a little narrow and short. I have got use to the triangular Al-Star section and find it comfortable.
In summary, I don’t really like the aesthetic design of any of these pens. The Al-Star is a little too tube like for my liking and the Aurora a little cheap looking but such things are about personal taste rather than performance.
•Dimensions (7/10) – The Idea is 135mm capped, 10 mm barrel diameter. You can't really see it in the picture but the Idea is perhaps 2 or 3 mm shorter than the Future or the Al-Star. Posted the Idea is 154 mm, the Future is 156 mm and the Al-Star 170mm. In the hand there does not seem to be much difference in the weight of these pens. Perhaps the longer Aurora cartridge adds a little extra weight to the plastic pen. The cap of the Al-Star is notably longer than the others.
• Nib & Performance (9/10) – I asked for a fine nib but that was not available so I took a medium nib. The nib design looks just like an Aurora Ipsilon nib. The strange thing is the medium Idea nib writes no wider than the Aurora Ipsilon fine, perhaps a little narrower. The AL-Star has an extra fine (EF) nib and again the Idea writes no wider than the Lamy EF nib. The Future has a medium nib.
In their own way each nib is excellent. The Idea feels like an Ipsilon nib. It gives good feedback, laying down a medium dry line with just a hint of flex. The Al-Star nib is my favorite of the three. The nib feels slightly smoother on the page than the Idea and wetter. The Future is a lovely smooth writer, laying down a wet line.
Each of these pens are comfortable for long periods of use. The balance is uniformly acceptable. I have large hands so of the three I prefer the posted Al-Star.
• Filling System (8/10) – The Idea takes a long Aurora cartridge that holds a reasonable amount of ink. The Lamy cartridge is also quite long and the Pelikan uses international size cartridges with a space for a spare.
• Cost & Value (9/10) – For the price I paid for the Idea (£8.00) it represents excellent value for money and the pen can be forgiven for looking a bit cheap. The extra fine (medium) nib is a pleasure to use.
The Pelikan Future cost £14.00, The Lamy Al-Star cost £10.00 but normally retails for £20.00 and the Idea cost a little over £8.00 but retails at £16.00.
• Conclusion (Final score, 7.6/10) – In summary, the Idea is a good, reliable cheap student pen. I prefer EF and F nibs so was very pleasantly surprised by the width of the Idea nib. In use the nib is similar to the Ipsilon as are the dimensions so at a stretch it could be viewed as a cheaper version of the Ipsilon.
Below is a comparison picture of the Idea and the Ipsilon. The picture is deceptive, they are both about the same size.
I bought the Future when I was on holiday because I wanted to try some Herbin cartridges I found in a tiny corner shop. I used it for two weeks and found it a pleasant pen. Only when it is put side by side with the Al-Star does it look a little lacking in character. Perhaps a fairer test would have been against the plastic Lamy Safari which also retails at £14.00? I prefer the Idea to the Future because of the nib.
Of the three pens I prefer the Al-Star. It is has a slightly better nib than the Idea and is slightly bigger pen. However, I bought the Lamy EF nib as a replacement for the original M nib. If I was comparing the Idea to my original Al-Star M nib it would be a much more difficult choice. Perhaps the big advantage the Al-Star has is the ability to buy spare nibs for just a few pounds.
Below is a comparison picture of the Future and the Al-Star. In many ways they are very similar pens.
Edited by vans4444, 11 January 2010 - 10:54.