I bought this pen in a department store in Essen (Germany) while on a business trip. The initial idea was to buy a black Lamy Safari or a silver Lamy Al-star. However, when I was at the store, I saw the Nexx, tried a little bit holding in my hand and found the grip section to be more comfortable than the Safari. What also surprised me is the fact that the Nexx is very light. The price was and a little less than 20 Euro, slightly higher than the Safari but well within my budget. I could have saved a couple Euros purchasing the standard Nexx instead of the M version. The only difference between the two lies in the cap, the Nexx has a bright colored (red, green, blue or pink) cap molded in one single piece of plastic, while the Nexx M has a plastic cap with a metal clip. Given the fact that I am going to use the pen to jot down notes in business meetings and the standard Nexx with the blue cap was available only with B (broad) and LH (lefthander) nib, I went for the more "serious" looking "M" version. The pen was in a pen stand, with a barcode sticker a single blue cartridge paper ring in the barrel to prevent the cartridge from being used. There was no packaging and no converter. The counter offered a paper pouch in case the pen was intended to be a gift. The Nexx M is available in orange or anthracite cap color (all the rest is the same). I bought the second one.
1. Appearance and design - 10
I love Lamy design, but I am a fan of Bauhaus. I like the simplicity of the lines and the fact that form follows function. But I also understand that a lot of people prefer more classic lines. The good thing of the FP market nowadays is that we have a lot of choices and to me it is far better to own a few pen that have a design that I love, knowing that some other people might find the design "horrible" at least, than to own a bunch of pens that I don't dislike but at the same time do not turn me on. So the vote is based on my personal taste, I like the Nexx M a lot.
The Nexx has two characteristic features. One is the big, oversized cap, with a hole in the clip that potentially allow to use the pen in a necklace. The cap is really a "love or hate" thing, I like it but some people might find it annoying. The other feature is the aluminum barrel. This is triangular at the end and becomes round at the screwing point. I like it, because it prevents the pen from rolling if left unposted, but of course it is not as effective in doing so as a faceted pen. The pen itself is very light, most of the weight is in the cap, the barrel is made of aluminum and the grip is similar to the Safari one, except for the finish, which is matt. All Nexx have the same grip and barrel, the only difference is the cap. Actually the weight is a surprise, the appearance of the pen makes it feel more heavy than it actually is.
2. Construction and quality – 9
Considering the street price, the Nexx M is reasonably well made. The parts fit together properly and the injection mold closure lines are well dissimulated, leaving a good level of perceived quality in the user. The light weight may disappoint some, but for me this was a bonus and a reason for choice. Like the Al-star, I believe the aluminum barrel to be quite sensitive to scratches and dents if care is not taken and the pen is carried in a pouch with other pens, but this is not my case because I use a Giorgio Fedon leather with internal dividers.
I hope a parenthesis here. While using the pen a few day after, I saw some cricular "spots" on the aluminum barrel that I did not notice in the shop. At the beginning I thought of spots similar to the ones left by small drops of water and I tried cleaning the pen, without success. Upon close examination they seemed to surface finish defects, like the painting over the aluminum came out. Their size (about 1 mm) and shape (round) exclude they are due to scratching or other misbehavior. Since coming back to Germany and going to the shop was not feasible, I wrote an e-mail to Lamy and about one week later I got a replacement barrel in the mail. Could be that the surface was not perfectly clean when the paint was applied over the metal and the paint came off at a later stage. Given the way the issue was handled by Lamy, I consider this an accident that might happen on a mass market product and does not detract from the evaluation of the pen.
3. Weight and dimensions – 9
I am repeating myself here, but the Nexx is very lightweight. To me, this was reason of choice, but others might disagree. Don't buy this pen if you want something that feels substantial in your hands. I have taken some pictures of it compared to a Lamy Vista, to allow an easy referencing. I don't post my pens when writing, but it can be done. Actually I guess the pen is not meant to be used posted. Since the barrel becomes narrower and triangular at the end, when the cap is inserted for posting, there is a significant play, unless the barrel is forced a bit into the cap.
4. Nib and Performance – 9
I bought the pen with an M nib because the only available choices were M, B and LH. The pen stand was almost empty and I guess the other sizes (F and EF) had been sold. At the moment I am satisfied with the nib, but if I decide to move to the F size, like I have on the Vista, the nib is the same of the Safari – Al-star range, hence there is plenty of choices.
Performance of the nib is the same of a Safari with a similar nib. I am not going into too much details because the Safari is a well known pen on FPN and the performance of the Nexx is comparable. I can really see no difference in the nib and feeding performance. Compared to other brands, Lamy nibs are a little bit on the larger size, maybe others M nib users will prefer a F nib to get comparable performance. Overall it is a good performer with a plus point over the Safari, and my main reason for choice. The grip of the Nexx is a little larger and a little rounder than the Safari. This feature makes the pen a little more comfortable for me to hold and a little more forgiving if it is not held with the hand exactly in the right way. I know that the triangular Safari grip is a love-hate affair, it could be either extremely comfortable or a pain to use according to the relationship between the hand of the user and the triangular grip. The Nexx is still triangular but it is slightly larger in diameter and the edges of the triangle are more rounded, making it, as I said, a little more forgiving in handling.
I have added a written sample (lamy Nexx M - M nib - Lamy blue - Fabriano 90 g/m2 5 mm squared paper).
5. Filling system and maintenance - 7
No issue, here. I just unscrewed the barrel, removed the paper ring, screwed it back and the cartridge went into place. The pen started writing immediately and has shown no issue since then. I am using it with Lamy erasable blue cartridges. I have run about 10 cartridges trough it without problems. The pen is compatible with the Z24 converter. I will stick to cartridges because of my all around writing but I am considering moving to blue-black , because I find Lamy blue a little washed out. The proprietary format of Lamy cartridges is the weakest point, I am stuck with a limited range of choices and Lamy cartridges seem to have a shorter "shelf life" (i.e. higher evaporation) than other brands. After three years in my attic I have found some cartridges containing 2/3 of the original blue ink, which at the end for me it was a bonus, because the ink was more saturated.
6. Conclusions – Overall Rating - 9
I would give this pen a solid 9. I was looking for a good all rounder, a pen that I can use almost daily and I can bring with me while travelling, providing a good performance for a reasonable price. If it gets MIA or KIA I'd simply get one. So far I had not been disappointed, the pen does what it says and does it well. If you want Safari performance with a different design, a more comfortable (for some) grip, and a comparable price tag, here is the Nexx.
One last point, those of you that like to have sets (i.e. FP, BP, RB and MP of the same design) might be disappointed. The Lamy is one of a kind, no matching BP or writing instruments. For me it is a no brainer, I carry it in the leather pouch with a Parker Reflex BP and a Pilot MP to meet all my writing and pen lending needs, but it is something to know.
Edited by watch_art, 20 March 2011 - 12:55.