So, naturally, when this pen caught my eye in the store for its price, and I tried it in hand, I just had to bring it home with me. From what I understand at the store, this is a newly released pen from Faber-Castell~
Bear with me please, as this is my first attempt at a review
First impressions: 7/10
The pen comes in a nice little green box, feels like it is made of cardboard. The store also wrapped it up quite nicely with a ribbon (unfortunately not in the pictures), that made it feel very nice. More than I was expecting for the price, really.
Appearance and Design: 8/10
This is the first bit (other than the price of course, which I will get to later), that caught my eye in the store. My pens all have a black with white metal theme, and I felt that this matched reasonably well. It also surprised me to see carbon fiber on a pen of this price, something usually reserved for higher-end pens. I think it has a very modern yet durable look, with the cap being a soft, matte plastic, and the barrel being more solid and glossy. Contrasting and unique, but still subtle about it. The nib looks unique to boot. The cap however, has quite a big/bizarre shape to it, as with all Faber-Castells - I would prefer it to be a little smaller.
Construction and Quality: 9/10
This pen feels surprisingly well put together. The cap clicks firmly into place (not a screw cap), and the pen has a weight to it, which is in my experience, uncommon with cheaper pens. The pen however, while weighty, is not as balanced with its weight as a more expensive pen would be (it is back heavy, even when unposted. Another surprising bit - the material around the carbon fiber almost feels like glass. I could be wrong about this, but it would account for the back-heavy weight of the pen.
In general, I bought this pen as a workhorse, and it feels like it will definitely remain solid through anything I throw at it - including drops. Only time will tell, however.
Weight and dimensions: 7/10
As mentioned, this pen is hefty. I personally like heavy pens, but this would be rated higher if the weight was more evenly balanced. As it is though, I much prefer it to lightweight pens.
Points also removed for dimensions - I would like to rate it highly in this regard, since it is has a nice diameter, and is a good length when writing unposted (I rarely post my pens. But... again, I have to take points off, as although this pen technically can post, and solidly, it becomes *way* too long. Almost comically long, here's a picture:
Nib and Performance: 8/10
This nib is really quite nice. I feel like it has character when I write even though I don't get the impression that it is meant to be flexed. Inkflow is smooth and consistent, and has a decently large "sweet spot" in which one can tilt the nib sideways away from tine contact, and still write. There is a bit more feedback when writing than I am used to (then again, I am comparing that with a pen about 15 times its cost), but there is no tooth. I feel like this feedback is what adds a bit of character to the nib, and it is a nice change of pace.
The nib did take about 30 seconds to get going initially, in my first inking (with the supplied cartridge), but since then it has started immediately each and every time.
Aesthetically, I liked the design on this nib, as most in this price range are plain (would look nicer with a breather hole though). Only minor annoyance in this area, is that the bottom of the feed becomes inky.
Filler System and Maintenance: 7/10
Perfectly average filler system here - C/C Cartridge and Converter. I personally have no quarrel with them, and have more expensive pens that use this system. The pen unscrews in the middle like most C/C pens, but I don't know how to, or care to, disassemble further than this. Took off points, however, because the converter could probably be higher quality. I suppose the best way to sum this up is just: Average.
Cost and Value: 10/10
From Faber-Castell directly, this pen is $40. I ended up paying a mark up to 60,000 Won (50 something USD) after tax, import, and whatnot. In my opinion, this is a steal for a pen that has weight, visuals, presence, durability, and is a good writer. Also come on, carbon fiber! It may only have a steel nib, but in my opinion, you can't go wrong at this price. I am still surprised it was so cheap.
Conclusion and Final Score: 8/10
For what it is, this pen is great. There are a few minor annoyances (ridiculously long when posted, inky feed, could do with a smaller cap), but apart from that this pen just hits everything right on the mark. You really feel like you have something unique and durable, even though it's a low-end model.
I think this is going to be my go-to pen for the classroom, and other situations where I would worry about scuffing a more expensive pen. Definitely will be a daily writer, and I would recommend this pen to anyone who likes their pen to have a little bit of weight to it.
Hope this review wasn't too long!
Edited by seoulseeker, 05 January 2012 - 18:32.