Appearance & Design: 7/10
These pens are very simple, look cheap, and are cheap. That doesn't really bother me, since I bought them with this in mind, and they're not used for note-taking either. Simply put, the serve their purpose. What I do like, is that despite the fact that they're cheap, the caps screw on quite nicely. What may or may not bother some people, is that the cap cannot be posted. No matter what. It just doesn't fit. I don't post my pens anyway, so there's no issue for me.
The top of the caps have the nib size printed clearly, and the cap colours are also different, making it easy to grab the right size quickly.
Another thing to note, is that these pens can be taken apart (the two plates that make up the nib, as well as the feed), making it easy to clean. It can also be used as an ED, another plus, given the ink consumption of the 6.0mm and 3.8mm nibs.
Construction & Quality: 7/10
The grey plastic barrel looks like it's made of cheap plastic, whereas the cap looks like it was made of better quality plastic. I would feel scared to drop it, but my friends came over and were throwing them around yesterday, and they survived, so I assume that it's tougher than it looks.
Weight & Dimensions: 9/10
The Pilot Parallel pens are quite lightweight, and tapered towards the end (quite slim), however the weight is centered towards the nib, and the section where my fingers naturally rest is also quite nice and thick, so I actually find the pens quite comfortable to write with.
Nib & Performance: 9/10
This is no doubt the most important part of these pens. The unconventional nibs look very strange, and it may take quite some time to get used to writing with these nibs, as the entire nib must be on the page, and even pressure along the entire bottom plate for a nice even line to be produced.
It's a plain steel nib made of two horizontal plates, with no flex at all, but it really performs once you get the hang of it. The nibs put down a nice wet line, which I personally love, since I like my pens to write wetter, rather than drier. Keep in mind that on poor quality paper, feathering and bleed-through is terrible. On the Rhodia paper that I used, there was a little bit of bleed-through when using all but the 1.5mm nibs, and no feathering at all.
Filling system & Maintenance: 10/10
The filling system is C/C. Love or hate it, it really comes down to personal choice. You can also use the pens as an ED with a little bit of silicone grease on the threads, but I just refill empty cartridges.
Cost & Value: 10/10
I purchased all 4 nib sizes along with 2 packs of 12 colour cartridges from Stationaryart for $36 including shipping. That's a pretty good price, if you ask me.
Conclusion & Final score: 52/60
These are great pens for what they do, they can be used in a variety of ways (including creating colour gradients, something that I have not really explored enough to comment on), and for the price, I'd recommend anyone who was looking to buy cheap calligraphy pens to have a look at them.
Edited by Nonsensical, 08 April 2012 - 05:56.