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Disposable Fp Shootout!


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Think-Ink

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 22:20

So, I’ve seen many reviews of beautiful pens on here.... but I thought I’d go the other way and do a disposable fountain pen shootout! For the shootout, I picked four pens. So introducing:

Pilot Petit1 ($3)- The smallest and cutest of the bunch. Will it be a tiny terror or a small superpen?

Pilot Penmanship ($8) – A cousin to the Plumix and Pluminix, the Penmanship comes in a Japanese extra fine nib. It also has a funky grip section like the Lamy Safari. Is it a cheap “real” fountain pen or a really expensive disposable?

Platinum Preppy ($3) – One of the popular disposable fountain pens. Is there substance to its praises or is it just hype?

Pilot Varsity ($3) – Another well-known disposable fountain pen. Is it resting on its laurels or is it a worthy contender?

Codes:
P1 = Petit1
PM = Penmanship
PP = Preppy
Var = Varsity

Looks:
I know looks are subjective but to me, the Petit1 wins because it’s so darn cute. The Penmanship is a funky looking pen but it still looks clean, unlike the Preppy which has labels posted all over its plastic body. Finally, the Varsity comes in last because, well, it just looks like a cheap pen.

Posted Image
From Left to Right: Pilot Varsity, Pilot Plumix, Pilot Penmanship, Platinum Preppy M nib, Preppy F nib, Pilot Petit1
*disregard the Pilot Plumix... I was originally going to review that too but then figured it's different enough to merit a different review.

P1 (10/10)
PM (8/10)
PP (6/10)
Var (3/10)

Writing
I actually liked the Varsity a lot here. It was smooth and wrote very well right out of the package. It isn't fancy and has a very utilitarian feel about it, but it works and works well.

The Petit1 had a nice, wet flow though a tad less smooth than the Varsity. People with larger hands may find the small size of the Petit1 to be uncomfortable.

The Preppy was a solid writer. I preferred the Petit1 to the Preppy… but the Preppy’s ink seemed to have a little more “oomph” to it in terms of saturation. It’s a solid everyday writer. However, its plastic body seems a little brittle to the touch; people have complained about it cracking after small falls and while it never happened to me, I’m not too surprised. Between the F and M Preppy nibs I tried, the M nibs definitely felt smoother and wetter.

Penmanship wrote okay but it’s a Japanese EF nib… as should be expected, it’s a bit of a scratchy writer (more so than the more Japanese expensive pens with EF nibs). While the grip on the section was nice (if you have a tripod grip), the scratchiness wasn’t so nice.

Posted Image
*disregard the Pilot Plumix... I was originally going to review that too but then figured it's different enough to merit a different review.

P1 (8/10)
PM (6/10)
PP (8/10)
Var (10/10)

Pen and Ink Colors
I think the Preppy wins here (though the Petit1 can come close):
Penmanship: 2 body colors (clear and black). Ink: black only.. but accepts Pilot carts
Petit1: 4 different boy colors clear, clear green, clear violet, clear pink. Ink: Apple green, apricot orange, baby pink, black, blue, blue black, clear blue, red, (8)
Preppy: black, blueblack, purple, green, brown, blue, red, pink,yellow (9)
Varsity: black, blue, red, teal green, purple, pink and turquoise (7)

P1 (9/10)
PM (5/10)
PP (10/10)
Var (8/10)

Suicide Test :yikes: :crybaby: :
I was curious about the durability of these pens and decided to do a rather unscientific test for the pen durability. I took the pens outside and threw them (capped) up in the air (at approximately the same height) and let them fall to the concrete ground. I figure if the pens can survive a toss-up like that, they can survive a fall from the desk :)

The Petit1 won hands down as I couldn't detect any damage to the pen. The plastic used in the Petit1 is softer than the others so I guess this played a role.

The Penmanship... well.... RIP :crybaby: It died. The body cracked and a lot of ink "bled" out into the cap. :crybaby:

The Preppy has had some criticism that the plastic is brittle and easily gets damaged. While it feels that way, the Preppy actually survived the suicide test....twice! It did get some dents/scratches on the body where it hit the ground... but overall, it was okay :)

The Varsity was okay as well save for the dent/scratch on the body where it hit the ground.

Posted Image
Varsity: see damage to bottom at Right side of pen

Posted Image
The poor Penmanship

Posted Image
Damage to cap of Preppy

Petit1 not pictured (it looks normal)

P1 (10/10)
PM (0/10)
PP (8/10)
Var (8/10)

Value
Of these, I’d say the Preppy wins because of its price and because it can take a converter or cartridge. Next would probably be a tie between the Petit1 and Penmanship. The Petit1 doesn’t come with ink so you need to buy them separately, bringing the price up. It also cannot take a converter. On the other hand, the Penmanship, though “expensive” at ~$8, comes with a cartridge and should take a converter. So I’d say the Petit1 and Penmanship equal out each other. Finally, I’d rank the Varsity last because it’s not meant to be reused. Opening the nib and feed seem like a little bit too much work for this pen so unless you’re really wanting a certain ink in the Varsity body, I’m not sure if that’s very efficient.

P1 (8/10)
PM (8/10)
PP (10/10)
Var (7/10)

Overall
In the end, all of the pens would be pens I’d be happy to use. While I don’t see me ditching my more pricy pens as a result of these pens, I do think these “cheapies” will be consistently in my rotation (especially for situations that aren’t fountain pen friendly).

However, after adding up all the ratings, the clear winner in my book was the Petit1 followed closely by the Preppy. The Varsity came in third and Penmanship, last. However, the Penmanship would have been okay had the Suicide Test went a little better for it :( Since I'm not sure how accurate the Suicide Test is in terms of real life experiences, I'll give the scores both with and without it added up. And no, I don't think I'll ever do the Suicide Test again in any of pen reviews. Poor Penmanship :crybaby:

With Suicide Test:
P1 45/50
PM 27/50
PP 42/50
Var 36/50

Disregarding Suicide Test:
P1 35/40
PM 27/40
PP 34/40
Var 28/40
thINK: my pen & paper blog :)

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#2 Inkdependence

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 22:39

Excellent review!

I wish I had thought of the "suicide test" when I was reviewing the Zebra V-301 fountain pen (it's on my blog, but not here on the FPN). It has a metal body, but a really cheap-feeling plastic grip section, so I wonder how it would do?
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#3 Scribblesoften

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 22:54

Thanks for the fun review.

#4 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 23:15

I have and enjoy all of those pens; thanks for the review.

The only one that is really disposable is the Varsity; the others are cart-loaders, and if you listen to some people you can refill the Varsity, too.

Haven't tried that yet. Nor have I ever been ledge-walker enough to drop a pen on PURPOSE. :lol:

#5 watch_art

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 23:41

I love the suicide test. I wonder how some more expensive pens would stand up to this type of test. :P

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#6 Truman

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 17:38

Thanks for the review. I like my Varsity pens quite a bit. I find them enjoyable to write with and are the ones I grab when I have out-of-the house meetings.

#7 Pengrump

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 17:48

Fun review. I've had 4 Preppy pens and they all cracked with gentle use. I thought it was my fault, so I gave one (mint!) to a friend, who is very nice to her pens. Hers cracked too. My Pilot Penmanship writes like a badly trimmed toenail. I have a bunch of Petits and love the colors. They aren't as smooth as my Varsity pens, which non-fp people keep trying out and love so much the pens end up going home with them. Need to buy some more, if only to turn the uninitiated into fans of fps.

#8 ParkerNutter

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 18:09

Good review!

But, you should have included the BIC disposable, too.

I've recently got a black one and I prefer it over the Varsity.

Smoother nib and less runny ink.

#9 Think-Ink

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 19:24

Good review!

But, you should have included the BIC disposable, too.

I've recently got a black one and I prefer it over the Varsity.

Smoother nib and less runny ink.

Interesting... I thought it was pretty much a copy cat so I didn't bother including it (plus I can't seem to find it anywhere in my local stores). Will have to give it a shot though! :)
thINK: my pen & paper blog :)

#10 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 21:11

They're at Staples, I think, and you really have to hunt for them.

#11 inkstainedruth

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 21:19

They're at Staples, I think, and you really have to hunt for them.


I actually found them in my local Staples a couple of days ago. They had a 2 pack of black for $4.99 US and a 3 pack of different colors (red, blue and black) for $6.99. Interestingly enough, they *also* had a couple of Pilot Plumix pens for $8.99 each (one blue, one purple) but I couldn't tell what color in they had; note that the Plumix pens have cartridges and on the package it says they're refillable.
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#12 pienaar

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 23:05

I really like my Preppy pens. I have not had any crack. But I can understand how the cap can crack during posting. No more Varsity's for me, I will use the Preppys tell they die.
Do not let old pens lay around in a drawer, get them working and give them to a new fountain pen user.

#13 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 23:30

They're at Staples, I think, and you really have to hunt for them.


I actually found them in my local Staples a couple of days ago. They had a 2 pack of black for $4.99 US and a 3 pack of different colors (red, blue and black) for $6.99. Interestingly enough, they *also* had a couple of Pilot Plumix pens for $8.99 each (one blue, one purple) but I couldn't tell what color in they had; note that the Plumix pens have cartridges and on the package it says they're refillable.
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


The Plumix pens I've bought always came with Pilot Blue carts.

#14 Think-Ink

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 01:29

They're at Staples, I think, and you really have to hunt for them.


I actually found them in my local Staples a couple of days ago. They had a 2 pack of black for $4.99 US and a 3 pack of different colors (red, blue and black) for $6.99. Interestingly enough, they *also* had a couple of Pilot Plumix pens for $8.99 each (one blue, one purple) but I couldn't tell what color in they had; note that the Plumix pens have cartridges and on the package it says they're refillable.
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


The Plumix pens I've bought always came with Pilot Blue carts.


I picked up the (unreviewed) Plumix pictured in my post from Staples. The one I had came with a blue cart. :)

That same Staples didn't have the Bic FP but did carry the Plumix, Varsity, and Shaeffer Viewpoint (calligraphy) fountain pens... all for under $10.
thINK: my pen & paper blog :)






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