I first thought about getting a Laban Mento after reading TNS’s enthusiastic and excellent review of the pen. After looking in to buying options, I came across the Meno, the Mento’s little brother. I say little brother with a wink, as the Meno is not a small pen, just smaller than the Mento, which is enormous! After checking with a ruler and considering the lower price, I ordered one up from Todd at isellpens.com in Celebration Blue after finding them on sale there. (Usual disclaimer)
When it arrived, I opened the blue padded, vinyl box and found a very nice looking pen. Also in the box were clear detailed instructions and the converter. It is a classic cigar-shaped and nicely balanced pen. As of late, I have started to like celluloid pens with matching celluloid sections, and because this has a black plastic section, I felt it takes away a bit from the appearance. Still, it is a looker!
Appearance/ Finish 4.5 out of 5
As stated above, I like the looks of this pen. The furniture is platinum, the clip has a cursive L printed on it, and the capband is inscribed with Laban in cursive as well. It has a very classic and traditional style, perhaps looking a bit like an updated Sheaffer Balance. One aspect of the look I did not like, however, is that the mixture of colors on the pen appears uneven. It is as if the background color is black, and chips of orange, purple, dark blue, and light blue were added while in liquid form and then it hardened into the barstock before being lathed into the pen shape. If so, it needed to be “stirred” more. The pen has some areas where it is only black, and others where the chips are crowded together. In short, the colors are not evenly spaced. This makes for an interesting look, but I feel it does diminish the overall beauty of the pen. Don’t get me wrong, though, it is a minor nitpick, the pen has an attractive color scheme.
Design/Size/Weight 5 out of 5
The Meno has a very user-friendly size and shape, and has been in my rotation for a few months now. I feel it is very well balanced, and have put in some long writing sessions with it and felt very pleased. It is light and comfortable to my medium sized hands. I don’t post, however, it seems like it would be fine for those who do, although I would worry a bit about scratching the body.
I had the same, dries-out-too-fast experience that others did with their Mentos, so I tried the nail varnish, eyedropper trick brought to us by Armchop (thanks!) and had great results. It is very reliable, even when left unused for a few days, it starts right up.
I know my photo skills need work, nonetheless, I posted a few. First is the Meno, second is the Mento, Meno (in the middle) then a M800 for comparison.
Specs: Capped - 13.9 cm, Uncapped - 12.4 cm, Posted - 15.9 cm,
Barrel diam - 1.4 cm (.54"), Section diam - .9 cm (.36"),
Weight - 20 gm (.75 oz)
Nib Design and Performance 4 out of 5
The Meno comes with a monotone steel nib, with a Laban crest, iridium, and M inscribed on it. It is nothing to get overly excited about, however, with a bit of the paper bag trick, it writes as smoothly as any nib I own. I felt the nib was fairly stiff. It writes with average wetness, in fact it seems to be about average in every way. I mean that as a compliment, having many more expensive pens that have needed more tweaking to write well. I also felt more willing to experiment with smoothing as it was not an expensive nib.
The Filling System 4.5 out of 5
C/C. Boring, yet functional. For the price, I can accept that it is not a piston. The converter is entirely plastic, with a screw-down mechanism, and includes a little ball inside to keep the ink moving or to break the surface tension of the ink. Small, yet thoughtful, feature.
Cost 5 out of 5
The sale price was $39.00. I think this was a great price, the regular was $45.00 and I still would buy again at that price. They are very attractive pens, and a joy to use. It seems to me to be a perfect user pen, as I do not feel I had to splurge to buy it and yet, it feels and looks like pens that cost much more. Replacement nibs are available for $12.00, which seems like another great value!
I like this pen and use it regularly. I liked it enough to buy the matching Mento version (whole different review, but THAT BEAST IS HUGE!) I am also attracted to the other colors, maybe a cracked ice is in my future… The necessity of having to do the nail-varnish trick may dissuade some buyers, yet it is a pretty simple tweak. Overall, I would give this pen an excellent value, and am surprised I have not heard it mentioned here at FPN as it deserves a good sized following.
Edited by bdngrd, 17 February 2007 - 01:14.