Note: My mail is refusing to upload photos I sent to myself. I will try putting in more photos once they load. Thank you for your understanding. Other photos from various websites such as Jetpens, Ebay, etc.
Hello folks and all in the FPN,
This review will be focusing on a pen that I believe would rival other ballpoints higher than it's price range. Little is it known that the company that makes much of Korea's ballpoints (Monami) actually makes higher-end pens. This pen was purchased by me in a rinky-dink stationary store, and ever since, I have enjoyed writing with it. I feel that this pen deserves a big spotlight next to the Parker Jotter and many other pens of it's cost, and that pen is the Monami 153 Neo.
Weight: 25.17 grams
Length: 13.9 cm
Width: 1.28 cm
Body material: Plastic (Possibly ABS?)
Trim material: Chrome plated
A perhaps somewhat boring history of Monami (or "My friend" in French:)
Perhaps you've heard of Monami before, whether it be from pens to stationary, the Olika, or even chalk pastel! Monami was founded after the Monami founder, Song Sam-Suk happened to spot a Japanese officer at a stationery company using a ballpoint pen.
At the time, Korea was still developing from the ashes of the Korean War, and ballpoints were a rarity. Song thought it would be terrific to make a ballpoint pen to be distributed in Korea, thus the Monami 153 ballpoint was made.
It sported a hexagonal grip and plastic (cheaper plastic) body. Today, it's extremely popular and became an iconic pen in Korea. The Monami 153 sells for 300 won or about a quarter. Monami also makes many other products, such as the Monami Olika, the Monami 153 ID pen, and even a "Fisherman" special edition pen that was made for the Pope (heck, it even went to the Vatican Museum.) The pen reviewed here is the 153 Neo, a much thicker, higher quality pen than the 153.
A Monami 153, which has sold millions in Korea, and is the most recognizable ballpoint in the country. Confused with the names? So am I.
The Monami 153 Neo ballpoint pen is a higher-end pen made by Monami. It's cost varies but is generally 10,000 won (approximately 8.80 USD.) I know that sounds confusing when I said "high end," but this pen is from a company that is technically the BIC of Korea. The Monami 153 weighs 25.17 grams, and is 13.9 cm long and 1.28 cm wide. The body is hexagonal shaped, providing a relatively comfortable grip. It is made of strong, sturdy plastic that I'm guessing is ABS plastic, since it's extremely tough. The clip and other appointments are chrome, which I found out by checking it for fingerprints. The pen comes in the following colors: Tangelo, Aquafresh (turqoise), Canary, Grey, and Indigo.
The Monami 153 comes in a simple but sturdy plastic sleeve. It has the name and a description of the 153 Neo and its iconic design. The background color corrosponds to the pen color. For a pen at this price, the packaging is not bad. Then again, I am being easier on this packaging because of the cost.
Build Quality and Body: 10/10
The build quality on the Monami 153 Neo does remind me of the 153 ballpoints, except that it's thicker and bigger, and sports a twist-mechanism on the top chrome part. Overall, the quality of the body is excellent. It is smooth and heavy but is still easy to grip. At 25.17 grams, heavier than a Lamy Safari FP (another surprise.)
The pen is, as I stated before, hexagonal. Personally, it feels comfortable in my grip. My pen is "Tangelo Orange" and looks bright and colorful. The appointments are chrome plated, and smudge when you put your fingerprints on them. The top has the numbers "153" engraved on them. The clip has the brand name also engraved on it.
The pen came with a black "Silky Glide" Monami refill. Its point is 0.7. It's smooth enough with a small bit thinness and scratchiness to it. It works well on any kind of paper and is reliable. The refill is a Parker-type refill, so Monteverde, Schmidt, and Parker refills will fit this pen (so no worries if you don't like the refill.) I recommend this refill for people who prefer a more fine refill, and perhaps smaller writing.
Cost and Value: 10/10
This, this, this is where the pen most shines. I have never, in my 3 puny years of collecting pens, in the 30+ pens I have purchased at this time, thought to myself more that any pen was of such good value than the Monami 153 Neo. I mean, it's 25.17 grams! At barely 9$, you get a heavy, beautifully designed, fun to use the twist-mechanism, well-writing, ballpoint pen! It's a steal, and I mean it.
I paid 8500 won for this pen, which is 7.50 USD (I know, I know, you're sick of me mentioning price,) but it may be more expensive in other places. Do I think it is worth your buck? YES. Yes, ladies and gentleman! The Monami 153 Neo is an underrated and unknown Monami pen that I believe deserves a round of applause. It's everything that I could ever wish for, for such a small price.
I wrote this review to shed light on a pen that deserves more light. It is sturdy, it is well designed, it is fun, it is practical, and it is iconical. Every time I see or use this pen, I smile, because I know that I'm writing with a pen that has 50 years of history and design embedded in it. Buy this pen on Amazon here:
(Okay, so the price changed while I haven't viewed it on Amazon for a while. It is 18$ now, but I believe it is still worth a bang for your buck. I would pay at least 30 bucks if I had to for this pen. Buy it, and if you're in Korea:
Edited by FlippyThePen, 17 July 2017 - 12:35.