Lamy Al-Star Graphite
I have been using this pen almost everyday for the last 6 months.
This is an impartial review aiming at determining this pen's strenghts and weaknesses within its price range [sub €50 (euros)].
Packaging was a standard blister pack including a Lamy blue ink cartridge. Certainly not one of the strong points of this product, especially when compared to the Pilot Metropolitan metal casing. If this was an evaluation attribute, I would have rated it 5/10.
1) Appearance & Design – Graphite finish suits this model quite well by complementing the original ‘industrial’ look. All aluminum apart from the grip section, cap top and barrel top, which are made of good quality plastic. LAMY is engraved near the top of the barrel. The ink window looks nice and complements the overall design of the pen. I am not a big fan of the clip aesthetically speaking. The grip section will divide opinions. As a ‘forefinger up’ user, I can live with the grip, but it is not a favorite of mine. Overall, I prefer a classical fountain pen look. 8/10
2) Construction & Quality– Very sturdy. It has only minor scratching which is rather imperceptible in this finish. Body is quite slick though. 9/10
3) Weight & Dimensions – Medium sized, reasonable balance uncapped. Balance is improved quite a bit when posted, IMHO. Light to moderate weight (12g unposted, 22g posted). 9/10
4) Nib & Performance – M nib is quite reasonable. Dry writer but consistent flow. I do need to apply a small amount of pressure in order to write, which prevents me from writing in a lighter manner. F nib presents basically the same line thickness but is much worse when it comes to other parametres. It is scratchy and the sweet spot, besides being smaller, requires a different writing angle than the M nib. I believe this nib to be flawed.
I had a lot of issues with ink flow when the pen was in new condition, even after flushing twice. Writing with it has seem to have solved the issue over time. The pen may still rarely run somewhat dry depending on the ink used though. 7/10 (M nib).
5) Filling System & Maintenance – Standard proprietary C/C system. I use the Z28 converter. It holds a good amount of ink (up to 0,8ml). I did not enjoy the included Lamy cartridge. The converter is hard to disassemble for cleaning behind the piston. 5/10
6) Cost & Value– I paid €28 at a technology store. I think that there are stronger competitors on the market for the price (some above, some below). 6/10
7) Conclusion – 7/10
It might look like that I am being quite harsh on the Lamy Al-Star. The pen certainly has its merits: an interesting design, solid construction quality, nice weight and balance.
However, I believe Lamy’s nib QC is substandard or simply just insufficient. In addition, the packaging and the converter could be further refined.
Rivals include the Pilot Metropolitan (which I prefer overall), the Faber-Castell Loom, the Pilot Kakuno, the Platinum Preppy and Plaisir, the Pelikan Stola and even the Lamy Safari itself, the latter competing internally at a lower price point.
I do like my Al-Star and do not regret purchasing it but, if I had to replace my deceased Pilot Metropolitan today, I would have made a difference choice.
I hope you enjoyed this review and hope that we can have a civilized and interesting interchange of ideas concerning this pen.
Pictures follow (I would update these with better quality, but I do not know how to aside from attaching them to the post. Any input on this is greatly appreciated).
P. S.: This was my first review so do not be shy and provide input so I may improve future reviews!
Edited by Iur, 28 April 2019 - 12:34.