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Cheap pens: Tesco 99p pen


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25 replies to this topic

#1 garyc

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 14:53



Picked this up on a a visit to Tesco supermarket in the UK a couple of months before Christmas. Was intrigued to see just how much pen you can get for 99 pence.

1. First impressions: 2/10
Not good - it really does look very cheap and nasty at first sight. Just shy of a pound - 99 pence in a blister pack. One cartridge provided. I'd be surprised if anyone bought this in preference to a cheap gel pen.

2. Appearance and finish: 4/10
All plastic in 4 pieces - cap, clip, section and barrel - which are all slightly different shades of red. The cap screws on, which is a plus I suppose.

3. Design/size/weight: 6/10
Similar in design to a Berol rollerball, functional but boring. Slim, comfortable to hold. Lightweight - 10g or 6g without cap. 12cm long or 13.8cm posted.



4. Nib design and performance: 4/10
Stainless steel nib with tip formed by compressing the tine ends. At first I found the nib very irritating and scratchy, even though the tines look aligned under a loupe. It got better with time, as I learnt to only use very light pressure and found the best angle to use it at. Reasonable flow, no skipping.



5. Filling system: 7/10
Takes short international cartridges. Barrel is probably long enough to take a converter, but why would you want to?

6. Cost/value: 3/10
At 99p (2 USD) it may even be overpriced - see the Woolworth Value pen review. Even though its so cheap, its unusable for anything other than writing a name or a phone number. A pen that you don't use is not good value, whatever the price in my opinion.

7. Overall Opinion: 4/10
It's not a pen I could use for any length of time, simply due to the inability of the nib to operate smoothly - weight and shape/size wise, its fine. It may serve a purpose as a 'public use' type of pen where is stands a high likelihood of getting lost or broken (you would be pretty desperate to want to steal it). All in all it was not really a pleasant writing experience, I wouldn't even recommend it for a child as a starter pen, as its more likely to put them off than anything.



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#2 ericthered2004

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 17:03

The nib resembles the Berol "Handwriting Pen," which I found suitable for my 4 yr old son to mess around with, but not much more. I quite like these ultra-cheap pens, and particularly like the W H Smith version of the Woolworth pen you reviewed. For me, though, nothing beats the Pilot V pen.

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#3 Maja

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:49

QUOTE(garyc @ Jan 15 2008, 06:53 AM) View Post
2. Appearance and finish: 4/10
All plastic in 4 pieces - cap, clip, section and barrel - which are all slightly different shades of red.

blink.gif Wow, where were their QC people??!??

In any case, thank you for an honest and enjoyable review and photos! I love red pens, but I think I'd even stay away from this one...even if I could get it to write as well as you managed wink.gif
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#4 richardandtracy

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 10:11

Thanks for the review. It's always interesting to see what's available.

I have to confess I agree with the conclusion that it's probably not a good start into the world of fountain pens for a student. These ultra cheap pens are not terribly good for anything.

Regards

Richard.


#5 Nostalgicpenman

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 10:25

I very much disagree with you about the looks of this pen. I like plastic pens, and the design is pure and straightforward... thumbup.gif

#6 demonstrator fan

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 19:11

There is an updated demonstrator version of this pen that costs only 70p (approx $1.15) with two Int. Std. Cartridges included!

It is available in Turquoise, Pink and Green (Green is shown below).


Posted Image

Posted Image

Bought this for a laugh really but surprisingly it isn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I wont do a full review as it probably doesn't warrant it but it has enough room to take Long International standard Cartridges and an international cartridge converter as can be seen in the following photos. (incidentally in case anyone cares the cartridge is a Waterman Long Cartridge and the converter is a Pelikan converter and costs 6.5 times what the pen costs!)



Posted Image

Posted Image
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#7 lewis

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 20:18

I hope that someone buys this pen and realises it's more interesting to write with and introduces them to the world of fountain pens.
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#8 japanwatch

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 20:24

If the threads are tight could make an eyedropper out of the demo.

That's a heck of a deal 99p

#9 demonstrator fan

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:42

You'd definitely need an 'O' ring and a bucket of silicone grease as the threads are not tight on this design at all.

I think you would 'eye drop' it at your own peril :)
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#10 Phormula

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:18

Thanks for this review. I think it makes for a good "lending" pen.
It reminds me of the average FP of the '70s when they were mandatory in my school and parents could not afford to give an expensive one to a 7 years old boy.
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#11 richardandtracy

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 12:30

So that's where the Woolworth's 'Worth It' pens went once Woolies went bankrupt!
Reviewed here: http://www.fountainp...showtopic=48892
The second cartridge must account for the extra price :roflmho:

Regards,

Richard.

#12 PDW

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 19:22

You can now pay GBP 2.99 in WH Smith for the same pen first reviewed here, even down to the same non-matching plastics. :ltcapd:

#13 Brianetta

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 19:24

Just bought this pen, in a blister pack with a rollerball, with seven blue cartridges, from Wilkinson for 50 pence. I was sold on the rollerball, which takes standard international cartridges. Neither pen writes badly, but the lids are loose. The fountain pen lid fits snugly on the rollerball, leaving the rollerball lid to fall off the fountain pen when inverted. I stuck that lid into the flame on the gas cooker for a second or two. It nearly caught fire, but I got lucky; the lid fits. Pictures might follow.
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#14 Phormula

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 21:05

I hope that someone buys this pen and realises it's more interesting to write with and introduces them to the world of fountain pens.


From time to time I buy cheap pens and I keep them in my drawer at the office. Then I give them away when people demonstrate an interest in my FP writing and wants to try.
I call them "ambassador pens", they have converted quite a few people to the FP religion. One friend of mine went straight from a Reynolds pen that I bought for 1.5 Euro to a Mont Blanc, that he uses daily :roflmho:

Edited by Phormula, 11 June 2011 - 21:07.

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#15 jonro

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 02:42

Thanks for the review. It's interesting to see what you can get on the low end. At about the same price, the Platinum Preppy is a much better value.

#16 watch_art

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 03:23

I've found the preppy to crack easily all along the barrel, making uncapping a bit difficult - the section comes with it and you have an empty barrel in hand. I think the Pilot mini varsity thing that takes carts would be a better deal.

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


#17 dezzick3

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 19:33

A Jinhao is the best value for money pen
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#18 Scylax

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:59

When I was at school Tesco made a really nice cartridge pen. It cost more than this one (I think about £2.50), but was one of the best I have ever used. I was gutted when someone took it and broke it. I've often toyed since with the idea of picking up one of these ones to see if it's as good, but sadly it sounds as if it isn't even close. I know I should have expected this based on the lower price, but still it's a pity they don't still make the one I had, because it was well worth the price and it was low enough that I wouldn't imagine that most parents would have an issue with it as a school pen. Anyway, thanks for the review!

#19 Scrawler

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 03:45

I have just read this and the referenced article about the Woolworth pen. I was completely unaware that such pens existed. One of my nieces in England complained that her children keep breaking their school pens. "maybe because I buy cheap ones" she wrote to me. After seeing these reviews I suspect that I now know what she has been buying her kids. These are a far cry from the Parkers, Sheaffers and Conway Stewarts that I was used to as a youngster. They are even of lower quality that the bottom end Platignum and Osmiroids that were at the base of the status system we had based on our pens. I thought the 1972 Conway Stewart school pen that a friend sent me was a poor item, but it is quite a bit better than these. I shall get confirmation from her that these are what she gets her kids, because I had planned to give them Chinese Duke and Picasso pens to use at school, and those are much more substantial. I realize now that by comparison to modern youngsters I have been spoiled. If one of these lasts a month in typical school use, then it would actually make sense to go on ebay and buy Heros or Jinhao. If this is what they think a fountain pen is, then when they come to visit me next year, they are going to be shocked by what what I think a fountain pen is. I sent my daughter to school with Lamy Safari pens, which of course cost 15 times more, but she has never broken one, and she still uses her school Lamy and a Sheaffer Snorkel at university. These pens are a clearly intended to be disposable, despite being refillable.

#20 John the Monkey

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 09:51

I think the old adage "buy cheap, buy twice" may apply...

After trying my Hero 616 (which I wasn't sure was sturdy enough for bouncing around in a school bag) my daughter has a Pelikano, and Schneider Base as her school pens. They're more expensive (at £12 and £8 respectively) but we know we're not going to have to worry about cracked barrels at the start of next term, or that she will end up hating using them.

I wonder if it's only the UK that has these ultra cheap "you have to have one for school" FPs? In France, even in the Intermarché, I can't remember seeing an FP much cheaper than 6 euro (a surprisingly decent Bic, which my son bought for himself). The average seemed to be 9 - 10 euros, and a couple of Watermans fell into that price bracket, as I recall (Kulturs in various transparent body colours, and a chrome bodied pen I couldn't identify).

Edited by John the Monkey, 06 December 2011 - 10:48.







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