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Cheap pens 2: The Asda £1.99 pen


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#1 garyc

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 18:21

This is pen sold by the Asda supermarket chain in the UK. The chain was orginally formed in 1965 by the merger of 2 UK companies, ASquith and Associated DAiries, but is now a subsidiary of the US company Walmart, which you may have heard of.



1. First impressions: 8/10

Very good - it comes across as a cheap Parker clone type of pen. A sort of hybrid of a Sonnet and a Parker 25. It just looks like an altogether better proposition than the Tesco pen I previously reviewed. It comes in a cheap tin box ("comes with a high quality metal case" indeed!) with two international sized cartridges. All for less than the price of a pint.

2. Appearance and finish: 6/10

Quite a nice light bronze satin aluminium finish, with polished cap band (wide like the modern Sonnet) and clip, along with dimpled ends to the barrel and cap. The section is also polished chrome. There are no colour variations available AFAIK. With one of my examples however, there is considerable play (about 1mm) when the cap is snapped on. Its not about to fall off, as the point at which it engages stretches over a few more mm and has a fairly strong 'catch point'. The biggest problem may be the fact that the cap not sit securely when posted and easily falls off.

There is also a matching ballpoint, which I haven't bought (or intend to).

The pen is vaguely similar to a Hero 711 in chrome which I bought for $14.99, but has a better nib to the Hero from what I recall of that pen.

These pictures show the comparison between the Asda pen and a Sonnet I recently acquired, just to give some idea of scale more than anything.




3. Design/size/weight: 6/10

The pen is 22g and 15.5 cm posted, or 13g and 12cm without the cap. It is narrower than a Sonnet, the barrel is 1cm in diameter at the section end tapering to 8mm. The section itself is 9mm tapering to 7mm with a slight collar at the nib end. The thin and shiny/slippery section might not be so good when the weather warms up. Not likely to be a problem in the UK then. wink.gif

4. Nib design and performance: 4/10

Two tone stainless steel nib with iridium and average medium sized tip. In use it is very pleasant, with fairly smooth writing and a hint of tooth. Flow is fairly wet.





5. Filling system: 7/10

Takes short international cartridges. Comes with 2 cartridges (or 3 if you get lucky and there is an extra one in the barrel like I did).

6. Cost/value: 8/10

At £1.99 (4 USD) I think its a bargain. It's perfectly useable as-is, or indeed cheap enough so you can practice nib smoothing or grinding with it. I bought a second for that very purpose, but have as yet not embarked on that.

7. Overall Opinion: 7/10

This is a perfectly acceptable pen for beginner or someone needing a reasonable pen for some donkey work. The only criticism would be the loose cap - while it has play it I don't think it would come off if clipped into a pocket, but I wouldn't want to risk it. The fact that it doesn't post securely may be a problem for some. It's certainly no worse than the Hero 711 I mentioned above. possibly better in some respects (looks, price). It may even be a Hero in disguise, who knows?

Edited by garyc, 18 January 2008 - 18:22.


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#2 Robin

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 19:11

Thanks garyc!

It's nice to read about cheap pens for a change. It can be an expensive hobby otherwise....

Great review.

#3 andrewboy

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 03:30

Great review and great pics Gary. I'm often tempted to pick up cheap pens like this, but usually manage to convince myself they can't be any good at such a low price. The only problem I have with your review is that you mentioned "eric the half a bee." I can't remember the words which is infuriating and so I will have to Google them!

best wishes,

andrew

#4 richardandtracy

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 13:52

Thanks for this review. I usually go to Asda for my weekly shop, but had missed this.

It sounds like it may be a good one to give to my youngest daughter. She's not keen on the hooded Hero 330 I gave to my eldest daughter, but does want an ink pen. Also, she's such a clumsy flitterty-gibbet that she's probably damage a Woolworths all plastic pen.

Regards

Richard.


#5 Eamonn

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Posted 19 June 2009 - 21:33

Hi,

I just bought one of these, I mean for £2 I couldn't pass it up!

I agree with the excellent posting review above - it's definitely worth the money - and it'll serve well as a no-worries if I lose it job and for a young person starting out with ink.

I found the x3 supplied international sized cartridges however, to be useless. I tend to favour one up the spout and one in the barrel but with two in play, there remained some space for the unused-spare to rattle around. I replaced it with a standard Waterman refill and because it's longer it fitted nicely with no room to rattle.

The nib is made of iradium and soft enough to mould to your own style and sweep efficiently.

Oddly, unlike the original reviewer, my cap snapped on nicely and seems ultra-tight.

It's also a nice lightweight and won't wear out your hand/wrist with regular usage.

The colour is pleasing and modern looking - clean and bright.

All in all, an extremely nice, purchase for the price. Good for Asda!

#6 dayonfire

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 23:50


Nice. I need a hooptie. Are these available in the US?

If not, would someone be willing to send one to a poetry-writing yank? If so, PM me.




Cheers,
Michael




QUOTE (Eamonn @ Jun 19 2009, 04:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi,

I just bought one of these, I mean for £2 I couldn't pass it up!

I agree with the excellent posting review above - it's definitely worth the money - and it'll serve well as a no-worries if I lose it job and for a young person starting out with ink.

I found the x3 supplied international sized cartridges however, to be useless. I tend to favour one up the spout and one in the barrel but with two in play, there remained some space for the unused-spare to rattle around. I replaced it with a standard Waterman refill and because it's longer it fitted nicely with no room to rattle.

The nib is made of iradium and soft enough to mould to your own style and sweep efficiently.

Oddly, unlike the original reviewer, my cap snapped on nicely and seems ultra-tight.

It's also a nice lightweight and won't wear out your hand/wrist with regular usage.

The colour is pleasing and modern looking - clean and bright.

All in all, an extremely nice, purchase for the price. Good for Asda!



#7 penrivers

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 23:31

Hi Gary, greetings from México. I was reading your review and I wish to send an answer to your problem. Just wrap the end of the cap that is inserted in the barrel with a piece of thin cloth, then with pliers very softly aply a little, little, very little pressure over the end of the cap covered with flannel. Now try to close the pen inserting back the cap in the barrel and voila. You will even hear a click when the pen is closing. Dont be worry to do so, I already have done many times with my new inexpensive fountain pens. Wow!, it seems you english are lucky and fortunate to have many stores arond the corner selling wonderful inexpensive pens even the pilot Vpens. ¿And those stores belong to Wal Mart ?, because belive me I use to go to Walmart in Del Rio, Eagle Pass, or Laredo Texas and there was easy to buy Prker Vectors, jotters, P 45, Sheaffers caligraphers, Pilots varsitys etc. Now no more, nothing, nada, nihil novu sub sole, fountain pens are gone from Wal Mart, it is a metaphore but Idont know what it means. Greetings. Saludos.

#8 penrivers

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 04:29

[quote name='penrivers' date='Jun 21 2009, 11:31 PM' post='1108429']
Hi Gary, greetings from México.
I was reading your review and I wish to send an answer to your problem.
Just wrap the end of the cap that is inserted in the barrel with a piece of thin cloth,
then with pliers very softly aply a little, little, very little pressure over the end of the cap
covered with flannel. Now try to close the pen inserting back the cap in the barrel and voila.
You will even hear a click when the pen is closing. Dont be worry to do so, I already have done many
times with my new inexpensive fountain pens.
Wow!, it seems you english are lucky and fortunate to have many stores arond the corner selling
wonderful inexpensive pens even the pilot Vpens.
¿And those stores belong to Wal Mart ?, because belive me I use to go to Walmart in Del Rio, Eagle Pass,
or Laredo Texas and there was easy to buy Prker Vectors, jotters, P 45, Sheaffers caligraphers, Pilots varsitys
etc. Now no more, nothing, nada, nihil novu sub sole, fountain pens are gone from Wal Mart, it is a metaphore
but Idont know what it means. Greetings. Saludos.
[/quote
Gary, I am sorry for my english, I am not sure if I explain understandable, the cap must be in your left hand separated from the barrel, the barrel must be in other side in the table, the pliers must be in your right hand. PLease dont do it with the cap inserted in the barrel. Greetings.

#9 theChipmunk

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 20:39

I was in the local Asda on Saturday night and I saw the ballpoint version of this pen...I also saw an even cheaper plastic fountain pen with about a dozen short international cartridges. I was going to buy it, but then I though, "Nah, it's not worth it..."

Perhaps I'll get it this week and review it - it may well use the same nib, I'll see.

theChipmunk

#10 pen2paper

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 20:46

hmm..looks quite nice..esp the price!
Wonder if these will become available in US WallyWorld?

emoticon-animal-007.gif~Hi! fountain pen enthusiast here~


#11 garyc

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 08:31

QUOTE (penrivers @ Jun 22 2009, 05:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (penrivers @ Jun 21 2009, 11:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hi Gary, greetings from México.
I was reading your review and I wish to send an answer to your problem.
Just wrap the end of the cap that is inserted in the barrel with a piece of thin cloth,
then with pliers very softly aply a little, little, very little pressure over the end of the cap
covered with flannel. Now try to close the pen inserting back the cap in the barrel and voila.
You will even hear a click when the pen is closing. Dont be worry to do so, I already have done many
times with my new inexpensive fountain pens.
Wow!, it seems you english are lucky and fortunate to have many stores arond the corner selling
wonderful inexpensive pens even the pilot Vpens.
¿And those stores belong to Wal Mart ?, because belive me I use to go to Walmart in Del Rio, Eagle Pass,
or Laredo Texas and there was easy to buy Prker Vectors, jotters, P 45, Sheaffers caligraphers, Pilots varsitys
etc. Now no more, nothing, nada, nihil novu sub sole, fountain pens are gone from Wal Mart, it is a metaphore
but Idont know what it means. Greetings. Saludos.

Gary, I am sorry for my english, I am not sure if I explain understandable, the cap must be in your left hand separated from the barrel, the barrel must be in other side in the table, the pliers must be in your right hand. PLease dont do it with the cap inserted in the barrel. Greetings.


Thanks for the tip, but I'm not sure it will work in this case, as the cap has a plastic insert inside, which engages with the ridge at the top of the section, at the nib end. You can feel a springy pressure when the cap is about 5mm from being closed. I think in my case the plastic insert is a little loose inside the barrel. I bought a second one and it doesn't have this problem. As Chipmunk noted, they are still available in Asda (though the price has gone up - by a penny to 2 quid!).

That's a shame that Asda's owners, Walmart, don't offer these pens in their US stores. Have you tried looking for Inoxcrom pens in stationery shops in Mexico at all? It's a Spanish company and their products can be found in Mexico, according to this post. I have picked a few up from ebay in the UK really cheaply (they don't seem to be well loved at all) but I rate them pretty highly.

Asda la vista, baby!

#12 penrivers

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 01:12

QUOTE (garyc @ Jul 3 2009, 08:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (penrivers @ Jun 22 2009, 05:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (penrivers @ Jun 21 2009, 11:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hi Gary, greetings from México.
I was reading your review and I wish to send an answer to your problem.
Just wrap the end of the cap that is inserted in the barrel with a piece of thin cloth,
then with pliers very softly aply a little, little, very little pressure over the end of the cap
covered with flannel. Now try to close the pen inserting back the cap in the barrel and voila.
You will even hear a click when the pen is closing. Dont be worry to do so, I already have done many
times with my new inexpensive fountain pens.
Wow!, it seems you english are lucky and fortunate to have many stores arond the corner selling
wonderful inexpensive pens even the pilot Vpens.
¿And those stores belong to Wal Mart ?, because belive me I use to go to Walmart in Del Rio, Eagle Pass,
or Laredo Texas and there was easy to buy Prker Vectors, jotters, P 45, Sheaffers caligraphers, Pilots varsitys
etc. Now no more, nothing, nada, nihil novu sub sole, fountain pens are gone from Wal Mart, it is a metaphore
but Idont know what it means. Greetings. Saludos.

Gary, I am sorry for my english, I am not sure if I explain understandable, the cap must be in your left hand separated from the barrel, the barrel must be in other side in the table, the pliers must be in your right hand. PLease dont do it with the cap inserted in the barrel. Greetings.


Thanks for the tip, but I'm not sure it will work in this case, as the cap has a plastic insert inside, which engages with the ridge at the top of the section, at the nib end. You can feel a springy pressure when the cap is about 5mm from being closed. I think in my case the plastic insert is a little loose inside the barrel. I bought a second one and it doesn't have this problem. As Chipmunk noted, they are still available in Asda (though the price has gone up - by a penny to 2 quid!).

That's a shame that Asda's owners, Walmart, don't offer these pens in their US stores. Have you tried looking for Inoxcrom pens in stationery shops in Mexico at all? It's a Spanish company and their products can be found in Mexico, according to this post. I have picked a few up from ebay in the UK really cheaply (they don't seem to be well loved at all) but I rate them pretty highly.

Asda la vista, baby!

Well. I am realy sorry. Remember this is FPN and someone else in the world will send you another way to fix it, be
sure.
Of course I have one Inoxcrom (bp and fp set) they are fine but the fp to light for my taste, they are from Barcelona.
Dont worry about Walmart, I use to go to Office Max, Office Depot, Best Buy, and...etc. the problem is that I know exactly what I will find there. I find my sense of inexpectancy, surprise and emotion, that every fp lover must have and feel in the 10 by 10
blocks in downtown Laredo with its hundreds of tiny stores owned by Koreans, Chiness, and Hindues, you ask one and '
''no I dont have but if you go to the right two blocks and then turn left andin the middle of the block there is this korean guy who sells fp''. Two months ago I found a place like that ( I wont tell you where Gary, because belive me every fp lover
from Monterrey to San Antonio will be there in 3 hours) well this storeowner show me ten sets of Jinhaos in ten dollars each,
there were silvers , whites, reds, greens etc ¿can you belive that I just bought a golden set of bp and fp? now Iam crying
I think Il be back ther next week. Have a nice day. Vivan forever las stationary shops of England.




























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