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Jinhao 991 Review
truthpil posted a topic in Fountain Pen ReviewsHello again to all my FP-friends, Allow me to introduce to you the Jinhao 992’s oddly named and somewhat homely younger sister—the 991. This pen comes in both an EF (0.38) hooded nib and F open nib version. Since the nib, feed, housing, and converter on the F nib version are identical to that of the 992, it goes without saying that the 991 writes just as well and has the same smooth nib and flawless flow. All I had to do was put ink in the converter (I don’t like sticking my pens in bottles), put the converter back in the pen, and within just a few seconds the pen was writing a juicy medium-side-of-fine line. I can’t speak for the EF version because the black hooded nib was just too ugly to look at. Nib options: (Taobao) Color options: (Taobao) Appearance & Design There is no question as to where the design came from: The appearance is my least favorite part about the 991. Who would want to own a fountain pen that looks just like a disposable roller-ball?? The only saving factor is that it’s a demonstrator (and, of course, a fountain pen). The coffee brown tint on this model gives it an extra bit of class over the dull black Uni-ball. Looks aside, the matte finish on the cap and barrel adds a nice tactile feel. The whole pen is notably thinner than the 992 and almost as long as the X750. If you wanted a significantly thinner and lighter alternative to the X750, then you’ll probably enjoy using the 991. The section is long and slender and will be comfortable no matter where you grasp it. The design is utilitarian and comfortable, even if boring and unoriginal. I could easily write with this pen for hours on end with no fatigue. Construction I was at first concerned about the durability of the 991. The plastic is noticeably thinner and has just a tad more “give” to it than that of the 992. The thickness and strength of the plastic reminded me a lot of a Platinum Preppy (see below). In fact, I’d say the 991 is Jinhao’s answer to the Preppy (and a more cost-effective answer at that). Despite these initial concerns, after much squeezing of both barrel and cap on the 991 and a Preppy, the 991 is clearly more durable. If you like Preppies and use them regularly without cracking the cap or barrel, then you’ll love this pen! I’m just slightly more apprehensive with this pen than with the 992 about throwing it in my bag unprotected, but I don’t think you’ll have to wrap tape around the joints to prevent cracking the way I always have to with my Preppies. Jinhao 992 and 991: Jinhao 991 and Platinum Preppy barrels: And now the million yuan question, “Does it come cracked like the 992?” After examining the whole pen with a loupe for quite some time over two days, I can assure you that at least my specimen has NO CRACKS whatsoever. [What might appear to be cracks in the photos below are injection molding seams and a few scratches in the plastic.] I’ll give you an update after a few weeks of use, but I don’t foresee cracking as a problem. The end of the barrel does have a plug in it, but it is quite different than that of the 992. The plug takes up the whole end of the barrel, as is also the case with the finial on the cap. If you’re one of those brave souls who likes to eyedropperize pens, then this pen is worth your consideration. The seal on the barrel plug is airtight. I also filled the barrel with water and shook it vigorously for a while and there were no leaks. My only hesitation about using this as an eyedropper filler is that the pen is very slender and will probably heat up quickly from hand warmth and start burping, as might occur with a Preppy. Also note that, unlike the 992, this pen does not come with an O-ring, so you’ll have to supply your own and probably apply some silicone grease to the threads just to be safe. One nice point is that the threading is much finer than on the Preppy and thus provides a tighter seal. Weight & Dimensions Numbers mean little to me when I’m thinking about what is comfortable in my hand, so here are some comparison shots with other common pens to give you an idea of the physical dimensions of the 991. From left to right: Jinhao 992, Jinhao 991, Platinum Preppy 02, Jinhao X750, Parker 45, Parker 51, Lamy Safari The 991 is a very light pen. It has no heft at all when unposted and feels back-heavy and unbalanced when posted (at least for my small hands). Concluding Remarks Although the 991 lacks much of the appeal of the 992, it also lacks its problems. I’m not fond of the shape and general appearance of this pen, but it’s a pleasure to write with and extremely comfortable to hold (unposted, in my case). This pen was designed to write and write and write effortlessly, although some may be uncomfortable with the slender body and light weight. Nib options are limited to EF and F, but you can easily remove the nib on the open nib model and put in another. TWSBI ECO nibs fit well and perhaps a standard #5 would work as well. I’ll have to get back to you on that once my JoWo #5 architect grind arrives. I recommend the Jinhao 991 over the Platinum Preppy for the following reasons: (1) its nib is just as smooth as an 05 Preppy; (2) its material is sturdier; (3) it comes with its own converter that holds a lot of ink; (4) it comes in several colors with no painted on branding to remove; (5) it’s about half the price of a Preppy, depending on where you live. This pen is a perfect choice for your “fountain penvangelism” efforts and is just nice to have around for trying funky inks you may be afraid to put in nicer pens. This pen is so affordable that, if you can tolerate its underwhelming physique, it’s worth at least owning a couple.