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  1. Looking over the pens on my desk I realize that very few of them are expensive pens. Most of the pens that I use on a regular basis are actually pretty inexpensive (even with the price of an after market stub or italic nib factored in). This got me to thinking about why we so frequently equate price with quality. Is a $200 pen really worth ten times more than a $20 pen? When I look at how well my inexpensive pens perform, I have to admit that I have a hard time seeing the value in more expensive pens. So, let's see some love for those low cost pens! The ever-ready pens that fill out your pen cups, the workhorse pens that rattle around in your briefcases, the knock-around pens that you shove into your backpacks or pockets. What are your favorite pens under $30? The pens that inspired this post: --Jinhao X750 (frosted black with a Knox 1.1 nib) total cost: $15 --Pilot Metropolitan (silver zigzag with medium italic nib from a Pilot Plumix) total cost: $19.45 --TWSBI Eco (white with 1.1 nib) total cost: $28.99
  2. I have been an active reader and a super passive contributor, till today. I am hoping to change the later with this first review. This is one of the first pens I bought about 3-4 years ago at a local stationary shop. The objective then was to just try some low cost pen in a risk free manner. The pen still remains one my favourite writers, one of my regular go-tos when I write at home. The art work on the pen is a bit too risqué to take the pen out for professional meetings. I cannot recall the exact price now, but I believe it was less than a dollar (in fact probably less than $0.50). I had bought this at a local stationary shop in Mumbai, as a typical student pen (though I have left my student days far behind). I will let my writing do the rest of the review...hopefully not too illegible!! PS: Comments/feedback on my review most welcome. PPS: The stationary pen store did not know the name of this pen model and I never could find more details online. Any pointers to the pen model would be appreciated!
  3. akstorm

    Butterfly 311Tg

    So, this is it, my first review. I have not been a member of the forum for long and really don’t have much experience writing reviews. I hope this will be useful and any criticism is welcome so that I can improve future reviews. Butterfly 311TG: I was recently randomly going to shops looking for fountain pens and found this one (with several others) at an old shop near my house. I had never used a pen of this make before and so I picked one up. It is certainly not an award winning pen in looks or build quality but it is certainly worth a review just because it is a nice pen to write and that too when it is probably one of the cheapest pens in the world. 1. Appearance and Design: 7/10 As I mentioned in the introduction, it is not an award winning pen in this segment. It is a very sober looking pen and looks pleasing in the first look. This was only available in blue so I don’t know if there are other options available. The cap has a good design with all its gold elements. The barrel has a cigar shaped tapered body and the cap screws on the barrel. The design of the pen is actually very good. The pen has a very convenient clear ink window and it does the job very well. The ergonomics of the pen are really nice. It is comfortable to hold and the section is not slippery at all. The threads do not irritate no matter where you hold the pen. Un-posted the pen is fairly decent size and posted the pen becomes very convenient to use, even for people with large hands. 2. Construction and quality: 5/10 While the tolerances of the pen are decent, the overall quality is rather poor. The pen looks plastic and the materials actually feels like recycled plastic. The make and model is screen printed on the barrel but is legible. The clip is of useless as it bends every time I put it in my pocket. Also the clip is permanently bent towards one side and it looks like a manufacturing flaw because I cannot straighten it just by hand. The gold paint on the cab band and the clip has already started coming off and the plastic of the pen is also very prone to scratches. 3. Weights and Dimensions: 6/10 Length: Capped – 134mm Uncapped – 122mm Posted – 148mm I do not have callipers to measure the dia but the pen is actually on the slim side so that might be a downside to people who like thick pens. I personally like the pen as it is comfortable to hold. As far as the weight go, well the pen is light, very light. Actually, it is so light that it becomes annoying to use it without posting it because you just don’t feel you are holding something. After posting it becomes usable but still a very light pen in my opinion. 4. Nib and Performance: 7/10 Now here it has both pros and cons. The pen has a gold coloured steel nib, which is as hard as a nail and I only realised after coming home that there is no tipping material on the nib whatsoever even though the nib says – “Platinum Power Point” which is just hilarious. The tines were completely misaligned and it took me about an hour to fix the nib and get it in writing condition. Then again the nib feels smooth although it has a lot of feedback. The feedback is somehow not scratchy and annoying. I mean even on very poor paper it did not dig into the paper or pull out fibre. The feed on the other hand is a beauty. The pen has an ebonite flat feed which keeps up the flow no matter how fast you write. Overall, the performance of the pen is nice. It is awesomely wet (the way I like it) and although the nib is a western fine, the pen writes so wet that it writes like a medium. I somehow enjoy writing with the pen even with its feedback. 5. Filling system and maintenance: 8/10 It is an eyedropper filler pen. One either loves it or hates it. I personally like eyedropper pens, so I would not complain, but if you do not like the hassles of the ED pens then this pen is not for you. Compared to other ED pens I have it does not hold a lot of ink but still holds a decent amount (a little less than 2ml) The nib and feed are friction fit and come out for easy cleaning which is really convenient when cleaning the pen. 6. Cost and Value: 9/10 The pen set me back around 20INR which is roughly 31 US cents (as of 14-11-13) so to get a pen for that price which writes well and one that I like writing with, I would say it is pure value for money. 7. Conclusion: 7/10 I would say a very decent everyday writing pen for students and other people who have a tendency to lose their pens. That said it is not a pen for everyone given its feedback and light weight. Plus it is not pretty. But as a pen I would say it deserves that 7/10 because it is a reliable writer, has no startup issues, holds a decent amount of ink and is ergonomic to use. I would say it does what the pen was designed for “write” and it does that rather well. And finally a writing sample and size comparision (with a parker Beta and Schneider Base) Thank you for reading. Ankit Chauhan

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