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Jinhao 500 – Yet Another Mid-Sized Chinese Pen!


Jamerelbe

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I’ve been accumulating a fair few Jinhao pens recently – though not yet as many different varieties as I’d like! – and on the whole I’ve been pretty impressed with them. The x450 and x750 were my first purchases, nearly a year ago now, and are still fairly regular in my rotation; likewise the more massive 159. Most recently I added a few Jinhao 599s, which I’ve reviewed previously – a very impressive pen that takes its design cues from the Lamy Safari (and/or the AL Star). This pen I hadn’t seen before – though I’ve managed to find a review on FPN that dates back to 2010, so obviously it’s been around a while!

 

This pen came into my hands courtesy of the JustWrite Pen Company, who provided it free in return for an impartial review. I have no affiliation with JustWrite except as a customer and the recipient of pens for review – and the views expressed below are entirely my own!

______________________________________________________________________

 

Appearance & Design –Another classically-styled (cylindrical) pen

Like its more well-known ‘cousins’, the x450 and x750, the 500 is solidly constructed. The cap and barrel are made of metal (brass?), and coated in black lacquer – though an online search will show it comes in a number of other colours as well (black cap and base, different coloured bodies). JustWrite currently stock a swirled ‘Pearl’ finish and a black-and-white ‘Checkerboard’ option.

 

http://i.imgur.com/8ZfH3WX.jpg

 

The trim on the pen is consistent for all colours, though: a gold-coloured ring at the top, middle and bottom of the pen, a gold-coloured band at the tapered end of the grip section, and a duotone (gold and chrome) nib. The centre band is laser-etched with the brand (Jinhao) and the style (500) of the pen.

 

http://i.imgur.com/7xXJC7M.jpg

 

Much as I like the overall design of the more ubiquitous mid-sized Jinhao pens, I like the fact that this pen is more cylindrical, with flattened top and bottom. I also like the fact that this pen appears designed to be posted – the cap fits comfortably onto the end-section of the barrel, which has a slightly narrower diameter than the main body of the pen.

 

Construction & Quality – A well-made pen

I think I kind of covered this above – a solid, substantial pen! The only thing I’m not so keen on is the clip –it’s pretty stiff, and a little challenging to clip into a suit jacket. Then again, that’s true for all of my other mid-sized Jinhao pens, so it didn’t come as a surprise.

 

I will add this, though: I left the pen inked up for a few weeks without use – at the end of which the nib had dried out a little and needed to be dipped in water to restore flow. That’s pretty normal, especially with Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium – an ink that I’ve noticed tends to dry out more quickly than some other inks! I was heartened to discover, though, that the volume of ink in the cartridge converter had not diminished – which suggests that the cap of the pen (with its plastic inner cap) does a pretty good job of providing an airtight seal.

 

Weight & Dimensions – A mid-sized pen, not light but not uncomfortably heavy

The dimensions of this pen would place it in the ‘mid-sized’ category, for me – capped, the pen sits around 138mm; uncapped the rear of the pen sits comfortably on the webbing of my hand, and comes in at around 120mm. It’s a monstrous 165mm capped (or thereabouts) – but surprisingly, though it’s somewhat back-weighted, I don’t find it too uncomfortable to write with it like that.

 

The pen weighs in at 38g, or 25g minus the cap – which is not light, but I don’t find it uncomfortably heavy. Then again, I don’t mind writing for extended sessions with my Jinhao 159, which is a true monster of a pen… The grip section is 11mm at its widest point (where I tend to hold the pen), and tapers down to around 9mm towards the nib.

 

Nib & Performance – Medium nib, consistent flow

As with the Classic 717 I reviewed earlier this evening, the Jinhao 500 has a smaller stainless steel nib – a #5 (I think), rather than the more substantial #6 nib sported by its ‘cousins’. That may also help to explain why this nib is more rigid – it provides very little line variation. It looks a little small on the pen, but not wildly disproportionate – and I like the duotone gold-and-chrome finish.

 

http://i.imgur.com/fY4Mrpt.jpg

Don't believe the '18KGP' inscription - this is a firm stainless steel nib!

 

That said, the first thing I noticed about this pen was how smoothly it wrote. The line it lay down I’d characterise as a pretty standard Medium – with no skipping and no hard starts.

 

http://i.imgur.com/4qF59L8.jpg

 

Filling System & Maintenance– Standard International Cartridge/Converter

Like most pens in Jinhao’s range, the 500 is designed to take standard international cartridges – and comes with a cheap plastic converter supplied. I tend to have multiple pens inked up at a time (with a variety of colours), so I don’t mind the limited ink capacity. No complaints here?

 

http://i.imgur.com/eJDgVnr.jpg

 

Cost & Value/Conclusion – A pretty good pen, for a reasonable price

I really like this pen – if I were to buy another, I’d go for a different colour (I have waaaay too many black pens now!), but it looks stylish and writes nicely – and is a comparable price to the better-known x450 and x750 pens. At the price, you really can’t go wrong!

 

Thanks again to Kevin and JustWrite Pens for the generous provision of this and other pens for review.

 

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  • 6 months later...

"Replica" is too strong a word to describe the design elements that vaguely echo those found on a Pelikan. I just received delivery of this coffee-and-black version today. It came in a velour-textured plastic sleeve with billows of bubble wrap. The color (and Jinhao does use the word coffee) swirled with black is only remotely in the family of those produced by Pelikan, but lacks subtlety or depth. I happen to very much like the rich orange-red color (I wouldn't drink coffee that color, however!) next to the black and gold of the Jinhao.

post-118450-0-60903700-1427819300_thumb.jpg

 

I suppose comments on a pen that you've only had for a couple of hours aren't worth much, but I will say that so far I agree with Jamerelbe's review regarding the very stiff clip, the weight (so many Chinese pens are way too top heavy; this one is better) and the nib - it's a smooth and consistent medium-line writer. I get a teeny-weeny bit of line variation if I push it a bit. I tend to write on spongy surfaces (a stack of paper beneath) so there is flex in the paper too, which contributes. For five bucks (I can get sixty-five of these for what I paid for my last Pelikan!) it's a lovely pen that will be fun to use, we can't really expect it to become an heirloom.

 

James

Edited by Manalto

James

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I just received a Jinhau 450 in the mail today shipped directly from China at a cost of about $4. They have a little heft to them. You cannot post these pens. Comes with a twist converter. They come in a variety of colors. They are a good deal IMO.

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I too am waiting on a coffee swirl 500 and liked it for the shape and design.

I like the flat top and bottom, and prefer a bit of heft to a pen.

I had never even thought of comparing it to a Pelikan, and having now done so, I don't see anything more than a passing resemblance.

But this old "Chinese rip off" argument once again raises its' head

To say it is a replica is more than a bit harsh.

 

I would imagine designing something completely unique for mass production is pretty difficult as you can only do so much with a basic standard shape, of which pretty much all pens are a variation.

This is the same reason why so many cars look the same, as they are all basically based on a stretched teardrop shape for aerodynamic efficiency.

Does that then mean that a Seat Ibiza is automatically a rip off of a Vauxhall Astra just because it has a similar shape, or is based along the same design ?

 

Personally I cant wait for my 500 to arrive.....and not because it supposedly looks like a Pelikan, but because it's a great value, good looking pen in its' own right.

 

Ian

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I now have three of these pens in different colours, and am happy to have them in my collection - don't have the coffee colour, but it would be overkill to buy another one...

 

I don't have a Pelikan, couldn't justify the expense to buy one (maybe a 200? - but they're so small!)... but I *do* think there's something of a resemblance. I agree, 'replica' is too strong a word - there's no slavish copying going on here - but I'd be very surprised if the shape of the M600 or M800 wasn't at least a *bit* of an 'inspiration'. I'm fine with that, though - this is very much its own pen in terms of materials, manufacture, look and feel. I'd at least *consider* buying (or gifting) another one of these, as a stylish but affordable pen - can't see myself doing that with a Pelikan!

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I was in the thoughtfully named "the pen shop" recently and tried a few Pelikans. But in all honesty, they just weren't for me, for more than just cost reasons

Yes, they did write smoothly, and I had been toying with the idea of trawling ebay for a bargain, however, once in my hand, my mind changed.

I enjoy trying different pens, and have a rough idea of what I like with regards to weight, feel etc. and the Pelikans just didn't seem to fit.

Maybe I had in the back of my mind that they cost 50-60 times more than the likes of the 500, or indeed any of the Jinhao, Bauor, Kaigelu, or Picasso pens that I already have, all of which do "fit".

 

Ian

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I had never even thought of comparing it to a Pelikan, and having now done so, I don't see anything more than a passing resemblance.

But this old "Chinese rip off" argument once again raises its' head

To say it is a replica is more than a bit harsh.

 

I would imagine designing something completely unique for mass production is pretty difficult as you can only do so much with a basic standard shape, of which pretty much all pens are a variation.

This is the same reason why so many cars look the same, as they are all basically based on a stretched teardrop shape for aerodynamic efficiency.

Does that then mean that a Seat Ibiza is automatically a rip off of a Vauxhall Astra just because it has a similar shape, or is based along the same design ?

 

Personally I cant wait for my 500 to arrive.....and not because it supposedly looks like a Pelikan, but because it's a great value, good looking pen in its' own right.

 

Ian

 

Ian,

I'm pretty casual about using the term "Chinese knockoff" so your comment has caused me to reflect on the situation. Eastern and Western cultures evolved separately for millennia, and only very recently has China been making products for Western markets. How do you determine what products will sell in a particular market? You look at what is already selling, in other words, give them what they want. By producing variations of those products that suit a customer's tastes, you have a much better chance than if you tried to introduce a revolutionary, different (dare I say "alien"?) design. Chinese manufacturers would be crazy if they thought they could change the tastes of the other half of the world (although low prices can be pretty persuasive) so they mimic. I see nothing wrong with this because I can get a nice looking pen that suits my Western aesthetic for five bucks. I think the negative attitude toward the Chinese comes from a few things: their apparent disregard for fine engineering and inconsistent quality control, the over-the-top tacky versions that pop up now and then, the aggressive ambition (greed) of the nation as a whole, plain old racism, etc. It's odd, because in this country (USA) ambition is revered above nearly everything else, but apparently it looks ugly on others.

 

I was in the thoughtfully named "the pen shop" recently and tried a few Pelikans. But in all honesty, they just weren't for me, for more than just cost reasons

Yes, they did write smoothly, and I had been toying with the idea of trawling ebay for a bargain, however, once in my hand, my mind changed.

I enjoy trying different pens, and have a rough idea of what I like with regards to weight, feel etc. and the Pelikans just didn't seem to fit.

Maybe I had in the back of my mind that they cost 50-60 times more than the likes of the 500, or indeed any of the Jinhao, Bauor, Kaigelu, or Picasso pens that I already have, all of which do "fit".

 

Ian

 

I came very close to getting a modern Pelikan (M800). I ordered one online and providentially, the seller was out of stock. I chatted in the Pelikan forum here and Pelikan owners convinced me that the vintage pens are the real treasures. So I got myself a tortoise 400 from 1952 with a gold flex nib. It's a quiet, unassuming, elegant pen. It took a little getting used to. Is it worth $330? Well, there's really only one way to know and that's to live with it, because trying a pen in a shop just doesn't allow enough time to get a feel for it and bond. Having spent time with it now, I see what all the fuss is about. It's a lovely, sensitive writing instrument, a comment I doubt I'll ever make about a $5 Chinese pen. The trouble is, I'm not a particularly lovely, sensitive person. It's not quite a case of "pearls before swine" because I appreciate its qualities, but I don't need that particular luxury.

Edited by Manalto

James

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I hope you know that stainless steel nibs are capable of being 18k gp, gp is supposed to imply gold plated not gold nib.

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I very recently got a Jinhao 500 as a gift. I'm yet to try it. Your review encourages me to try.

I wear my Pen as others do their Sword.

John Oldham

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I hope you know that stainless steel nibs are capable of being 18k gp, gp is supposed to imply gold plated not gold nib.

 

You who?

James

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I hope you know that stainless steel nibs are capable of being 18k gp, gp is supposed to imply gold plated not gold nib.

I'm sure that's what the stamp on the nib is trying to imply - I trust you'll forgive my scepticism, though, when it comes to Jinhao. Their x750 nibs have the same 18k gp imprint, even though they're solid stainless steel - and I very much doubt there's any real gold on these nibs, either....

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I'm sure that's what the stamp on the nib is trying to imply - I trust you'll forgive my scepticism, though, when it comes to Jinhao. Their x750 nibs have the same 18k gp imprint, even though they're solid stainless steel - and I very much doubt there's any real gold on these nibs, either....

 

The Chinese manufacturers say "GP" stands for "good pen." [jk]

James

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I'm sure that's what the stamp on the nib is trying to imply - I trust you'll forgive my scepticism, though, when it comes to Jinhao. Their x750 nibs have the same 18k gp imprint, even though they're solid stainless steel - and I very much doubt there's any real gold on these nibs, either....

Why would you doubt claims that a steel nib is gold-plated?

 

According to http://www.goldplating.com/PopcornAndGold.htm, "A sheet of 20 lb. copy paper is 200 to 300 times thicker than the gold in normal decorative gold plating." According to their prices on that site, it works out to about 22.7 cents per square inch. It doesn't look to me like there's a whole square inch of plating on that nib, and, of course, the site is advertising 24K plating rather than 18K plating, and Jinhao no doubt buys in bulk for a discount.

 

I hope you'll forgive my scepticism of your scepticism, but Jinhao spending something on the order of 10 cents to make their nib look prettier does not seem even mildly far-fetched.

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Why would you doubt claims that a steel nib is gold-plated?

 

According to http://www.goldplating.com/PopcornAndGold.htm, "A sheet of 20 lb. copy paper is 200 to 300 times thicker than the gold in normal decorative gold plating." According to their prices on that site, it works out to about 22.7 cents per square inch. It doesn't look to me like there's a whole square inch of plating on that nib, and, of course, the site is advertising 24K plating rather than 18K plating, and Jinhao no doubt buys in bulk for a discount.

 

I hope you'll forgive my scepticism of your scepticism, but Jinhao spending something on the order of 10 cents to make their nib look prettier does not seem even mildly far-fetched.

 

I'll forgive your scepticism if you'll forgive mine! ;)

 

I hadn't seen those figures - and it certainly makes it substantially more plausible. The fact remains, though, that even their plain stainless steel nibs (e.g. on the Jinhao 159, x750, 599) are stamped with the 18k gp mark - and they are manifestly NOT gold-plated. I don't greatly mind either way - as long as the nib looks nice and does its job (which these nibs generally do), I don't really care what they're plated with!

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When I made my "joke" about "Good Pen" above, I was being semi-serious. I doubt that it means anything more than that. The Chinese don't regulate copyright infringement with any rigor, why should we trust a metal-content marking? Why spend ten cents when you can spend nothing and just claim you did? I'm willing, happy even, to be proven wrong.

James

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I'll forgive your scepticism if you'll forgive mine! ;)

 

I hadn't seen those figures - and it certainly makes it substantially more plausible. The fact remains, though, that even their plain stainless steel nibs (e.g. on the Jinhao 159, x750, 599) are stamped with the 18k gp mark - and they are manifestly NOT gold-plated. I don't greatly mind either way - as long as the nib looks nice and does its job (which these nibs generally do), I don't really care what they're plated with!

It's not more than a presumption, but I've always presumed that the 18kgp mark on obviously unplated nibs was a side effect of all the nibs getting stamped with the same logo, and then some of them get plated and some don't. At worst you could call that slightly sloppy, so I don't see why some people make a big deal about it.

 

I agree that the point of plating is to make it look good, and whether the nib works well and looks good is all that really matters.

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After a week of using this pen quite a bit and carrying it with me wherever I go, I'm more pleased with it than ever. It's an attractive pen, writes smoothly and reliably, and feels great in the hand when doing so. Even the flimsy converter has a snug seal and draws a full, albeit small, chamber of ink (Diamine 'Sapphire Blue'). Its only shortcoming for me is awkwardness when posting. I prefer to post because my movements during the day tend toward the chaotic, and posting gives me one less thing to keep track of. It doesn't really work for this one, however. It's not terrible, but so much more pleasant to use unposted, why throw it off? Once that bulldog of a clip is attached to your shirt pocket, that pen is not going anywhere.

James

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I have the Jinhao x500 in black & white chessboard and in white pearl.

The smaller nib and feed function better than the bigger nib and feed combos.

The x250 is the same mechanism, with slightly different body shape. Great

value.

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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