Posts filed under Lamy

Lamy Tipo Review

The Lamy Tipo is one of Lamy's more unique takes on the rollerball refill version of their products. There are rollerball models of the Safari, Vista, and even the 2000, but I think the Tipo looks the most unique of all of them. And, it's also the most affordable. At less than $11, you have to wonder how it compares to the Retro 51 and Schmidt refills.

Well, the Tipo doesn't beat the Retro 51 and Schmidt refills, but it's still a great, quirky pen with a decent refill.

Simple design

The Tipo doesn't have a knock like most retractable pens. Like the Retro 51, it uses an alternate system to extend and retract the refill. The Retro 51 uses a twist mechanism, which lots of other pens also use. They're smooth and sure.

I'm guessing that the typical rollerball refills don't work well with a clicky knock system, but I really don't know. In Lamy's case, they went with a unique catch system that uses the clip and barrel to keep the refill extended. There's a small hole in the body, and an inversely shaped knob on the end of the clip that fits perfectly into the hole when the clip is pressed down.

It's novel, but it needs work in my opinion. It feels cheap and it doesn't breed confidence in me when I use it. Many, many times I've wondered if it's going to stay when I start writing, and I've also missed the catch several times if I'm trying to click it quickly. When extending the refill with this pen, you have to be slow and deliberate to be sure it catches. I'm being a bit dramatic to make a point. In all honesty, it catches perfectly about 95% of the time. But it just doesn't make me feel sure most of the time.

The grip on the pen is fantastic for me. It's textured with shallow grooves and has a nice width. The pen is light, with more of the weight gathering toward the tip, which makes for a pleasant writing experience.

One of the most unique aspects of the Tipo is the variety of barrel colors available. White, black, pink, orange, and turquoise. They all look vibrant in the photos, and the white one I have is no let-down. On all colors, the grip, tip section, and clip are all black.

There's a small, tasteful Lamy logo on the top of the barrel parallel to the clip. It's a nice way to brand an otherwise mysterious looking pen.

Another gripe I have with the pen is the design of the top (butt?) of the pen. It looks unfinished. There are two small holes and nothing else. It looks like some decorative piece was once attached, but fell off at some point. It would be cool to see a plastic screw on the top, similar to the Safari and Vista caps. But, that's not really a big deal. The pen still has a really clean, pleasing design. Besides, at $11 I can't really complain too much about it missing decorative elements. Get a Safari already, right? I know.

An additional delightful little detail is the packaging of the pen. It's futuristic and difficult to explain, so check out the picture:

Lamy Tipo Packaging.jpg

Writing experience

Ah, the refill. Possibly the most important aspect of the pen. Short story: it does a good job of writing. It's smooth, dark, and mostly consistent. And that's the reason it doesn't get a perfect score. It tends to skip or go a little faint every now and then. Not enough to cause any frustration, but enough to knock it down a little.

Seriously, it's a good refill and I'd like to try some more just to make sure I didn't get a one off skippy refill. The refill is half the cost of the pen, so I'd expect the quality assurance to be fairly high, but that's probably a little too optimistic.

On the plus side, you have a choice of 4 colors: black, blue, red, and green.

The line is a tiny, tiny bit thicker than the default Schmidt refill that comes with the Retro 51. So, a 0.7mm refill that seems to contain a good amount of ink in the reservoir.

A point that really makes the Tipo an even greater value is the fact that it can take G2 size refills. That opens up another world of possibilities if you aren't happy with the refill that ships with the pen. Of course, you can also trim other refills that are similar to the G2. I personally use the Pilot Juice refills instead of the G2, and the Tipo body is a lot more interesting and attractive than the Juice body. Score.

Wrap up

The Lamy Tipo is a great little pen with a unique, quirky personality. It doesn't make waves with the refill, but it provides a compelling value and looks great while doing it. If you're like me and have an urge to try every rollerball out there, don't leave this one out.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on May 28, 2014 and filed under Lamy, Tipo, Pen Reviews.

Lamy Pico Review

The additon of a Lamy Pico to my writing arsenal has been a long time coming. Like since I started the blog in 2007 long. It is a wonderful Lamy design that no one has been able to match but I always wondered: Would I like it?

What makes the Pico unique is its deployment mechanism. When retracted, the cylindrical, compact barrel measures only 3.75 inches long, but when extended into the writing position it hits a nearly full-sized 5 inches in length. The knock is visually integrated into the barrel perfectly and there is no clip, so this portable powerhouse is able to slide into any pocket with ease. The Lamy badge on the barrel serves as a roll-stopper in lieu of a clip to keep your pen from rolling away.

The refill is the proprietary Lamy M22, which could be a sticking point for some people. It ships with the black 0.7 mm as the default, but I swapped it immediately for the 0.5 mm blue refill and love the output. It lays down a clean, fine line and is smooth as well. It is a traditional ballpoint so I can't really ask for much more performance wise.

I went with the white barrel for something different, but every option in the Pico lineup looks as good as the next. Quite honestly, this is close to the perfect every day carry ballpoint. I love the build quality, how the rounded ends slide right into my jeans front pocket, and how slick the knock mechanism works. I wish I would have bought the Lamy Pico years ago.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on May 19, 2014 and filed under Pico, Pen Reviews, Lamy.

Lamy Studio Steel Nib Fountain Pen Review

Unlike a lot of people, my first fountain pen wasn't a Lamy. I didn't try one out until my third fountain pen, after a Sailor and Kaweco. My first Lamy was a Lamy Vista with a fine nib, and it's a great pen. Since then, I've bought more pens by Lamy and have been very happy with them. The Studio follows that line of customer delight.

The Studio is somewhere between the (relatively) inexpensive Safaris and AL Stars and the timeless 2000. At less than $90, it's not a scary jump into the more costly pens, and you already know if you'll like the nib since they use the same ones.

Keep in mind that I'm reviewing the steel nib version of the pen here. Brad reviewed the gold nib version a few weeks ago, which is about twice the price.

Look and feel

First things first. Personally, I think this is a really attractive pen. I love the sleek matte finish and the polished grip section and accents. I've said it before, but I really have a soft spot for aluminum bodies, and the Studio does a great job using the metal.

I've heard people complain that the grip section is slippery because it's so smooth. There's absolutely no texture to it. I don't have a problem with the way it feels. I think it's quite comfortable, but that's just me. I do get annoyed with all of the fingerprints, though. Being a polished metal, it attracts fingerprints like pen addicts to open inkwells. That's a minor annoyance that's easily solved with a quick wipe down.

My other major complaint is with the clip. It looks really nice and sports a unique design, but it fails to serve its real purpose with any ease. It's an extremely tight clip and has been difficult with every sort of object I've tried to clip it to. Whether it's my shirt pocket, a Nock case, the front cover of a Field Notes book...it resists with an ornery stubbornness. I usually have to move the clip to the side a bit to provide a tad more room for the object to slip between the clip and the cap body. Fine. I can live with that, but there's a downside to that method as well. Sliding the clip across the cap creates a mark in the matte finish. Major bummer, but not a deal-breaker. Just be aware.

Apart from those two annoyances, this is a great pen. It feels great in my hand, has a solid but useable weight, and catches quite a few compliments. The cap posts very sturdily with a satisfying click so you know it's ready.

It's sleek, black, and understated.

Writing experience

Like every other Lamy I've used, this pen writes like a champ. Excellent flow and smooth writing right out of the box. The Studio comes with a converter (unlike other Lamys in the lower price range) that holds the same amount of ink as the regular Lamy converter. The converter included is the silver and black Z26, which I'm thinking of swapping out to use in my Vista.

One issue I've had so far is that there's quite a bit of nib creep with this particular pen. I've never seen this issue with other Lamys (not as much), so I'm wondering if it has something to do with the capping system. I'm not sure what it is, but it doesn't hinder the writing experience.

I've used this pen for long writing sessions, and it doesn't create any fatigue and it remains comfortable the entire time. It's an absolute joy to write with.

If you're a Lamy fan, this is definitely a great addition to your collection. Apart from the sultry black, there's a very refined royal blue that looks equally as classy. JetPens only offer a fine and extra fine nib with the Studio, but you can swap the nib out with any Safari nib.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on April 16, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Lamy, Pen Reviews.

Lamy Studio Fountain Pen Review

I've had Lamy Studio envy since I saw Office Supply Geek's lovely Instagram photo of his blue barrel model back in December. I decided this was it and headed over to JetPens to pick up the exact same steel nib model. Who am I to argue with good taste? I hit the page, then had a "Squirrel!" moment. 14k nib? Yes please.

The only other 14k Lamy nib I own is on my Lamy 2000, and it is of the hooded variety. I thought I would give the full-sized 14k nib in the Lamy Studio a shot to see if there was any difference. If you recall my experience with the 2000 I felt it needed some nib work to get it where I wanted it. As fate would have it, I had to go the same route with the Studio.

There was nothing wrong with the Studio's performance right out of the box except the EF line was too wide and too wet. Much more than I expected from an EF nib, even a German one. One of the reasons may be that the 14k Studio nib has some flex to it. I'm used to stiff Japanese nibs and this one is very different. I liked it a lot, but something had to be done about the line width.

Enter Shawn Newton.

My enabler Thomas has a few of Shawn's pens, and recently has used Shawn for some nib work and spoke very highly of his talents. When Thomas says "Jump!" I say "How high?" so a week or two later I had my Studio headed Shawn's way to turn the German EF nib into a Japanese F nib. Not a huge change but more in my wheelhouse. The results were fantastic. The line is clean and smooth and right where I wanted it to be. I can't recommend Shawn's services higly enough. Contact him if you are in the market for nib work. (Full disclosure: Shawn provided his services at no charge for this pen as a trial run and I paid full freight for a second I had him work on.)

Back to the Studio itself...it is a fantastic pen. The barrel design is what originally sold me, and as usual, Lamy nailed this one. The stainless steel grey-lacquered barrel is sleek with slight tapers on each end with a chrome clip, grip, and end caps. I was curious how slick the grip would be and I found it to not be an issue. The slight natural tackiness of my fingers held well, although I left plenty of fingerprints behind. Not crime scene friendly.

And that clip - wow. Sometimes the simplest little feature grabs me and won't let go and with the Studio it is the clip. The paddle design is unique even among Lamy's other highly engineered offereings, and might be their best.

So after all of the praise I have heaped would I recommend this pen? I'm 0-for-2 with Lamy's gold nibs. Whether that is the manufacturers fault or my pickiness (I think it is one of each in my case) you should understand that the nib may not be perfection when you first ink it up. Some will argue that for a pen this price it should perfect out the gate, and that is fair. For me, a little extra work gave me a pen even more suited to me than when it first arrived.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on February 10, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Lamy, Pen Reviews.

Lamy Blue Ink Review

Lamy Blue1.jpg

There is no such thing as the perfect blue ink. Some blue inks come pretty close to perfection, but you'll have a need or a desire to try others. It comes with the territory.

I was recently on a crusade to find a favorite blue ink for my fountain pens. I was naive enough to believe that I could settle on just one ink. Now I know better. I ordered many samples from Goulet Pens and had an absolute blast trying them all out. It didn't take long before I realized that I wouldn't be able to settle, and I might be better off just owning all of them. That makes sense, right?

It was through this blue ink voyage that I realized I had never even tried a particular blue ink of which I had several cartridges lying around. Lamy fountain pens generally come with a blue cartridge, but I had never once tried one. I guess I thought it was a "freebie" and it wouldn't be worth trying. When I got around to trying it, I was very pleased to be so wrong.

Lamy Blue Bottle.jpg

There's nothing particularly special about this blue, but it's a very steadfast and dependable ink. It won't turn heads and garner complements. It's well-behaved and predictable. In my mind, I think of it as my default, professional blue. And while that might sound boring, it's also a very high complement. Each ink has a purpose, and this one fills a very specific need.

I bought a bottle of Lamy Blue from JetPens on a whim. I was intrigued by the bottle and the tape attached to the bottom, and I knew I didn't want another bottle of black ink, so blue it was!

The bottle is larger than I expected. 50 ml is the same size as my Iroshizuku ink, but the Lamy bottle is larger in order to accommodate the roll of tape on the base. As you'd expect, the bottle works great for filling pens. What more can I say? What I find interesting is the blotter tape. This is extremely handy for cleaning up a pen after filling it. The tape has two sides: an absorbent side and a water-proof side. The absorbent side does an excellent job of soaking up any ink droplets on the pen, while the water-proof side prevents the ink from soaking through to your fingers. You can clean up the pen without staining your fingers!

Lamy Blue Blotter Tape.jpg

I've found myself reaching for this tape when I fill pens with other inks, just because it makes the clean-up so much easier than using a tissue or paper towel. I can never manage to fill a pen without getting some ink on my fingers, but maybe I'm just clumsy.

Overall, this is a great everyday ink and the blotter tape is a very useful bonus.

Lamy Blue Close.jpg
Posted on November 13, 2013 and filed under Ink Reviews, Lamy.