Posts filed under Lamy

Lamy Al-Star Charged Green Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

It looks like spring is finally here for most of us, which means a lot of greenery is on the way. A new year also means a new limited edition color from Lamy for the Al-Star line, which just so happens to be fairly spring oriented this year.

The Charged Green Al-Star is electric, and it's the perfect color to welcome in the spring of 2016. The Al-Star, in case you don't know, is the aluminum line of Lamy's entry level fountain pens. They look almost exactly like the Safari line, but the main difference is the material (metal vs. plastic). The same contoured grip section is found on the Al-Star, but I happen to prefer the metal bodies over the regular Safaris most of the time.

If you've never used a Lamy Safari or Al-Star before, you're really missing out. Sure, there's a chance you might hate the very opinionated grip, but there's only one way to know. Lamy introduces a limited edition color each year for the Al-Star and Safari lines, but it's usually fairly easy to score one for several months after it's released. In the case of the Charged Green Al-Star, they're still easy to come by.

It's been a while since an Al-Star was reviewed here, so it's probably worth looking at the pen from its roots, not just the fancy color. The Al-Star is a medium-sized pen, but is still fairly light because of the thin aluminum used in the body and cap. Now, Kaweco also offers some aluminum pens, but they typically use much thicker materials that feel much stronger and hefty in the hand. The Al-Stars use thin aluminum, which is lightweight but not as durable. Still, they're rugged and can keep up with your normal pen duties with no problems.

The clip is strong, but easy to use, and there's a convenient ink window on both sides of the body to see how much ink is left in the pen at a glance. The Al-Star uses a propriety Lamy cartridge or Lamy converter, and ships with a standard Lamy blue cartridge. The grip section is contoured in a way to compliment a "standard" grip (whatever that means), and this is the main point of contention for the entire lineup. You'll either like the grip, or you won't. That being said, I'm a big fan of the grip and enjoy using them.

The nib that came on this pen is a medium, and it is fantastic. No tuning needed out of the box at all. It has excellent flow, almost no feedback on the page when writing, and starts beautifully every time. For the review, I chose a nice green to go along with the green theme, but the nib has done great with several types of ink. And, as with most Lamys, it's incredibly easy (and affordable) to swap out a different nib.

All in all, it's a great writer and worthy of its fame. There are plenty of standard colors offered in the Al-Star line, like gray, silver, black, purple, and blue, but the limited edition colors are usually quite enjoyable. In the case of Charged Green, it's a knock-out. When you see it on a desk or in a bag, you can't help but be drawn to it. Maybe you think it's pretty, or maybe it's ugly — your eye is drawn to it regardless. Personally, I love the color and will enjoy having it in my collection of more "boring" pens.

You can grab a Charged Green Al-Star in extra-fine, fine, and medium, but you'd better act fast because these limited editions don't stick around forever.

(Goldspot Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on April 6, 2016 and filed under Lamy, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Lamy Tipo Coffee Body Rollerball Review

When reviewing products, there is sometimes a disconnect between products I like and products I would recommend. The Lamy Tipo is the embodiment of this. I personally love the Tipo. The design is a Lamy masterpiece in my opinion, but there is a long list of issues I bring up when actually recommending this pen.

First of all, the clip design takes some getting used to. When clicking it down to engage the refill, the ball on the tip of the clip lands in a circular cut out on the barrel. Most of the time anyway. There are times when it takes two or three clicks, or a little push down to get the clip to sit correctly. And on occasion, it will bounce out randomly and retract the refill, like when putting the pen down on the table.

The end of the clip sticks out far above the barrel too. That has no impact on writing, but it may get in the way depending on how and where you carry the pen.

Grip-wise, it can be slick. The plastic ridges help, but it’s not a smooth plastic where your fingers will stick. Rather, it’s lightly textured, almost matte-like. If your fingers have a little moisture its fine, but if they are dry they slide around a bit.

The Lamy M66 rollerball refill it ships with is decent, but it’s not as good as the Schmidt P8127. It is both wetter and wider, making for a line that is not as clean.

And did I mention the sticker rage? That too.

All that being said, you think I would hate this pen. Fortunately there is one redeeming thing that makes me love it: It fits Pilot G2 refills. For me, that means it fits my favorite Pilot Juice 0.38 mm Blue Black refill. #winning

Swapping in the Juice refill changes everything about this pen. I find it comfortable to hold and use, and the writing experience is excellent. My grip settles in after a couple of lines, and the ridges are no longer slick. Maybe I still have to click the knock two or three times to engage it, but look how cool this pen looks! I genuinely love it.

I buy the Lamy Tipo for gifts frequently because it is unique looking and decently priced. The plastic barrel models are $12.50 at JetPens (look at that orange!), and the aluminum are only $2 more. I’m always sure to include a Pilot Juice pen as well, plus a note on swapping out the refill. It’s fun turning an average pen into a very good one.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on April 4, 2016 and filed under Lamy, Tipo, Pen Reviews.

Lamy 2000 Rollerball Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Back in 2014, I wrote about the iconic Lamy 2000 fountain pen, and talked about my love for the design and the writing experience of the pen. Well, here we are in 2016 and I've expanded my Lamy collection to include a Lamy 2000 rollerball. A lot about the rollerball is the same as the fountain pen version, but this one is obviously a bit more simple since it only has a rollerball cartridge inside. Even though there are a lot of differences between this and the fountain pen, it's a great pen that would be perfect for a lot of people looking for an elegant, classy, and reliable pen for daily use.

Aesthetics

In my original Lamy 2000 review, I wrote about the design of the pen:

The Lamy 2000 is unique. There isn't another pen like it in design. It's sleek, modern, and welcoming at the same time. It looks like a pen meant to write, but classy at the same time. It works with casual and dress clothes splendidly. It always gets comments out in the wild.

I don't think it's fair to call this a "different" pen, since the exterior is completely identical aside from the nib area. When the pens are capped, it's difficult to determine which is which. From what I can tell, there's only one way to tell from the outside: the top of the cap has a small dimple in the rollerball version, whereas the fountain version is completely flat and smooth. The fountain pen version also feels like it might weigh a few grams more, but not much.

Obviously, it's pretty easy to tell them apart once the caps are off, but the differences are limited to the nib area only. The grip section is identical, the cap fitting is identical, and even the piston knob is identical. But, why does the rollerball version have a piston knob? Well, it's not actually a piston knob — just a section that screws off to give you access to the cartridge. But, the thing is the back cap is the same length and location as the piston knob, and equally difficult to notice when closed.

Saying that the attention to detail that went into the rollerball version of the 2000 is impressive almost does it justice. Lamy went above and beyond to ensure this looks every bit as classy, timeless, and modern as the older, more sophisticated cousin.

This is a rollerball that can stand its ground in any board room.

Writing experience

That's great that it looks just like the fountain pen version, but the fountain pen version writes so well (provided you don't have a faulty nib), right? Right, but that doesn't mean that the rollerball version has a bad writing experience. Quite the opposite, actually.

From what I can tell, Lamy sourced the cartridge through Schmidt, and we all know what that means. This is a smooth writer. Coming from the same company that provides the ever-so-glassy-smooth Retro 51 refills, this Lamy 2000 refill is no slouch. Lamy dubs it the M63, and it retails for $5.

Like the Retro 51 stock refill, the Lamy 2000 is also a 0.7mm size, and it is smooth and well-flowing. I'm a huge fan of Schmidt refills of all kinds, and this one is no exception. There really isn't anything I dislike about the way it writes — it's smooth, it always starts right away, never skips, and lays down a dark, crisp line of inky pitch black.

My only gripe is the line width, which is the same "problem" I have with the Retro 51 stock refill. To get a smaller size (like a 0.5 or so), you'll have to find the refill directly from Schmidt. While this is fairly easy for the Retro 51 refills (Schmidt P8127), the Lamy version can be a bit difficult to locate. From what I can tell from reading this Schmidt catalog (pg. 25), the Schmidt SRC5888F (0.6mm) and SRC5888M (0.7mm) refills would work in the Lamy 2000 if you had a small extension for the base — about 2mm long. Still, the price is about the same, so unless you want the slightly smaller tip size, I'd stick with the Lamy-branded refills.

Conclusion

If you're a fan of the Lamy 2000 design, but are looking for a non-fountain pen version, the rollerball is perfect for you. It's a bit cheaper than the fountain pen version, just over $100. It's not "cheap," but it's also a price that I feel is fair given the attention to detail, prestige of the 2000 line, and the beautiful design and writing experience.

If you're nervous about jumping on a Lamy 2000 because you're new to fountain pens, this might be the perfect entry point into fine pens.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on January 27, 2016 and filed under Lamy, Rollerball, PHX-1, Pen Reviews.

Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen Gift Set Giveaway

Image via JetPens.

Image via JetPens.

What better way to get started with fountain pens than getting an all-in-one set like the Lamy Al-Star or Safari Gift Set? Even if you are an experienced user, adding a new Lamy pen plus all of the accessories is a great thing.

I'm giving away the Purple Body Al-Star set, courtesy of JetPens, to one lucky reader. Here is how you can enter:

  1. Leave one comment on this post anytime between now, and Saturday night at 11:59 PM Eastern Time. You are limited to one entry. This contest is open to US and International readers.

  2. For this contest, I will pick one winner at random from the comments section of this post. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.

  3. The contest winner will be posted on Sunday, January 17th. The winner will have one week to email me via the Contact link at the top of the page.

Thanks and good luck!

Posted on January 12, 2016 and filed under Lamy, Giveaways.