Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Review

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Review

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

The Faber-Castell Essentio ballpoint pen is a classy pen with a stylish carbon fiber body that looks great with any outfit or carry.

There's a lot of pens available today that use the popular Parker style cartridge, which means that there are plenty of options in the way of third-party refills. This is always an interesting genre to me because I know that I can choose a pen based on aesthetics or feel and know that I can completely control most of the writing experience by replacing a refill.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen

The Essentio is a bit on the larger side of the ballpoint pen scale, but it's also incredibly comfortable to use. The rubber grip section has a soft feel and a matte finish, which make it both comfortable and resistant to fingerprints.

The body is made of a carbon fiber (or something similar) material that lends a classy aesthetic as well as a light weight. It's shiny without being overly so, and there's a small and classy Faber-Castell logo toward the top of the body.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Clip

The clip is fairly light compared to most other pens I've used. I wish it were a bit stronger, but given the overall light weight of the pen, it does a great job of keeping the pen secured to whatever you attach it to. The clip has a slight curve that adds a bit of visual interest to the pen.

The click mechanism is smooth, reliable, and fairly quiet. The top of the nock has a concave surface that feels great on your thumb. While it's not loud or overly clicky, using the nock on this pen is incredibly satisfying and tactile.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Refill

Like I mentioned at the beginning, the Essentio uses a Parker-style refill. The included refill is a Faber-Castell bold refill that is actually stupendous. It reminds me quite a bit of the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 refill, which is high praise. It's incredibly smooth, dark, and dependable. When so many ballpoint refills can suffer from skipping or dryness, it's always a relief when the stock refill performs so well. Most of the time, I replace the refill with an EasyFlow, but that's not necessary in this case.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint

Writing with this pen is a great experience. The combination of the size, light weight, smooth refill, and comfortable grip section make for a great writer. At $35, the Faber-Castell Essentio a bit on the expensive side, but it still falls within the normal range for a well-performing ballpoint pen. There are lots of attractive options in this price range, and this one should be on your list for gifts and affordable ballpoints. It's a great value and excellent performer. And, if the included refill isn't your thing, you have so many options for replacement.

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


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Writing
Posted on November 21, 2018 and filed under Faber-Castell, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.

Doane Paper Dot Plot Small Idea Journal Giveaway

Doane Paper

Chad Doane has released a batch of Hot, Fresh, Now goods over at Doane Paper, including the fantastic new Dot Plot Idea Journal. He sent me over a few products to test out, and I wanted to be sure to share them with you as well.

I’m giving away one small Dot Plot Idea Journal, plus a single of the new Boxcar notebook from the pack I just opened. Read the rules below and enter away!

Posted on November 20, 2018 and filed under Doane Paper, Giveaways.

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri Mechanical Pencil Review

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri Mechanical Pencil Review

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to mechanical pencils. Give me a classic design over most anything. Bonus points if it is an engineering-style mechanical pencil, like my beloved Rotring 600.

That’s what has kept me away from the Retro 51 Mechanical Pencil for so long. Not that this isn’t a classic style with it’s twist mechanism. In fact, it may be more classic than the standard click mechanism. But the twist pencil is no longer the expectation for mechanical pencils, nor has it been for decades.

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri Mechanical Pencil

It took Retro 51 to design one to get me interested. The Dmitri, named after Dr. Dmitri Mendeleev, the father of the Periodic Table, is not only a great bit of scientific history, but is beautiful to look at.

Unfortunately, that’s where my joy with this product ended.

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri

Retro 51’s Tornado mechanical pencils are designed around 1.15 mm graphite diameters. I like larger diameters, regularly using both 0.9 mm and 2.0 mm varieties in various products I own. But, the graphite has to be good. I’m not sure this graphite is good. It has a more plasticky feel than I would like. That makes it smooth and firm, but it has no character. No depth. No darkness.

With a more standard lead size I would happily swap in a different brand, like I do with ballpoint and rollerball refills. 1.15 mm is such a peculiar size that it makes swapping the lead out more difficult than with other mechanical pencils. Quick Googling shows a dearth of options.

Retro 51 Tornado Mechanical Pencil 1.15 mm

Even the times I am content with the lead situation in this pencil, I’m not content with the mechanism. It works fine extending and retracting the lead, but when I’m writing and the tip hits the page between words, the lead scoots back into the barrel slightly. Not every single time, but enough to be noticeable. It’s like there is some play in the twist, allowing it to backtrack if it’s hit in the right spot.

Retro 51 Tornado Dmitri Mechanical Pencil Eraser

And finally, the eraser. It erases fine, that’s if it remains in place long enough to get the job done. I figured out immediately that if I erased in a left to right fashion, the eraser would pop out of the barrel. If I erased in an up and down fashion, it stayed in place. End of the world? No. Annoyance? Yes.

Does the style of the pencil outweigh the annoyances I had with it? No, it doesn’t. There is no doubt it is a stunner, and would make a great gift for the right person. But if you aren’t looking for a gift and instead want a great writing experience, you should look elsewhere.

(Retro 51 provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Retro 51 Tornado Mechanical Pencil Review
Posted on November 19, 2018 and filed under Retro 51, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.