Posts filed under Ensso

ensso XS Minimalist Pocket Fountain Pen Review

ensso XS Minimalist Pocket Fountain Pen Review

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

Just a few years ago, the portable fountain pen market was pretty bare. On top of that, finding something made of metal was even more difficult. Today, there are so many options available that it can be tough to make a choice. The latest of these that I've had the pleasure of using is the XS Minimalist Pocket fountain pen from ensso (stylized as ēnsso).

ensso XS Minimalist Pocket Fountain Pen

If you've ever used a pocket fountain pen before, the XS Minimalist will be very familiar. Unlike most of the pocket pens I've used, however, the XS uses a friction fit cap instead of a threaded cap system. To aid in the fit, there are small o-rings on the grip section and back of the pen to provide additional friction for the cap. It's always important that you can trust the cap will stay on a pen meant to go in your pocket or bag, and the XS delivers that secure fit.

ensso XS Minimalist Pocket Fountain Pen Barrel

The multi-faceted barrel adds even more visual interest to the pen, and also provides a nice grip when handling it. My particular idiosyncrasies mean that I always make sure the facets line up properly when capping the pen, but it looks fine when they don't line up as well.

The top of the cap and the bottom of the pen barrel both feature a nice convex dimple that reminds me of a metal spinning top. It's a visual feature that shows off the attention to detail that the designers put into this pen.

The only visible branding is a very small ensso logo on the rear of the barrel. It's tastefully done and doesn't detract from the overall design at all.

ensso XS Minimalist Pocket Fountain Pen comparison

The most direct comparison I can make regarding the size of this pen is the Kaweco Liliput. The pens are roughly the same length and diameter when open and closed. Where the Liliput is completely round, the faceted barrel of the XS sets it apart. Still, if you've used a Liliput, you can use that experience to determine if you'd enjoy the XS since the size and writing feel is so similar.

The XS rocks a steel Bock nib with a black finish. It matches the rest of the aesthetic perfectly. The EF nib on my pen is smooth and reliable, putting down a nice line with plenty of ink delivery. The great thing about using Bock nibs is that you can easily swap out the nib with another unit from ensso, or you can even replace it with other Bock nib units of the same size.

ensso XS Minimalist Pocket Fountain Pen open

The XS takes a short international cartridge, and I haven't even experimented with seeing what converters might fit just because of the minuscule size of the barrel. There are a couple of converter options, but not worth the hassle for a pen of this size and given the easy nature of cartridges. This is a pocket pen, after all — the ability to quickly throw in a new cartridge is part of the ideal use case.

The ensso XS Minimalist Pocket fountain pen is a beautiful little pen that stows away easily but opens up to be a completely useful fountain pen. The subtle aesthetic lends itself to the daily carry category and can also stand up to the various levels of abuse that everyday objects have to endure.

The aluminum finish and brass innards mean that this pen will last. Along with a sample cartridge, ensso include a couple of extra o-rings in case the installed rings come off or break over time. It's clear that ensso intend this pen to be used, abused, and cherished as it comes along with you everywhere.

The XS Minimalist is available in the black finish featured here or a silver version. The XS is priced at $59, which is a fair price for the materials used and the great aesthetic it delivers. If you're a fan of brass pens, you can also buy the XS in a completely brass model for a few bucks more.

(This pen was purchased with my own funds via the Kickstarter campaign.)


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ensso XS Minimalist Pocket Fountain Pen writing
Posted on January 16, 2019 and filed under Ensso, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Ensso Pen UNO Giveaway

If you have followed me for any length of time you know I am a fan of the Pilot Hi-Tec-C. Luckily, I’m not the only one, as there has been a proliferation of barrels designed for this beloved pen.

The Pen UNO from Ensso is one of the most unique Pilot Hi-Tec-C barrels, featuring an ultra-light aluminum build and clever capping system. And, I have three of them to give away, one each of Space Grey, Gold, and Rose Gold.

Hit the Gleam app below and find out how to enter. My thanks to Ensso for providing these products for giveaway.

Posted on February 7, 2017 and filed under Ensso, Giveaways.

First Look: PIUMA Fountain Pen

I had Mike Dudek on the podcast last week, and it was inevitable we were going to talk Kickstarter pens. He is one of the few people that is as crazy as me, and possibly crazier seeing some of the projects he has backed.

When the PIUMA Fountain Pen came up in the conversation, Mike mentioned it “looked nice, but…” then struggled to come up with more. I chimed in with "…but this was done four years ago.” He agreed, and we both elaborated on the point we were trying to make. The PIUMA pen does not break any new ground in design, functionality, or materials, but that doesn’t keep it from being a damn fine pen.

I backed the brass model early on, and Ensso, the maker of the PIUMA, sent me a prototype of each pen for a quick peek. That has made me happy with my initial decision, and now I’m wondering if that is the only one I’ll end up with.

Let’s start with the Black Matte model. It is killer - full stop. The finish is smooth, the branding is minimal, and the addition of the black nib turns this into possibly the darkest pen I’ve handled. It looks fantastic, and the lighter weight of the aluminum makes it great for every day carry.

When backing new pens and I have the opportunity to choose titanium, I usually do. Not this time though - I have too many. The titanium PIUMA is fantastic, and I feel you should go ahead and add on the titanium nib to get the full effect. At least that’s what I would do. This one feels great, and is weighted just right.

The brass PIUMA is the big daddy of the bunch, weighing in capped at over three ounces. That is a heavy pen! I’m giving this one a shot because I wanted to try something different. After using all three I thought I might change my mind and go with the black aluminum model, but something about this pen makes me smile. Plus, the patina looks very cool already after just a short time handling it.

All of the pens are outfitted with Bock nibs, which are available in various sizes, and materials including steel, titanium, and gold. I’ve used all three varieties and have had a great experience with all.

If I can pinpoint any downside, it’s one thing that Ensso considers a feature of the PIUMA - the cap and barrel threads. From the Kickstarter campaign:

“The cap threads are wider and allow a fast opening and closing of the pen.”

I want more threads on a metal on metal connection rather than less. That may put me in the minority on this minor issue, but bumps and vibrations can loosen caps. I want the cap to have to travel more so it stays secure rather than travel less and get loose. This matters less on acrylic and ebonite pens than it does metal. I haven’t noticed any issues yet, but haven’t had the pen long enough to run it fully through the paces.

PIUMA borrows its name from the Italian word for feather, which is what the first, and simplest, pens were made from. Ensso has succeeded in making a simple fountain pen, while retaining beauty and functionality. Getting a first look at these pens only confirmed my original thoughts when backing the project, and I look forward to getting to use it in the new year.

My thanks to Ensso for loaning me these pens for the purposes of this review. Ensso is also a current and future sponsor of The Pen Addict.


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

Posted on December 21, 2016 and filed under Ensso, Fountain Pens.