Posts filed under Faber-Castell

Faber-Castell Grip Fountain Pen Review

Faber-Castell Grip Fountain Pen Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

There can never be too many entry-level fountain pens. The more variety there is, the more likely new hobbyists will find a pen they love and join us at the Pen Addict table. Faber-Castell's Grip fountain pen has flown under my radar, but it's an excellent contender for a beginner fountain pen--and it's a decent pen even for us wizened collectors.

If this pen hadn't arrived in a fancy presentation box, I'd have assumed it was a generic rollerball from a big box store. I think the grip dots create this impression for me. They remind me of school pens. And this would actually make an excellent school pen! But it certainly isn't putting on any airs when it comes to appearance. The only ornament is the raised logo on the top of the cap and the lovely engraved nib. Otherwise, this is a very plain pen. Or maybe a better word would be 'inconspicuous.'

Faber-Castell Grip Fountain Pen

The body is molded plastic; this one is a pretty dark blue with black raised dots along the body. These are supposed to aid in gripping the pen, though they are conspicuously absent on the grip section itself. The grip section is textured soft plastic. The whole body is very subtly triangular shaped, so the pen doesn't roll too easily, and the grip is comfortable. The shaping guides your grip without forcing you into a specific pen hold.

The cap has the Faber-Castell name on it in white. It snaps to close and posts securely. It's very light even when posted, which makes it great for long writing sessions. The clip is folded stainless steel and works very well. It's springy but still secure, and the shaped tip doesn't damage paper or fabric.

Faber-Castell Grip Fountain Pen Nib

The pen takes standard cartridges (long or short will work) or a standard converter. It comes with one cartridge.

The nib is steel and nicely decorated. This one is an extra fine and it is actually very fine. Other Faber-Castell nibs I've used have felt on the broader side to me, so I was surprised to get such hairline writing with this one. It does have a lot of feedback and feels a bit dry, but it isn't unpleasant at all. In fact, I think that makes it perfect for writing in pocket notebooks, or on office or school paper.

Faber-Castell Grip Fountain Pen Writing

This is an excellent student pen, or work pen--or a pen that you want to carry around without worrying about it too much. It's reliable, writes well, and it's inexpensive. At $20, I think it's the perfect price for gifting to kids or office friends who might be fountain pen curious. It's been my work companion for a few weeks, now, and its plain appearance means I can leave it sitting on the desk while I wander away to work without worrying about it growing legs and walking away. No one looks twice at it, until I explain what makes it special.

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

Posted on July 18, 2019 and filed under Faber-Castell, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen Review

Faber-Castell NEO Slim 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.)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a sleek all-black ballpoint pen that featured a pretty solid refill — the Faber-Castell NEO Slim ballpoint pen. This week, I'm looking at the sibling pen — the NEO Slim fountain pen with a medium steel nib.

Like the ballpoint sibling, the fountain pen is a sleek and modern fountain pen with an understated design. While the pen is slim, it's still fairly comfortable to write with. If you're a fan of blacked-out accessories, this pen will definitely catch your eye. The matte black body, cap, and section look great together, and then shiny black nib is a great accent to the overall aesthetic. The only branding you'll find on the pen is a small Faber-Castell logo on the cap next to the clip.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen

Speaking of the clip, it's very similar to the ballpoint version, which isn't a great thing. The same problem ails this pen as well. The clip lacks the strength and teeth to really hold on to anything without the assistance from gravity. If this is in your bag being tossed around, it will likely fall out. It does fine for tucking into a shirt or pants pocket, and even a bag pocket as long as it's staying upright.

When it comes to writing, this pen does a great job. It may be slim, but that doesn't detract from the overall comfort. If you look closely, you'll see that the grip section is incredibly small, which normally translates to a cramped holding position. With the NEO Slim, this isn't true because the grip section is (mostly) the same diameter as the rest of the body. The pen body is long and slender and feels great in the hand. I've some fairly long writing sessions with this pen, and I've never had any cramping or discomfort.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen Nib

The tiny nib on this pen has been a point of contention for me. On one hand, it looks great and provides an excellent contrast to the matte black finish of the pen body. But on the other hand, it wasn't tuned correctly from the factory. It turned out to be a mild case of baby's bottom, but it still diminished the experience. This is bound to happen here and there with fountain pens, and it's (luckily) fairly easy to fix on your own. Still — at $50, it seems like a quality problem that shouldn't exist.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim

Once I smoothed out the nib on my trusty fingernail buffer, the nib started to sing. The ink flow was more normal and the stuttering and skipping problem was completely gone. I've loved writing with this pen ever since I took a few minutes to smooth the nib. It was a problem that shouldn't have existed in the first place, but it sure feels satisfying to improve something on your own.

The NEO Slim takes international cartridges or any international converter. You can purchase the Faber-Castell converter, but any converter with the same port will work. The pen is also long enough to store an extra cartridge if you're using international short cartridges.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Comparison

At $50, this isn't an instantly easy recommendation, but it does feel and perform well for the price range. I've really enjoyed using this pen and can think of several people that would appreciate this pen as a gift. The blacked-out aesthetic and slender design make this a desirable pen to carry with you. But, if all black isn't your thing, there are several other color options. The pens range from $40 to $60, and you can choose from black, polished steel, black and rose gold, or matte steel finishes along with a range of EF to B nib sizes.

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


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Faber-Castell NEO Slim Fountain Pen Writing
Posted on April 10, 2019 and filed under Faber-Castell, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Rollerball Pen Review

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Rollerball 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 NEO Slim rollerball pen falls comfortably into the sleek gift category of pen, but it's also a solid performer that comes equipped with a great refill.

At face value, this is another pen that falls into a category that is already fairly cramped, so it has to show some sort of unique feature or style decision that sets it apart from the many other contenders. Priced from $35 to $55, it's already more expensive than other pens in the same class, making the comparison even more difficult. But, even with this uphill battle, the NEO Slim manages to (mostly) pull its own.

The model in this review is the Black Matte, which falls in the middle of the price range at $45. Here are the basics: this is a slim barrel click pen that's made mostly of metal. The included refill is a Parker-style medium ceramic rollerball in black. If you're looking for a different color from Faber Castell in this line, you're out of luck. There are plenty of ballpoint refills, but no rollerball. That might sound like a downside, but I wouldn't go that far because of the lack-luster performance of the rollerball refill.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Rollerball Pen

When most of us think of "rollerball" refills, visions of different Retro51 Tornados flash through our minds. They're popular, affordable, and perform well. When comparing the NEO Slim refill to the Schmidt rollerball refills that ship with the Tornado pens, there really is no contest. The NEO Slim refill acts exactly like a decent ballpoint refill. Even then, when comparing to something like a Schmidt EasyFlow refill, it still doesn't match up. The rollerball refill has certainly disappointed me, but the saving grace is the fact that it's a Parker-style refill, meaning you have a plethora of other options.

When writing, the included refill normally has a rough start with lots of skipping and some ink build-up around the nib area. Once it is going, it's a fairly smooth writing experience minus the occasional hiccup. The richness of the ink is lacking, as it just isn't bold enough to grab your attention. One the plus side, it does dry fairly quickly for a rollerball ink, and that probably has something to do with how thin the line is.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Rollerball

The pen barrel is slim, but still comfortable. It's very similar in length and diameter to the popular Rotring 600 ballpoint pen, but it has a much more minimal and sleek design.

The only branding on the pen is a small logo next to the clip. The clip is mushy and doesn't seem to stay very well when clipped to things. It doesn't have a pronounced jaw or tooth on the clip are, so it slips around easily. If you're clipping this pen to your shirt, pocket, or bag pocket, it will stay put. If you make any sudden movements or toss your bag around, it will probably come loose.

The click mechanism has a solid but pleasant feel. It doesn't take much pressure to operate, but it has a satisfying click sound. The only irritating part of the mechanism is that you can hear some metal-on-metal grating sounds when using the nock. To me, it sounds like the spring inside the click mechanism is too loose and rubs against the edges. It's not a deal-breaker, but worth mentioning on a pen of this price. On another note, the top of the click mechanism has a slight concave depression that feels great under your finger.

Faber-Castell NEO Slim Rollerball

The only non-metal portion of this pen is the nose section where the nib comes out. It's a black plastic material that degrades the overall feel a tiny bit, but it feels good in the hand and does a good job.

Overall, I wanted to really love this pen and add it to the list of "great pens to buy as classy gifts," but the number of negative ticks is just too high to justify the price. It's great that it accepts the ubiquitous Parker-style refill, but I expect a $35-$55 rollerball pen to have a buttery smooth refill out of the box. It's hard to justify this pen over a Parker Jotter, Retro51 Tornado, or the Rotring 600, just to name a small handful.

(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 NEO Slim Rollerball Pen Writing
Posted on March 20, 2019 and filed under Faber-Castell, Pen Reviews.