It's always great to learn about new companies that are producing stationery today, and Online is one of the newest ones I've encountered this year. Online was founded in 1991 by Thomas and Alexandra Batsch in Germany with a clear focus on youthful design and high-quality writing instruments. After perusing their offerings, it quickly became clear that they enjoy vibrant and modern designs that attract the younger audience.
The Online Switch Plus is no different. The bold petrol color that I have stands out on any desk and begs you to pick up. The name of the color is a bit peculiar since I normally associate petrol with a much darker shade, but regardless of the name, it's a striking turquoise with plenty of sparkle and shine. The color is just a tad darker than the recent Lamy Pacific Blue Al-Star that we reviewed last year. But, that color only appears on the body of the pen. The cap is a different material. The color of the cap is matte black, but it has a soft touch that I really like. I'm not sure what the material or paint is called, but I've seen it used in other pens. The cap also features a small accent of turquoise where the chrome clip is attached to the cap. It's a nice touch of color.
Once you uncap the pen, you notice immediately that the grip section is contoured in a similar fashion to the Lamy Safari or Al-Star. The black grip uses the same material as the cap, giving it a soft, smooth touch. The amount of contour used on the grip of the pen is almost too aggressive for my tastes, but that feeling fades shortly after a few strokes. The black nib looks a tad undersized compared to the rest of the pen, and I would bump it up one size if I had the choice.
I would be remiss if I chose to ignore the stylus on the end of the pen body, so I'll mention it briefly. It's a touchscreen stylus, and it works on touch screens just fine. Does it need to be there? Online seems to think so, although I disagree. Either way, it's there if you need it and it won't get in your way if you don't need it.
Writing with the pen is exactly what I expected based on the price range. It's a standard steel nib with a dependable ink flow and a steady line. As far as steel nibs go, it's extra stiff, even on the fine nib in my unit. I'm not able to get any flex out of it, but it does a good job at different angles at keeping the ink flowing. Nothing to write home about, but it worked great out of the box.
One interesting thing about the pen is the included ink cartridge. It looks similar to a Lamy cartridge, but it's not the exact same. You can actually use either end of the cartridge depending on what kind of pen you are using. If you're using a Lamy, plug in one end of the cartridge. If you're using a pen that uses international short cartridges, plug in the other end. It's a cool idea, but not one I see myself using all that often. At least there's a really good amount of ink included in these large cartridges. There are also several colors to choose from if you'd like to purchase a pack.
The Online Switch Plus is a great entry-level pen that features a unique aesthetic and solid performance. At the $20 range, it has plenty of competition, but it's still original enough to merit the purchase. Even better, there are plenty of color and nib choices. Each color is available in EF, F, or M nib sizes, and you can choose from Petrol (shown here), Violet, Black, Ruby, and Copper.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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