(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!)
The TWSBI GO sprung onto the scene recently and turned all our collective pen addict heads. Its spring-loaded button-fill system is certainly not new tech, but it's the first time I've seen such a thing in a pen that costs less than a trip to the grocery store, and that's a category that can never have too many cool pens. This is a cool pen.
This clear demonstrator edition shows off all the inner workings of this small marvel. It isn't pretty, bless its little springy heart, but it does look interesting. It has more than once been mistaken for a medical device, but has also several times been a conversation-starter about pens. Sometimes those conversations end with the tell-tale twinkle in the eye of a person who is about to go off and purchase their first fountain pen.
This is a great starter fountain pen for someone who is ink-motivated. If you want sheen and shimmer and endless colors, you need bottled ink, and this pen is a great way to get started with that. The button plunger is intuitive and easy to use. If you are, however, more drawn to 'fine writing instruments' and the elegance of a nice pen, this is not the place to start.
Every piece of this pen except for the spring and the nib is plastic. Well, 'acrylic', but not acrylic in the way that Sailors or Viscontis are acrylic--acrylic in the way that fake nails are acrylic. It feels cheap, almost disposable, in the hand. But it also IS cheap, so that's not really a flaw, it's a feature.
The cap snaps in place with a solid click, and contains an inner cap designed to keep the nib from drying out. Mine has been very effective. The pen doesn't dry out, even after a few days without use. The cap has no clip, but has a very small lanyard loop that also serves as a roll-stop. I put a bit of cotton cord on mine, so I could wear it around my neck when I'm at work. I could only stand to do that for a few days, though, because it's just too odd-looking. I'd prefer a clip. The rim of the cap is not reinforced in any way, so I do worry about cracking. Even my sturdier TWSBIs have cracked, and this one is distinctly more lightweight. I have knocked it about a fair bit, though, in pockets, purses, around my neck, closed up in notebooks--and it doesn't look any worse for the wear. The cap does post securely, and it's light enough that posting doesn't add any extra weight, but I worry about the stress posting puts on the cap rim.
The grip section is a different plastic from the body. It's a bit softer and not as clear, but still shows the feed and ink. The grip is molded, and forces that classic triangular hold that plenty of people hate. It's a bit more pronounced on this pen than on the Eco, I feel. So, if you dislike molded grips, steer clear. It is very comfortable for me, personally, but it's definitely a deal breaker for a lot of folks.
The nib on mine is excellent, but I do see a whole spectrum of complaints about the nib performance people are experiencing. It appears there may be some quality control issues going on. I'd encourage you to try your pen in person, if possible, or order from someone who will check it for you. My nib writes very smoothly and wet, which makes the extra fine look more like a fine or medium. I've owned a lot of TWSBIs, and so far all of mine have been wet writers.
This pen has its flaws, but on a flaws to dollars ratio, it's still coming up as a great value. I reach for it often and I've recommended it to a number of people. I'm recommending it to you, too, right now, with the disclaimer that it is certainly not for everyone.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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