Posts filed under ystudio

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint Pen

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint Pen Review

ystudio has become one of my favorite brands to follow over the past few years. Their product designs are classic and functional, while adding modern touches with their choices of materials and finishes. And, they want you to use, love, and destroy your pen or pencil in the process.

Their latest release is the Portable Brassing Ballpoint, which features - wait for it - a gel ink refill. An exceptional Ohto 0.7 mm Parker-style refill at that. This one caught my eye because they added new barrel colors to the regular lineup, in this case red and white to go along with the standard black. They have offered red and white in special editions previously, and now they are part of the regular lineup.

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint Pen

And they are different, at least in the case of the red model I have for review. In the past, ystudio’s barrel finishes have been either raw metals, like brass and copper, or a satin-like black paint coating. All of these materials lended themselves to patina and wear - core features of the brand. The new ballpoints, however, have a glossy paint finish that I’m not quite sure what to make of yet.

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint

It’s different, that’s for sure. And unexpected, based on my past experiences with ystudio. I like it, and it is beautiful, but will I be able to get the full brassing effects like with their other models? Do I even want to since it looks so nice right now?

Like the other brassing pens and pencils, this one ships with sandpaper to help you customize the look. This caught me off guard the first time I saw it years ago, and I still find it funny that a strip of sandpaper is included with each pen. You can see the effects of its use on my ystudio Brassing Ballpoint review. It is forced patina, if you will. And I don’t plan on forcing this one.

ystudio Portable Ballpoint Pen Review

The name of this pen has “portable” in it, similar to the portable fountain pen, but I find it to be far less portable in reality. It is a twist barrel, which is easily manipulated with one hand, but the accessories that ship with it make it less usable, even though they may help with the dictionary definition of portability.

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint Pen Necklace

The top of the pen contains a built in brass loop, made to be used with the included leather rope necklace or brass shackle. The necklace accessory isn’t the right choice for a twist pen. Necklace pens are usually capped so you can remove the pen and write while keeping the cap safely secured around your neck. You would need to remove the necklace over your head every time you want to write with this pen, unless you are constantly writing at eye level.

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint Pen Shackle

I thought the shackle might be a cool accessory to add on to the back end of the pen, but when put in place is it so loud bouncing off the barrel when writing that it becomes a distraction. I guess you can attach it to a clip on a bag or purse (Portability!) when not in use, but that is the only benefit besides aesthetics that I can think of.

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint Pen Writing

To me, the idea of a portable pen is one that I can carry in my pocket and can use easily when needed. The ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint tries to be portable with its added accessories, but in each case, it makes the pen more difficult to use. If anything, this is a desk pen or pen case carry pen. And a good one at that.

In a nutshell:

Is this a good pen? Yes.

Would it make a good gift? Yes.

Would you enjoy it? Yes.

Do I enjoy it? Yes.

Would I recommend it? Maybe.

Would I choose it over any other ystudio pen? No.

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint Pen Packaging

That’s what it boils down to. It is a good pen. Some will even find it to be great. I find it to be ystudio’s least interesting and least useful design. In fact, I think it goes against many of their design principles. The funny thing is, if they called it the Glossy Barrel Gel Pen and dropped the accessories it would make more sense based on what this product actually is.

(Kohezi 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!

ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint Writing
Posted on November 26, 2018 and filed under ystudio, Pen Reviews.

ystudio Mechanical Pencil Review

ystudio Mechanical Pencil Review

I’m a ystudio fanboy. You know this by now. The Brassing Fountain Pen was an instant classic the moment it was released, and they continued to expand the lineup beyond the ballpoint with great items like the Desk Pen.

The ystudio Mechanical Pencil is the most recent addition to the lineup, and, as much as it pains me to say this, it’s not their best effort.

Let’s talk about the good before I delve into what gives me pause about recommending this pencil. First off, it is stunning to look at. The hexagonal brass barrel is refined, and the copper knock sets off the design perfectly. The build is extremely refined, which is a consistent theme across the entire ystudio lineup.

ystudio Mechanical Pencil vs Fountain

The way this pencil looks is a dream scenario for Patrick Ng. It’s impossible to take a bad picture of it, and it fits into any photo setup perfectly.

As great as that sounds, we buy things to use them - at least that’s what I believe in. This is not the easiest pencil to use, especially for longer writing sessions.

The barrel is wide, which, for smaller motion writing instruments like mechanical pencils, is not a good thing. Added width means added stress if the tip isn’t correspondingly wide. This is why you see very few wide barrel mechanical pencils on the market. And when you do, like with the Pilot Dr. Grip for example, they are designed specifically to help writers with hand and grip issues, like arthritis. The wide barrel of the ystudio has no such benefits. This design would make for an excellent 2.0 mm clutch pencil.

ystudio Mechanical Pencil vs Rotring

Secondly, you cannot have a continuation of the hex barrel into the grip section of a mechanical pencil. Unless you are using the Uni-ball Kuru Toga, it is common to rotate the pencil in your hand to use the sharper edge of the graphite. When using this pencil, I often rotate my grip right on to a hex edge, which is an uncomfortable writing position. I then have to adjust a second time before continuing to write. I don’t like having to think about that every ten to twelve letters.

ystudio Mechanical Pencil

“But Brad, wooden pencils are often hex barrels and you don’t have a problem with them?” Correct! The difference is in the diameter. The narrower barrel of wooden pencils helps with that issue, and the hex edges are softer/more rounded. The design benefits wooden pencils, while being detrimental in the case of the wider ystudio mechanical pencil.

A quick glance around the mechanical pencil market tells you everything you need to know about good pencil design. Do any other successful pencils have a hex grip? Nope. There are lots of hex barrels - like the famous Rotring 600 - but they morph into round grips for a reason.

Two minor things worth mentioning as well: There is no clip, and no internal eraser. Neither of those things bother me, although the lack of eraser is an odd choice considering the simple knock design. It’s almost like it is asking for it, yet it’s not there.

The ystudio mechanical pencil puts on a good show. It is fantastic looking, and is a photography standout. But writing instruments are made to be used, and using this one is more challenging than most.

(Vanness Pens 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!

ystudio Mechanical Pencil Writing
Posted on April 23, 2018 and filed under ystudio, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

ystudio Brassing Desk Fountain Pen Review

ystudio Brassing Desk Fountain Pen

I admit I’m a bit of a ystudio fanboy. I fell instantly in love with their design when I first saw them (from Patrick Ng on Instagram I’m certain) and found a shop called Kohezi in Amsterdam in 2016 to get the Brassing Ballpoint from. To use the great stationery cliché, it was love at first write.

As great as it was, the release of the fountain pen in late 2016 really set me off. It was an instant hit - for me anyway - and became one of my most used pens of 2017. I still get complete enjoyment every time I ink it up and use it.

Since I’m committed to that ystudio life now, you know I was going to get the Brassing Desk Fountain Pen from JetPens the minute I could. And - spoiler alert - it’s everything I hoped it would be.

ystudio Brassing Desk Fountain Pen base

For starters, it is a big pen, as a desk pen should be. The base is heavy, and the brass barrel with #6 nib fits in perfectly and securely. If there was any question I had about using a desk pen, it was if the nib would dry out being left in the base for weeks or months at a time. I haven’t hit the months mark yet, but weeks have been no issue. The nib writes the second it hits the page, with no priming or startup scribbling required. It is instantly good when I am ready to write.

ystudio Brassing Desk vs Standard Fountain Pen

The size and brass construction also had me wondering if it was going to be too heavy to write for any length of time. It’s not. In fact, the barrel weight is only slightly more than the much smaller standard ystudio fountain pen, 1.25 oz vs. 1.00 oz. The concave section fits my grip perfectly, and it is well balanced in the hand, so I don’t even notice the weight that much. Sure, it’s more than an acrylic or ebonite barrel, but still within a reasonable range.

ystudio Brassing Desk Fountain Pen nib

As I mentioned earlier, the desk pen comes with a larger #6 Schmidt nib. It was smooth and wet right out of the box, although for my specific needs, I’ll be looking to swap in something finer than the stock Fine nib for every day use. Any Jowo nib or nib unit will swap in easily.

While my love for the brand knows no bounds, there is one issue with the lineup overall: The price. These are expensive pens. The standard fountain pen is $160 at JetPens, and the Desk Pen is $180. They are beautifully made, highly functional, and fit my personal aesthetic to a tee, but I understand they will not fall into the great value category. The steel nib alone is enough to make buyers balk at this price point, and rightfully so.

ystudio Brassing Desk Fountain Pen writing

It comes down to style and use case, especially when considering the desk pen. If I could only choose one ystudio product it would be the standard fountain pen without question. The desk pen is a much more particular category. It looks amazing and functions perfectly, but will you use it enough to justify the high price? Right now, it is a great fit on my desk, but I’ll see if it stays there long term. I’m guessing it will.

(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!

Epinard, not Grenade. Dummy.

Epinard, not Grenade. Dummy.

Posted on January 8, 2018 and filed under ystudio, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.