Aurora TU 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.)

Before a few months ago, I really didn't know much about Aurora. Luckily, I had the opportunity to use a couple of top-notch pens that definitely ensured Aurora would stay on my radar going forward. There are several reviews already on the site for Aurora fountain pens that cost several hundred dollars, but the TU is more of an entry-level option.

The Aurora TU fountain pen from JetPens runs for around $125, and it does a great job of representing the brand at this price option. The model I have is the ivory resin with chrome trim, but you can also get a black resin model. The steel nibs come in a range from EF - B, so you're bound to find one that fits you well.

The TU is a small to medium size pen, but it feels great in the hand despite it's smaller size. The plastic grip section is comfortable to use, and the raised band close to the tip of the section is a nice tangible guide when writing with the pen. Depending on your grip style, this small bump may annoy you, but it's necessary as its job is to keep the cap on the pen when closed.

The cap is a snap cap mechanism that feels solid when opening and closing the pen. The snap also works when posting the pen, giving a satisfying "clunk" when it snaps in place. You definitely know when the pen is closed or posted due to this snap system. It's well done.

The pen is weighted evenly and feels very balanced. Some pens feel top or bottom heavy depending on the materials used, but the TU is a balanced pen even when posted.

The cap features several branding flares for the Aurora brand, and they might feel a bit gratuitous to some. The top of the cap has a prominent Aurora logo debossed into the chrome trim. The clip also has "Aurora" debossed along the side, and the band reads "Aurora Made in Italy." The nib is also branded with a very small Aurora mention along with the nib size. Apart from that, the nib is not decorated or flourished.

The pen as a whole is attractive. It's subtle, but has plenty of nice touches to set it apart from other pens. The flat ends are somewhat rare in my collection, so I have no problem telling it apart.

The nib is a crisp, well-tuned steel EF model. It did not require any tweaking since it wrote beautifully straight out of the case. It writes smoothly and has great ink flow, even for a small EF nib. Compared to other European EF nibs, it's on the small side, but I like that. The line looks like something between a 0.5mm and 0.38mm gel ink pen line.

Even though the nib works flawlessly, it does make some scratching noises. I'm not sure why it does this, as it feels very smooth when writing. I might do some nib smoothing at some point, but I really like how it writes at the moment. I don't want to risk changing that.

I haven't noticed any issues with dry starts or skipping, which is on-par with the other Auroras I've used. It's a great writer, and I've really enjoyed using it.

Is there anything not to like about this pen? Well, it turns out there are a couple of gripes. For one, this pen does not come with a cartridge-converter. You must purchase one separately, and it's on the more expensive side of the converter market. It costs $16.50, which isn't unheard of, but it looks like a slightly modified standard converter that you receive at no cost with pens that cost half as much. It would be awesome if Aurora would just include the converter with the pen. If you go in on the pen and converter combined, you're looking at almost $140. Strangely enough, Aurora includes a blank cartridge with this pen (along with a regular blue cartridge). My only assumption for this blank cartridge is that it's intended to be syringe-filled with an ink of your choosing, which is exactly what I did. I don't know if this was correct, but it worked! Still, syringe-filling isn't something everyone is comfortable with or able to do without purchasing a proper syringe.

Another problem that is a bit more difficult to pin down or support is that the price point feels awkward. This is definitely a well-made pen, but I'm not sure it fits in the $100 - $150 market. When you look at other pens that you can purchase in that price range, it doesn't look as attractive. And, I know that's a very subjective statement because this pen might be the most beautiful thing you've seen. Still, the point remains. When you're pricing a pen in the same ballpark as the Lamy 2000, Pilot Custom Heritage 92, the Pilot Decimo and Vanishing Point, and the Platinum 3776, there needs to be a clear distinguishing factor. For me, I can't distinguish it against this group. It's an easier task when dropped to the $75 - $125 range.

Pricing aside, it's a great pen that would make a great gift or first introduction to the Aurora brand. You get one blue cartridge with the pen, so be sure to either purchase more cartridges or a cartridge converter if you're not keen on syringe filling the provided empty cartridge.

(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, which I am very grateful for.

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 January 18, 2017 and filed under Aurora, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Pokka Pen EDK Review

I am a big believer that writing experience trumps all, but there are rare cases where utility wins out. The Pokka Pen is one of those cases.

Terry O’Connor, the man behind Pokka, reached out to me in late 2014 with an idea for a pen he wanted to create. He was tired of losing his Fisher Space pen due to the cost of replacement, and cutting Bic ballpoints down to half-size was tedious and messy. So Terry set out to do what we have all thought about doing. He designed his own pen.

The first sample Terry sent me was a 3-D printed prototype. It was raw and unfinished, but I liked the concept. Over the years, Terry kept sending me samples as he refined the design and invested in injection molds for the barrels. Every new iteration was better than the previous one, leading up to the launch of Pokka in the Fall of 2016.

The Pokka Pen was designed with portability in mind. Capped, it is just over 3-1/4 inches, and expands to a comfortable writing length of 5-1/2 inches with the cap posted. The plastic barrel is so lightweight you won’t notice it is there, but is thick and durable enough to take a beating. Both ends of the caps are rounded so the pen slides in and out of any pocket or pouch easily. The Double Dokk system ensures the cap snaps into place firmly when open or closed.

The ballpoint refill is custom made for Pokka to fit the barrel perfectly. Is it the best writing ballpoint? A Uni-ball Jetstream, or even a Bic Crystal, it is not. It leaves a solid, skip-free line, but it could be darker. It is mess free though - no globs of ink on the tip or paper in my time using it, so that is a plus. It won’t challenge your best writing pens, but it isn’t designed to.

What it is designed to do is to be your anywhere and everywhere backup pen. Throw one in a bag, one in a purse, one in your car, one in the kitchen drawer, one pretty much anywhere you may need a pen. You can afford to put them in all of those places because they cost less than $3 each. They come in great barrel designs and colors too, which my kids constantly fight over. The Pen Addict logo ones are all mine though!

I dig everything about this pen, and I appreciate Terry letting me in on the behind the scenes process on creating the Pokka Pen.

(Pokka 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, which I am very grateful for.

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 January 16, 2017 and filed under Pokka Pens, Pen Reviews.

Pelikan Souverain M400 Tortoiseshell Giveaway Winner

I think its safe to call Gleam a resounding success. It helped that I had such a highly sought after pen to giveaway in the Pelikan Souverain M400 Tortoiseshell, didn't it? Nearly 1500 of you entered the contest, and the winner is:

Congrats Michelle! I'll be sending you an email shortly to arrange shipping. Thanks to everyone who entered, thanks to JetPens for providing this pen, and thanks to Gleam for making my life easy.

Posted on January 14, 2017 and filed under Giveaways.