(This is a guest review by Bryan Gushikawa)
The Pilot Prera is one of the best fountain pens ever made! I can say that without reservation because there are no other pens out today that offer the same blend of style, comfort, smoothness, and value. It's an excellent pen for beginners and it also offers a lot to experienced fountain pen users. I can spend pages and pages just writing paens to the Prera, so let's get into the specifics of why this is such a great pen!
General Notes: This pen is a little shorter than a typical fountain pen, but the thickness feels nice in the hand. The body comes in many colors and the nibs come in a range, with M and F nibs being excellent choices for most users. The Japanese nibs write smaller than their Western counterparts, so expect to get an M nib for daily writing (~0.6mm) and F nibs for fine work (0.4mm lines).
Smoothness: This pen uses a stiff, steel nib, made by Pilot, and offers a very smooth point. Although a large part of the smoothness of a fountain pen is based on the ink used, the tip contributes quite a bit to the feel of the pen on paper. The Prera is a big winner here, with a tip that glides effortlessly across the paper.
Grip and Balance: Not thick and not thin, but JUST right. Although there is no texture in the grip area, it's sufficiently sized and the plastic isn't so slick to make it hard to hold. When posted, the pen balances well and the weight is distributed evenly.
Ink Flow: Again, although this can be dictated by ink choice, the feed on every Prera I've owned is perfect right from the factory. No skips or blotches here and there's enough flow to allow the pen to start without scribbling.
Build Quality: Wow! Thick plastic and metal accents! The clip is securely affixed to the cap and WILL hold the pen in a pocket. There is a cushioning effect of air when capping the pen, letting you know that the cap is airtight and your pen won't be drying out while capped.
Clip: Excellent. Simply excellent!
Post: Secure and rigid. The posting is wonderful! You'll want to post the cap to make sure it's long enough to grip properly.
Overall: I really love this pen and recommend it to everyone! You really will never be disappointed by this pen. It's nice enough to be business ready, but cheap enough so that you don't feel anxious about taking it to the office. A definite recommend and a must buy! Note that you'll get excellent results from the Pilot line of inks, but converters will let you try brands from other companies, as Pilot pens can only fit Pilot carts, not international standard cartridges.