This is a guest post by Bryan Gushikawa.
The Sailor Pen Company has been making pens for a LONG time (100 years!) and have set standards with their Sapporo and King of Pen line. However, all Japanese companies like to have a product line that stretches from budget to luxury and Sailor is no exception, with several of their pens falling into an everyday use range. The real beauty of Sailor pens, though, is that they are ALL excellent writers, no matter what they cost. The Sailor HighAce Neo is part of a budget line of pens that doesn’t sacrifice writing performance, at all. Oriented towards beginning fountain pen users and office professionals, this pen wins high marks on the nib and tight fit and finish.
Smoothness: The Sailor F-4 fine nib is a stiff nail, but it writes VERY smoothly. It’s rare to have such fine tips produce such smooth writing, but Sailor’s experience shines through here. One benefit to the stiff nib is the ability to take a little more abuse in a book bag or survive a drop, as well as press through carbon paper.
Grip and Balance: The grip is smooth and can be a little slippery, but there is enough texture on the barrel itself to stabilize the pen. The balance is good with the pen posted, but the pen is super light, making balance not so much of an issue. The barrel isn’t as thick as a Prera, but it’s average and fairly comfortable to hold.
Ink Flow: Excellent. A perfect 0.4mm line every time, with no skips or blotches.
Build Quality: The barrel is cheap plastic, but the cap, clip and nib are finished metal and very well worked. Not bad for the price, although a dark barrel will hide the cheap plastic finish.
Capacity: Uses Sailor-specific cartridges and can probably fit a Sailor converter (not tested).
Clip: Deceptively strong. Metal, with a good stiffness.
Post: Snaps securely into place with no jiggling. A superior posting system. The cap snaps crisply onto the front, as well.
Overall: I’d recommend this pen because it is an excellent performer in its price range. It’s not flashy and won’t win awards for the cheap plastic barrel, but the nib and feed are wonderful and this pen can be used with Kiwaguro and Seiboku cartridges (if the pen is used daily!) I’d recommend this pen for daily use and office use.