(This is a guest review by Brian Draghi. You can follow Brian on Twitter @Sketchscape.)
I am a fountain pen noob. Just to make everyone clear that I am in the beginning stages of branching out into fountains pens. The Sailor HighAce Neo is only the third fountain pen that I have tried with the prior successes of both the Platinum Preppy and the Lamy Safari fountain pens. Both of those were good pens but I wanted something similar to the look and feel of standard gel pens. Once I saw the Sailor HighAce in orange I was hooked. I had to have it due to its thin uncharacteristic size of typical fountain pens and the affordable price. Plus the fact that I have an obsession with the color orange.
I would have to say if you like fine micro tip gel pens like the Hi-Tec-C, the F nib on the Sailor HighAce Neo is where it’s at. I was in love with this pen with the first stroke that I made, it was so fine and precise. I was surprised how quickly it started to work the second I inserted the blue-black cartridge. There was no need to wait for the ink to load to use this pen or to test the nib out on a scratch piece of paper. It was good to go from the very start. The Sailor HighAce Neo has the option of using a cartridge or the converter. I went with the cartridge since it’s simple to install and there is no ink mess to deal with.
The appearance of the pen alone makes if look more expensive then it really is. The body of the pen is made up of satin plastic resin with the cap made from lightweight aluminum. One of the more interesting features of the pen is quality click sound the cap makes when you close the pen after each use. Knowing the cap is closed on a fountain pen is key here to avoid the ink from drying out as well as preventing any unwanted messes with any stray ink from the nib. Posting the cap on the back of the pen makes another satisfying click into place allowing you to know that it is secure. When posted, the cap provides a fine balance and weight to the pen that feels just right in your hand.
Another great feature of this fountain pen is that fact that there is little to no bleed through on many different types of paper I’ve tried. Most other fountain pens that I have seen are restricted to using a certain type of paper due the bleed through. The Sailor HighAce works perfectly in this capacity and with the ink flowing off to the page without having to worry about the page behind it.
One of the problems that I have with this pen is that the lightweight aluminum cap can be easily scratched up if you are not carefully with it. Putting the pen in your pocket with a pair of keys would not be recommended unless you like the worn look of scratches. Another slight problem is the glossy black plastic grip that could use a bit of texture to it. It can be a bit slick to grip onto for long periods of time but for the most part works fine.
The Sailor HighAce Neo is definitely the fountain pen that I would highly recommend to any beginner fountain pen user out there. If you are attached to micro tip gel pens and want to try fountain pens, then this pen is your first stop period. At $16.50 on Jetpens, this really is a great affordable option to branch out into the world of fountain pens.