Can expectations get in the way of a product review? I think the answer is yes, but I try not to let any preconceived notions jump onto the page and screen. I do try to be honest about my true feelings for a product though, whether good or bad. So, my honest, preconceived thoughts of the Pentel TRF91 Tradio Fountain Pen before reviewing it? I thought it would be terrible.
That is one of the reasons it took so long for me to order it - I didn't want it to be a waste of money. I did like the looks of it, and was generally happy with the similar Pentel Tradio EnerGel Combo Pen, so I bit the bullet and bought one. And you know what? It is better than I expected.
What we have here is a true entry level pen. There are six barrel color choices but only one nib option - medium. It is made to be used with both short and long international cartridges so you could probably find a compatible converter as well. The design is comfortable with just enough style points to set it above more run of the mill pens.
The surprise factor with the Pentel Tradio Fountain Pen is the nib. I don't have many other M nibs to compare it to, but this one is unbelievably smooth. I think this is what fountain pen people refer to as "glassy" - there is little to no friction or feedback when the nib hits the page. It is as smooth of a writer as you can get.
The one gotcha with the Tradio is when posting the cap. It goes on firmly, or so it seems, but as you write it works its way up the barrel until it is loose. The Tradio Energel did the exact same thing. If you write with the cap posted this might be an annoyance.
Will the Tradio Fountain Pen move ahead of the Lamy Safari as one of the best entry level fountain pens? No, and it is not even close. The Safari offers way too many options to ignore. But the Tradio can hold its own performance-wise, and if you are searching for a good looking, good performing entry level fountain pen you could do much worse.