I'm a little late to the party on the Pilot Metropolitan, but with good reason. I was waiting for MY model to come in - Black Plain Body - and wasn't going to settle for gold or silver or some funky pattern on the barrel. I'm particular!
When I finally did get it I quickly understood what all the hype was about. I noticed two things immediately: The weight of the barrel and the smoothness of the nib. The barrel is made of brass which is something you don't see much with pens in this price range. It gives the Metropolitan a nice heft and the illusion that you are using a much more expensive pen.
The nib, to me, is the real standout. Medium nibs are outside of my normal comfort zone but that doesn't prevent me from knowing quality when I use it. This nib is as good of a steel nib as you will find, regardless of price. It is glassy smooth with nearly no feedback on the page. I loaded my Metropolitan with Aurora Black ink and used a Rhodia 80g DotPad for this review - the ultimate smoothness combination!
While the praise for the Pilot Metropolitan is warranted, it is not without flaws. The biggest one for me is the sharp metal edge on the step-down from the barrel to the grip section. It hits both my thumb and forefinger when writing, making it uncomfortable right out the gate. You can see pretty clearly in this image from JetPens what I am talking about.
The second issue I have isn't as much of a flaw as it is a personal preference: Medium nibs are the only option. Yes, I am aware that you can swap nibs from other Pilot pens into the Metropolitan, but that defeats the purpose of a $15 entry level pen to me. As great as the medium nib is I can't use it all day, every day. I would prefer the choice of an extra fine or a stub nib.
So now the question that many of you are wondering about: Is the Pilot Metropolitan the best entry level fountain pen on the market? No, I'm sticking with the Lamy Safari for the wider range of nib and barrel options. The Pilot Metropolitan is at least in the conversation though, which is more than most under $30 fountain pens can claim.
(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)