In the conversations I have around beginner fountain pens, the Sailor HighAce Neo usually gets left out. Rightfully so, which I will elaborate on as we go, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a fun pen to use and great in the right situation.
The HighAce Neo has been around for years, even warranting a couple of guest reviews on this very blog. I enjoyed the orange model myself when it first became available. Two clear barrel models are now available, with the black cap version the one in my hands for review.
You will notice immediately when picking up the HighAce Neo how light it is. The plastic barrel is no frills, with an ice-type finish and a smoke grey section. The black aluminum cap lends to the lightness. Put this pen in a pocket or a bag and you will forget it is there. That is good, but could end up bad if it makes a trip through the washing machine.
The nib is what makes this pen a consideration. I’ve had bad luck with the fine steel nibs found on Sailor’s other entry level pen, the Clear Candy, but every HighAce Neo I have used has been perfect. The nib is firm without being a nail, and as smooth as you would hope a fine Japanese nib would be. The line output is clean and sharp.
While there is no real problem with the pen on its own, it happens to play in an increasingly crowded field. For a time, the Platinum Preppy was its only competition, and a far superior one at that at a fraction of the cost. More recently, the Pilot Metropolitan came in and is dominating the beginner fountain pen market with its combination of price, style, and performance. It’s almost impossible to beat as a first fountain pen.
So where does that leave the HighAce Neo? Sailor has its fans, and for those who need a cheap, portable way to use their waterproof Nano Black and Blue Black inks, then this is your choice. Many people swear by this ink, and this is a way to take it on the road when heading out to write or sketch.
If you want the best beginner fountain pen, choose the Pilot Metropolitan. If you are a fan of Sailor and their ink cartridges then you may find the HighAce Neo a pleasant surprise.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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