Parker is undoubtedly one of the great legacy penmakers, so it makes sense that they should have their own entry-level fountain pen. The Vector has been around for a long time, and some fresh new colors have brought it back into the spotlight. It's fun and inexpensive and functional--but I don't think it stands up very well against its competitors. There are a lot of good quality affordable fountain pens, now. We're in a golden age of pens and it's easy to be spoiled for choice.
The Vector is a slim, lightweight fountain pen with a plastic body and metal accents. The grip section and bottom cap where the pen posts are a brushed gunmetal color, and the clip is chrome in the shape of the classic Parker arrow. The grip section is long and slim. The nib is plain stainless steel over a smooth feed.
My first thought, when I lifted the pen from its box, was, "Is this a disposable fountain pen?" That's not a good sign, probably, because, no--it's not. But the plastic it's made of feels like it is. Maybe it's the snap cap with a lack of cap band, but it reminds me a bit of a Crayola marker. It feels like it's not meant to last. For a $12 pen I'm not expecting an heirloom, of course, but it wasn't a good first impression.
The $12 price tag is a little misleading, as well, because the pen doesn't come with a converter. That's a separate $9.25. So, $21.25 is closer to the real cost. When compared with other beginner pens that come with converters, this feels like it's priced a bit high for this quality.
The writing experience hasn't been very impressive, either. It does write, and the Parker blue ink it comes with is beautiful and well behaved, but I'd want to buy a bottle and put it in a different pen. The nib isn't too scratchy, but I had some drying issues and the feed seemed to struggle to keep the flow going when writing for longer periods. The grip section is also uncomfortable. It isn't shaped at all and it's slick, so I was constantly having to readjust my grip. The plastic edge where the body meets the section is also quite sharp. There's no smoothing or band there, so it's just raw plastic.
All told, there isn't much about this pen that would move me to recommend it, even for a beginner. The Pilot Metropolitan is ultimately less expensive and much better quality. Parker makes some really fantastic fountain pens, but this one doesn't seem to fit the brand. Perhaps my expectations are playing a role in my disappointment here, but I don't see myself reaching for this pen.
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