A few weeks ago, I wrote about a sleek all-black ballpoint pen that featured a pretty solid refill — the Faber-Castell NEO Slim ballpoint pen. This week, I'm looking at the sibling pen — the NEO Slim fountain pen with a medium steel nib.
Like the ballpoint sibling, the fountain pen is a sleek and modern fountain pen with an understated design. While the pen is slim, it's still fairly comfortable to write with. If you're a fan of blacked-out accessories, this pen will definitely catch your eye. The matte black body, cap, and section look great together, and then shiny black nib is a great accent to the overall aesthetic. The only branding you'll find on the pen is a small Faber-Castell logo on the cap next to the clip.
Speaking of the clip, it's very similar to the ballpoint version, which isn't a great thing. The same problem ails this pen as well. The clip lacks the strength and teeth to really hold on to anything without the assistance from gravity. If this is in your bag being tossed around, it will likely fall out. It does fine for tucking into a shirt or pants pocket, and even a bag pocket as long as it's staying upright.
When it comes to writing, this pen does a great job. It may be slim, but that doesn't detract from the overall comfort. If you look closely, you'll see that the grip section is incredibly small, which normally translates to a cramped holding position. With the NEO Slim, this isn't true because the grip section is (mostly) the same diameter as the rest of the body. The pen body is long and slender and feels great in the hand. I've some fairly long writing sessions with this pen, and I've never had any cramping or discomfort.
The tiny nib on this pen has been a point of contention for me. On one hand, it looks great and provides an excellent contrast to the matte black finish of the pen body. But on the other hand, it wasn't tuned correctly from the factory. It turned out to be a mild case of baby's bottom, but it still diminished the experience. This is bound to happen here and there with fountain pens, and it's (luckily) fairly easy to fix on your own. Still — at $50, it seems like a quality problem that shouldn't exist.
Once I smoothed out the nib on my trusty fingernail buffer, the nib started to sing. The ink flow was more normal and the stuttering and skipping problem was completely gone. I've loved writing with this pen ever since I took a few minutes to smooth the nib. It was a problem that shouldn't have existed in the first place, but it sure feels satisfying to improve something on your own.
The NEO Slim takes international cartridges or any international converter. You can purchase the Faber-Castell converter, but any converter with the same port will work. The pen is also long enough to store an extra cartridge if you're using international short cartridges.
At $50, this isn't an instantly easy recommendation, but it does feel and perform well for the price range. I've really enjoyed using this pen and can think of several people that would appreciate this pen as a gift. The blacked-out aesthetic and slender design make this a desirable pen to carry with you. But, if all black isn't your thing, there are several other color options. The pens range from $40 to $60, and you can choose from black, polished steel, black and rose gold, or matte steel finishes along with a range of EF to B nib sizes.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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