Lamy's pretty, new pastel colors for 2019 are a big hit with me. So fresh! So airy! I had trouble deciding which one I wanted. I was just leaning toward the inevitable Mint Green, when Brad sent that very pen for me to review. Delight! But how do I review a Lamy Safari? Surely we've reviewed it a dozen times already. I thought maybe I had even reviewed it! So I went back to check, and--nope. It has only been reviewed here once, ELEVEN years ago, by Brad, when he got one as his "first non-disposable fountain pen." He starts his review: "So many readers of this blog are fountain pen fans and have been trying to get me on the bandwagon for the longest time." Hey, good job, crew! I think it worked!
So, what has changed with the Lamy Safari in the last eleven years? Nothing! Or only very subtle things. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Safari has been a staple and a classic of the fountain pen world since 1980. They are many people's (including Brad's) first fountain pen and are therefore responsible for a lot of the world's pen addiction. For that alone, they are due reverence, but they're also just a really good pen.
I'll admit upfront that I prefer the AL-star (sorry, Brad), but I don't think they could get this beautiful soft color on an aluminum barrel, and I LOVE this color, so my allegiance may be slipping a bit.
The plastic is durable and sturdy. It doesn't feel cheap, brittle or disposable. It does show some scratches and wear after a long time of use, but it does it in a way that looks loved rather than worn. The self-springing aluminum clip is very well designed. It slides onto paper or fabric easily but holds firmly, and the continuous loop shape means it never snags on anything. The body has a handy ink window so you can see when you're due for a refill.
The cap snaps to close and posts well, though it is also nicely balanced when unposted.
The nib is steel, and quality can be a bit hit or miss with them, but I've never had one that needed much. This one is an extra fine and had a bit of snag-and-drag on left-to-right strokes, but was perfect after 20 seconds of smoothing.
The pen takes proprietary cartridges or a converter. It comes with one cartridge. Lamy cartridges are generous and hold a ton of ink, but I really wish pens would come with converters. The color line for cartridges, even with the added Monteverde for Lamy colors, is pretty limited, so it's worth picking up one of the $5 converters.
Probably the most contested element of the Safari is its grip section. It was designed under the philosophy that there is a correct way to hold a pen and its shape is molded to corral you into that grip. Which of course does not work for everyone, because there are lots of ways to hold a pen and several of them don't work at all with this grip section. And with a molded grip, you don't really know if it's going to be comfortable for you unless you try it, and trying it can be a barrier to entry for many folks who don't live near pen access. Lamy does have a large distribution, so if you're curious about trying one, it's worth inquiring about nearby retailers.
JetPens has their lovely Safaris for $29.60. The color is limited edition, as are the other pretty pastels this season, so be sure to grab one or all of them quickly. And if you're not yet a fountain pen user but think you might like to be, this is a great place to start. Just don't think too hard about where you might be eleven years from now if you jump down this rabbit hole with us.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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