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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tesco Cartridge Pen aka the Tesco ‘Comfort’ Pen

Um yes, I have been away, for 5 months that is. Hey, I'm a busy guy, deal with it :p

Following the responses I got from the Pilot 78G review I wrote not too long ago, I’ve decided to do yet another pen review (actually, this will be one of 2 reviews I’ll be doing, now that I’ve actually have some time to myself to write these things) I’ve recently been discovering that the price of a fountain pen does not necessarily reflect on it ability to write. My Hero #299 (which I also found in Tesco) and my RM3.00 Youth Pens from China are good examples of these. Recently, I came across a posting in FPN that spoke about a mysterious ‘Cartridge Pen’ that could be found on the cheap from Tesco. Very Intrigued, I made a point of looking a bit more carefully the next time I was there. Suffice to say, I found one that cost me a grand total of…RM2.50. I have to apologize in advance because I’ve thrown away the packaging for this pen. It comes with 3-4 generic Short Standard International Cartridges of Blue Ink. Absolutely no idea what make the ink actually is by the way. I just threw away the cartridges and slotted in a Pelikan Violet. Here’s a first look at the said pen:

Unposted (without the cap on) it measures about 12.2cm, Posted the pen measures about 16.3cm. The cap is a clip on type and is transparent with a one piece black tip and clip unit. The rest of the pen is made of plastic (all of it actually, except the nib which seems to be made of stainless steel). No clues as to what converter it will take. But I’m not too anal about using cartridges anyways. Its RM2.50 for god’s sake! Takes both long and short International Cartridges. On to the weight factor, it’s the lightest weight pen I’ve ever used. Hardly feel the weight as I’m writing. The barrel has a rubberized feel to it and the business end of the pen has grooves cut into the grip (which is made of shiny black plastic) and does not slip in any way while writing.

The nib is stainless steel and has a slight flex to it. (Thin Iridium Stainless Steel I’m told) As far as the point is concerned, it’s an ‘F’ Nib. Absolutely nothing engraved on the nib too. The underside of the nib is the now familiar black but smooth with no vertical nor horizontal grooves. The inking system makes use of cartridges. I doubt I can find a converter for it. Then again, I ain’t no snob when it comes to inking systems :P

So, unto the actual writing bit. This time around, I used some really nice Conqueror paper and wrote a few lines. I noticed that while it was an ‘F’ Nib, it was a bit thicker than my Sheaffer No-Nonsense’s ‘F’ nib. Writing was smooth, uninterrupted (I did flush the pen out before slotting in the cartridge). Writing sample as below, Tesco Pen in Violet and the Sheaffer No-Nonsense in brown.

Ok, last thing that needs mentioning, this is a pen which is made in China. Which could be a good thing or a bad thing. I do have a post written up about Chinese made pens, but I’m still tweaking it so wait for it. Chinese pens are either very good or very bad, it can be a crapshoot sometimes. A few months after I wrote this review (yes, I take ages to write one blog post, that just shows how dedicated I am to my art :P) the pen began to leak rather badly from the cartridge part. I suspect that this had to do with a little rough handling the pen took in my bag (yes, this was BEFORE I discovered RM5 faux-leather 3 pen cases from Daiso), so do take care not to handle the pen too roughly.

Final Impressions:

Pros: Cheap, lightweight, slightly flexible nib. Smooth writing performance.

Cons: No converter so you’re stuck with whatever International cartridges that comes your way. (long or short), dubious durability.

PS: This entire blog post was written as usual in long hand with the subject of this review, the Tesco Comfort Pen