It is a bit tricky to start with fountain pens. Established brands can be too pricey, or a very good Japanese starter could be barely available in stores. What are commonly available, however, are unknown brands in department stores.
So we’ll start trying them out so you don’t have to.
First (and hopefully not the last) of our reviews here on pennoob.com is the Miniso fountain pen. The Japanese-themed Chinese outlet has been putting out interesting products that it is a surprise to find a row of nibs near their notebook selection.
It definitely copies the Lamy Safari/Vista, and does a better job visually than the Jinhao 599 on getting the clip right. At Php110 or around US$2.15, it is much affordable than the pen it imitates, and won’t make a dent on the budget.
I got the demonstrator version, but I forgot that I only have the Lamy Pikachu (because PIKACHU). For better comparison, I borrowed an old Vista from an officemate. I’m not a Lamy expert. Nor do I like the Safari/Vista (surprise). I’ll probably be easily fooled for a knock-off one, so I think the photos should do the talking.
As for the writing experience, the Miniso nib is marked as an EF, but it definitely doesn’t write as an extra fine. Below is the comparison with the Lamy Pikachu, both inked with the black cartridge from Miniso, syringed and filled into the Lamy converter.
So, is it worth the purchase?
The Miniso fountain pen is inexpensive, yet it does have a sturdy feel to it. Definitely better than the Jinhaos I’ve tried so far (there are too many to remember) and relatively cheap too. If you’re looking for a beater pen, this could be it. As for me, it is my sacrificial pen for Noodler’s Baystate Blue after a DIY pen noob italic grind.