Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 276

It's currently the top-selling fountain pen on Amazon.ca right now, so it has a ton of online reviews already, but I thought I'd share my own thoughts on my new Amazon Basics fountain pen in this post...

(photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge)

Amazon Basics is Amazon's private label brand for household goods, electronics, office goods and many more categories. I find it amusing that the brand's one and only fountain pen is described as the "Amazon Basics Refillable Fountain Pen" on their website & pamphlet... as if the average fountain pen user would assume it's not refillable :)


The pen came in a very simple black plastic clamshell presentation box with no manufacturer's name on it. I thought it odd that Amazon didn't put the Amazon Basics name and/or logo on it, just to jazz it up a bit. On the other hand, some buyers might appreciate the lack of branding, in case they want to reuse it as a gift box.


Though the box is simple, it cushioned the pen inside very well -- there are even cutouts for the two spare ink cartridges!

According to YouTuber Pen Boy Roy, the pen was made by the Shanghai Qiangu Stationery Company, a Chinese manufacturer that also makes Jinhao writing instruments, among other brands.

It is a narrower fountain pen, but I still find it comfortable to hold. The barrel and cap are made of lacquered brass, and the pen is a very glossy black colour. In fact, the pen is currently only available in black, which reminds me of Henry Ford's quote about the Model T automobile -“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it's black."


Dimensions (my measurements): 13.5 cm capped, 11.8 cm uncapped (nib tip to barrel end), and 15 cm posted. The weight of the pen is 32 grams (according to my kitchen digital scale) with no cartridge/converter in place.


The pen comes with an unadorned #5 steel nib with only the nib size ("M" for Medium, in this case) stamped on it. It's also available with a Fine nib, but I chose the wider nib as I knew it was a Chinese-made pen and suspected that the Fine would run a little narrow. The Medium nib on mine does, in fact, write like a Medium-Fine, so I'm glad I got a pen with a Medium nib.

At the time I bought it, the Medium-nibbed pen was slightly more expensive, but today the Medium is cheaper. Go figure. The nib on mine is a bit "toothy" and has some audible feedback, but I like that. It has also a bit of spring to it, but no real flex.

It came with three "Amazon Basics"- branded ink cartridges filled with black ink-- two nestled in the presentation box and one in the barrel. The cartridges are branded with the Amazon Basics logo, and although they resemble short standard international cartridges, they have a slightly longer "chimney" (as reviewer Pen Boy Roy calls it). For this reason, standard short international cartridges might not fit the Amazon Basics' section "nipple" properly, leading to ink leakage. Oddly enough, you can't buy the Amazon Basics ink cartridges separately on Amazon (!), but, apparently, Jinhao ink cartridges will fit (not surprising).

As for converters...The pen didn't come with one, so I tried a German K5 international converter (seen in photos above and below) I had at home to see if it would work...


...and it fits perfectly, with no apparent leakage!

The clip has the Amazon Basics logo (which incorporates Amazon's famous smile/arrow) stamped on it. Interestingly, the top of the clip (not shown) doesn't have "China" stamped on it, unlike some of the same pens reviewed on YouTube. It's quite a stiff clip, but I've seen worse on other pens. The cap is a snap-on, and it caps with a pleasant, reassuring click.

The pen posts very securely, with no wobbling at all, and I find it to be well-balanced when posted. One complaint I've heard from some reviewers is that the polished chrome section is a bit slippery, but I wasn't bothered by it. There is one tiny detail that does bug me, and that is that the cap top is slightly different than the barrel end; the former has two rings, whereas the latter has three rings. It's a very small detail that isn't very noticeable (unless you look for that sort of thing...which I do :) but hey - I like symmetry!

The Amazon Basics fountain pen with Medium nib is currently (10/26/2021) priced at $8.08 CAD on Amazon.ca and the Fine-nibbed version is $11.04 CAD. Both are backed by a 1-year limited warranty from Amazon Basics. I've found Amazon's return policy to be very good and hassle-free, so the warranty is a big "plus" in my book. Yes, it's a pretty nondescript fountain pen, but it feels good in the hand and writes well. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes, but at $8/$11 CAD with free shipping, I think it's worth trying out.

(~ all photos & review by Maja ~)

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