Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0

Oh, hello. Finally! My review of the new TWSBI Eco! I wanted to spend some time with this pen before posting my review, because I've had mixed experiences with TWSBI in the past. I think they do some pretty cool things though, so I wanted to give this one an unbiased chance.
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (10)

Body Material: Plastic
Trim: Chrome
Length (capped): 138.8 mm/5.46''
Length (uncapped nib-end): 131.0 mm/5.15''
Length (posted): 166.0 mm/6.53''
Barrel Diameter: 12.5 mm/0.49''
Section Diameter: 8.8 - 11.0 mm/0.34'' - 0.43''
Nib material: Steel
Weight (all): 24 g
Weight (cap): 8 g
Weight (body): 16 g
Fill type: Piston-filler
Price: €35,00
Where to buy: Fontoplumo (also in black)

I generally like TWSBI's packaging - it's pretty compact, but it's also useful. The Eco arrived in a translucent plastic clip box. Inside, the pen, a plastic wrench, and some grease all sit in a foam bed. There is a little tag on the pen that warns against the use of rubbing alcohol to clean the pen - this clouds the plastic. There is also a paper guide for the pen, which is really useful, especially for newbies or those who are unsure of what to do with their fountain pen. Decent packaging, not completely wasteful.
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (3)

I have to keep reminding myself to stop comparing the Eco to the 580 series. It's not the same pen or model! With that in mind...
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (4)
This Eco has a block shape. The cap is thick, round, and has flat facets around it. The finial is blunt and flat, with the TWSBI logo in red plastic, flush in the center of the white of the cap. The clip is attached internally, and mimics the shape of the cap - blocky and straight. It's not my favorite clip design, but I'm bearing the low cost of the pen in mind again.
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (14)
The center band is on the end of the cap and is marked with TWSBI, Eco, and Taiwan. The barrel is round and completely clear. It was well-polished and looks nice. There's a thin, black rubber O-ring at the end of the white piston-turning knob (for posting). The piston-turning knob is a little thinner than the barrel, and has the same blocky, blunt shape as the cap.

The section is connected to the barrel, unlike the 580 (ok, I compared them there), in an all-in-one design, and is completely clear, just like the barrel. It is fairly thin and tapers towards the nib, ending in three flared ridges, forming a triangular shape (but it's not as triangular as that on a Lamy).

Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (13)
Overall, it looks decent. I don't like the blocky shape of the cap and the piston-turning knob, and I really miss those pretty diamond facets of the 580 barrel... oops. Not supposed to compare it to the 580. Sorry. I think the finial is a little plain as flat plastic - it takes away some detail. It is an economical model, after all, so overall, it's not too bad. I guess it's more economical to make things blockier than smooth and sexay.

Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (9)
This extra-fine steel nib has a single slit and a breather hole. The nib along can swap with the Mini and Classic (but it's not an intact unit). It is engraved with the TWSBI logo, TWSBI, some simple flourishes, and the nib grade. As the section is clear, it's easy to see that the feed is quite long. After flushing, the nib wrote very well - a little toothy, not really smooth, but not scratchy. For an extra-fine, it's very decent, although maybe closer to a fine than an extra-fine. I'm not well versed in extra-fine though, so what do I know?
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (1)
Ink flow was consistent and reliable, even during long and fast writing sessions. The nib did not hard start or skip, so that's pretty cool. It's a fair firm nib that does not yield while writing but with pressure, some line variation can be squeezed out.

I've had issues with 1.5 mm stub nibs running dry in the past, and I notice that only extra-fine to 1.1 mm stub nibs are available on this model - I won't speculate why, but I do enjoy the 1.1 mm nib a lot.
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (8)

TWSBI warns on their Facebook page that after inking, or after removing the nib and feed, to blot the nib and feed to remove excess ink. I usually just expel a few drops after inking up any pen. Have you had any ink explosions?
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (15)
The clip is snug but springy, so it's usable. I don't like it though. The section feels thin to me during longer writing sessions. The ridges at the end of it (before the nib) are hard and I usually grip right on them. I also felt the section was a little slippery, probably exacerbated by the fact that it felt thin to me. The threads at the back are not sharp or uncomfortable. Is any of this a deal breaker? Nah, it's kind of what I expect from an economical pen - it's not made for my hand! If it fits my hand, great, but it's not going to fit everyone's hand.
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (5)
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (6)
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (7)
Unposted, the pen is light and more comfortable for me than when it was posted. The problem for me is the section diameter. Weight and balance-wise though, it was quite comfortable.

Unlike the 580, the cap posted comfortable and securely. An O-ring holds it in place so it won't fly off. Posted, it is well-balanced and comfortable. Due to the added length, I could grip higher up where the section was not as thin, and I found this more comfortable.
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (12)
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (11)
Review TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen @TWSBI @Fontoplum0 (2)

This is a very interesting pen, especially given the price. You get a clear pen (for those of you who like to watch your ink slosh around), it's a high capacity piston-filler, it posts if you want, it comes with a wrench and grease, it's pretty affordable, and it's robust - so far. No tinkering, no messing around. It writes. Great for getting friends hooked, great as a gift. Not the most beautiful pen ever, not the most incredibly comfortable pen ever, but a lot of bang for your buck. So far, it's pretty darned cool.

If I had to pick between this and the 580, I'd pick the 580 because I think it's more attractive, but if you're on a budget and can't hit the price of the 580, the Eco is really not too shabby.

I received this pen free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this review. Stay tuned for Serious Nibbage - we'll give this pen away!


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