Review: Pentel Finito, Porous Point, Extra Fine

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It was practically a foregone conclusion that I was going to like the Pentel Finito, a fine-tipped, porous-point pen. Like other porous point pens, such as the BIC Intensity or the Sharpie Pen, the Finito produces a clean line that manages to make any handwriting look neater. It’s fully disposable, but it has the benefit of being a little thicker than an average plastic-bodied pen. So, it’s comfortable to use and seems fairly durable.

Unlike most porous-point pens, the Finito uses a feed system that helps keep the ink flowing smoothly, but having a feed sometimes can help a little too much. Given that it’s labeled as an “extra fine” pen, it produces a thicker line than one might expect. The Finito also suffers from some smearing and bleeding issues, though nothing I’d consider out of the ordinary.

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It’s a good pen and one that I’d recommend, but, in my experience, the Finito is difficult to find in stores – I had to order a box online. On the other hand, the Pilot V Razor Point, a very similar pen, is quite common. So even though the Finito is a bit longer, thicker, and sturdier than the V Razor Point, you might as well grab whichever you can find at your local drug store instead of shelling out extra money for shipping fees.

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Extra Links

  • A review at A Pen a Day says that the Finito bleeds through paper less than the Sharpie Pen. That’s probably true, but expect bleeding from both if you’re using thin or cheap paper.
  • The Pen Addict also laments the fact that the Finito can be difficult to find and complains of massive ink flow and bleeding. I wouldn’t call the ink flow “massive,” but, as I noted, I definitely wouldn’t call it “extra fine” either.
  • Art Supply Critic did not seem too pleased at all, calling thing Finto “mediocre.”

Nib Novice, Part 4: Counterfeit Lamy Safari

Note: this post is the fourth part of a series in which I’m learning about fountain pens. For Part 1, click here. For part 2, click here. For Part 3, click here.


When I first began looking into fountain pens, my eye immediately turned to the Lamy Safari. I love the colorful options and the slick, modern design. So, for a little more than $20, I snagged one from Amazon and looked forward to inking it up. But when I finally broke it out of its packaging, it quickly turned into a frustrating and disappointing experience.

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Instead of an ink cartridge like the Zebra V-301 and Sheaffer Calligrapher, the Lamy Safari came with a cartridge converter, which is basically just the refillable version of a standard ink cartridge. It’s really pretty easy to use: (1.) pop the converter into the pen like you would with a normal cartridge, (2.) dip the pen’s nib into a bottle of ink, then (3.) use use the converter’s plunger to suck the ink up and into the pen. Pen Chalet has a 2-minute video explaining the process.

Unfortunately, when I attempted this simple procedure myself, the ink I used immediately clogged up the pen. I could get no ink to flow at all. So I cleaned the pen and the converter – a tedious process that involves a lot of water rinses – and refilled it with a different ink. This time, instead of clogging up the pen, the new ink began to leak all over the place. Did I do something wrong? Did I choose the wrong ink? Did I break the pen somehow?  I couldn’t understand why I was having so much trouble.

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Before I let my irritation compel me to throw the Safari out the window, I decided to consult with the fountain pen fans at Reddit, who suggested replacing the converter – perhaps the one that came with the pen was faulty. Luckily, I had ordered an extra one, so I tried it. And for a little while the pen seemed to work, but I soon realized that the leaking didn’t actually stop, it just slowed. Whenever I removed the cap, ink still smeared all over the pen and all over my hands. After a couple days of this, I was done with this pen.

So I sat down to write this post, unhappy and exasperated, when I stumbled onto a blog by Goldspot Pens. I was looking to see if others had similarly poor experiences with the Lamy Safari, and it turned out that many indeed had. Only these problems weren’t with real Lamy Safari fountain pens, they were with Safari counterfeits.

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Reading further, my experiences matched closely with a blog by The Desk of Lori and a post on the FPGeeks Forum. Counterfeit Lamy Safari fountain pens seem to be sold through third party sellers on Amazon and eBay, and there are a fair few differences when comparing one to a real Lamy Safari. Small differences are easy to spot with both in hand, but the major difference is that these counterfeits are known to be barely functional. Fortunately and to Amazon’s credit, I was issued a full refund without being asked to return the counterfeit.

When I finally ordered a real Lamy Safari – this time from Goldspot, since their PSA alerted me to the counterfeit issue in the first place – my experience was much better. I chose a limited edition Neon Yellow color with an extra fine nib, and I inked it up with a bottle of Levenger’s Raven Black ink. And though the ink was more gray than I expected and the extra-fine a little too fine for my taste, I’m a lot happier.

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I still have some issues with fountain pens, but they mostly come from still being a newbie. I press down a little too hard on the paper, and I fumble to get the nib turned the correct way. But, hopefully, this will all improve with time.

Review: Pilot V Razor Point, Porous Point, Extra Fine

Pilot V Razor Point Extra Fine

The Pilot V Razor Point, if nothing else, solidifies my fondness for porous point pens. It has a rich, dark ink, it’s smooth, and it’s comfortable to write with, despite having no real grip section to speak of. It does smear and bleed a little on standard papers, but not enough to cause problems when writing – though it might not be ideal for doodling.

The design of the V Razor Point is fairly basic. It has a silvery-blue color, black trim, and very straight-forward branding on the barrel, along with the letters “EF” (to indicate “extra fine”) on the end of the cap. For a fully disposable pen, it does a decent job of looking professional.

Pilot V Razor Point EF tip

While I really do like the Pilot V Razor Point, it doesn’t quite deliver the same sharp lines as the Sharpie Pen, another porous point pen. But if it comes down to which is cheaper or more easily available, the V Razor Point is a good contender. It provides a good writing experience, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

Pilot V Razor Point Extra Fine ReviewExtra Links

Review: Paper Mate Liquid Flair, XFine, Stick Pen

Papermate_Liquid_FlairXFine-1I’ve been using the XFine Paper Mate Liquid Flair needle-point pen with my journal for about a week, and it’s probably a bad sign that I’m so excited to finally move on to something else.

That’s not to say the Xfine Liquid Flair is an all around bad pen. It’s comfortable enough to hold, and though it doesn’t look particularly fancy, it has a fun design. I especially like the spring-loaded cap, which presses firmly against the tip of the pen to keep it from drying out. It also has a deep black ink, which would probably be great for artists who are looking for a cheap, disposable pen for basic ink work.

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My problem with the XFine Liquid Flair is that it is a terrible writing pen. It smudges so much that if I close my journal too fast, little splotches of ink get smeared onto the opposite page. The ink even bleeds through standard notepads, making it useless for most note-takers. But worst of all, it makes my writing feel messy – it’s already bad enough, it doesn’t need anything making it worse.

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