For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.
While the fundamentals of how a fountain pen works are well established and there aren’t much significant changes, the appearance of a pen, and the add-on features can vary drastically. In this review, I’m going to cover the details of a pen that’s an interesting representation of the designs that focus on simplicity. It is the ystudio Portable Brassing.
Fountain Pen: ystudio Portable Brassing
Nib: Stainless steel medium nib
Filling System: International standard cartridge/converter
Production: Regular edition
1. Packaging (10/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen comes with one of the best packagings in my pen collection. The wooden box is protected by a strong cardboard sleeve. Lifting the lip open presents a booklet and a piece of sandpaper. The sandpaper is provided to purposely remove the black coating on the pen to add more character to the pen, if the user prefers and chooses to do so. The pen and the wood pen tube are securely placed underneath. The quality of the packaging materials and the attention to details are outstanding. It’s hard to find another pen within the same price range that offers such a great package. Even many pens in the higher price levels cannot compete.
2. Pen Design (7/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen is designed to work seamlessly with the wood storage tube that’s provided. Therefore, I will go through both the pen and the tube in this part of the review.
First, the pen. The design definitely focuses on simplicity. The pen is fairly long and slim, and the brass body makes it quite heavy for its size. Personally, I’m not very into its slim profile, but I really appreciate the decent weight. Both the cap and barrel are hexagonal, so that the pen won’t easily roll around. The snap cap is easy to use, and being a snap cap, it can freely rotate on the pen, making it easy to align the sides with the barrel. Since the cap and barrel share the same dimension, this pen cannot be posted at all. Also, that means there is no smooth transition from the barrel to the grip section. While the cap and barrel have the same matte black coating, except for on the edges, the grip section simply shows the colour of the brass materials. The bright and golden tone of the brass grip section makes a great contrast with the rest of the pen. The stainless steel nib is gold plated, making sure that the colour scheme is kept consistent. Overall, when uncapped, the shape of the ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen reminds me of a pencil. Personally, I like the clipless, simple, and modern design, but the slim profile and the thin grip section are not my favourite. As mentioned before, a piece of sandpaper is provied, and it can be used to remove the matte black coating on the pen, in order to give it a less pristine look.
Even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of the design aspects of the pen, I can see that the build quality of the pen is nevertheless outstanding. I think the provided pen tube doesn’t live up to the same expectation.
The wooden pen tube has a screw-in cap and a barrel. The top of the cap has a rectangular cut out, which is to let the top of the pen cap to go through. Once the pen cap is inserted, the user can secure the pen cap there by using the provided string. This design lets the pen have enough protection inside the pen tube, and doesn’t move around freely. However, I find the design not really practical. First, the pen doesn’t really sit completely securely inside the tube, and the inside of the tube not only doesn’t have any padding for protection, but also stays unpolished. Secondly, the goal of the design is that when the user wants to use the pen, the tube barrel can be removed, presenting the pen, so then the pen can be pulled out to use. However, this process takes a considerable amount of time to complete, which defeats the purpose of using the snap cap mechanism. Without the tube barrel, the pen body may also have the risk getting loose, especially if the user chooses to use the provided string to tie the pen tube on the outside of a backpack, or some other places that wouldn’t be ideal for protecting the pen. I think the idea of a pen tube is cool, but the implementation is poorly done.
3. Filling System (7/10):
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen uses the international standard cartridge/converter filling system. There isn’t anything special about it. The provided converter works very well, and holds a decent amount of ink. But compared to the nicely finished metal pen body, the plastic converter doesn’t have the same feel of the premium quality. Also, the converter is not threaded. Personally I always prefer to have a threaded international standard converter, for its added safety to hold on to the nib unit.
4. Nib Performance (8/10):
A stainless steel medium nib is equipped on this pen. It writes reliably and has no hard start or skipping issue out of the box. But my biggest complaint is that the writing experience is uninspiring. The ink flow is very conservative. The nib is not very smooth, but it doesn’t provide any pleasant feedback either. It’s just a dry nib that writes like the same on almost any type of paper. For me, that’s not good enough. But if you are specifically looking for a nib that is fairly reliable, and has a drier ink flow, maybe this pen is a good option.
5. Pen Cleaning and Maintenance (8/10):
Being an international cartridge/converter filling fountain pen, the ystudio Portable Brassing is very easy to clean. However, since the matte black finish can be damaged, if anyone wants to keep the finish as pristine as possible, it’s probably a good idea to store the pen carefully in a pen case or a pen pouch.
Pen Design: 7/10
Filling System: 7/10
Nib Performance: 8/10
Pen Cleaning and Maintenance: 8/10
The ystudio Portable Brassing fountain pen carries an interesting design. It has a very modern look, with quality construction and the simple but reliable international cartridge/converter filling system. For its writing performance, it can be a good choice for a daily writer. However, I personally find the writing experience with the nib not very interesting. Considering its price and what it really offers, I think a large portion of the investment goes towards the packaging, the provided pen tube, but not the pen itself. Combined with the slim profile and thick grip section, it’s not the ideal pen for me.
For the list of pens currently for sale, please visit here.