Review: Jinhao 888 Dragon


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Today’s pen for review is the Jinhao 888 Dragon, which I got the chance to try out a few weeks ago thanks to Everything Calligraphy. These are less detailed than the Jinhao 999 Dragon pen, but it’s still pretty detailed. It is a lot less chunky than the larger 999 pen.

It’s still pretty much an eye-catching, attention grabbing pen because it looks decidedly oriental and like something a kung fu master would sign a check with. The dragon clip is pretty hard to miss.

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I like the color options for this pen, but these two are my favorites–black and pewter. The cap is pretty heavy. Again, I would advise against using it posted because it makes the pen top-heavy. The pen’s barrel is pretty thick, and it has some heft to it. Not an uncomfortable weight, in my opinion. Here’s a closer look at the cap.

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I think the finial’s cute. It reminds me of little gongs. The clip is stiff, I would advise against using it often because the cap might crack. I think it’s more decorative than functional.

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The section is made of hard plastic with a matte finish. It’s pretty comfortable to hold. Here are a few close up shots of the dragon details.

The nib is the standard Jinhao steel nib. It’s good enough for daily use, but of course, expect it to be hard as a nail and might need some tuning to write smoother/wetter. The one I tried wrote sufficiently wet, though with a little hint of tooth. Here’s a writing sample:

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This is how a typical medium Jinhao nib writes. It’s a bit on the wide side and quite a wet writer. It’s a pretty nice, fantasy-inspired pen that won’t break the bank.

Jinhao 888 Dragon is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Jinhao 155


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Here’s another Jinhao pen review thanks to the people at Everything Calligraphy who let me try them out. It’s the Jinhao 155. These are very simple-looking pens, and it appeals to people who can’t really bring cobra pens to work. These are nice, budget-friendly, conservative-looking pens.

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I like the design of the clip. It’s boxy and straight, very industrial-looking. the section is smooth with a matte finish and made of hard plastic. It’s a nice contrast to the textured body of the chrome-finished pen. The metal parts of the pen give this some heft,  but it’s not an uncomfortable pen to use for long writing. It feels solid, but not overly heavy.

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I like the black one best, but the chrome and gold colored pens are also quite pretty in person. They remind me of vintage pens that have this barley corn finish on them. They’re different if you look closer, though. If I would change anything on it, I’d rather the barley corn-like finish be all over the barrel instead of alternating with a smooth finish. Here’s a couple of close up photos of the barrel.

The nib writes okay, virtually the same as the other steel Jinhao nibs. Here’s a writing sample below.

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It’s a pretty simple, understated pen that is great for everyday writing. The Jinhao 155 is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Jinhao 500


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This is still part of the pens that Everything Calligraphy was so gracious to let me try a few weeks ago. It’s the Jinhao 500. It looks similar to a certain German brand of pen, doesn’t it? Anyway, this pen comes in a lot of designs.

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The size is slightly larger than a Pelikan M200, but the difference in weight is significant. For it’s size, it’s a weighty pen. The body is made of steel and resin. I like the material of the section, it’s like textured rubber. I wish they would use this section more in their future designs. It makes writing more comfortable and helps you grip the pen more securely while you write.

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The clip is a little stiff, but I like that the design is simple. My two favorite designs are above, the black and checkered pens.

It writes okay, like a standard Jinhao pen would write. The pen I tried wrote a bit broad and wet. The nib could use a bit of tuning to make it smoother.

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As far as budget pens go, this is also pretty nice. The design isn’t too juvenile-looking, so you can pick this if you want to use something that looks a bit conservative for work.

The Jinhao 500 and other Jinhao pens are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Jinhao 189


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Another Jinhao pen that I got to try out last week is the Jinhao 189. I must say that these recent Jinhao pens that I tried look pretty. I like the bodies that look like brass or pewter, and all the details that are in it. This reminds me of the Great Wall of China because of the trims on the barrel.

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The pen is medium-sized and with a domed finial. The end of the barrel is smooth and squarish. It’s moderately heavy, not uncomfortable to hold at all. Though again, I would not use this posted. Come to think of it, all the Jinhao pens I tried last week were better used unposted. Not a problem for me, though, because I usually write with the cap unposted. I write with my right hand and hold the cap in my left.

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The section is a little shorter than the last Jinhao pens that I reviewed, and it’s made of textured, hard plastic. Not the most comfortable choice for a section, but it’s not bad. It does give you a better grip on the pen while you write.

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Again, pretty nice color options. I like that the gold one is a more subdued tone of gold. It’s not shiny, shimmery, splendid gold. I paired this with Noodler’s burma road brown and the color matches very well. I think both colors are pretty. Here are a few close ups of the detail of the pens.

I don’t know how to read Chinese, I don’t know what the writing in the barrel says, unfortunately. It might be the numbers 189? I dunno. As far as the design goes, it’s right smack in the middle of being understated and eye-catching. Not as detailed as the last few pens that I posted, but it has its own appeal.

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Here’s a writing sample. The ink really matches the gold barrel, I think. The nib was pretty wet, though it could use a bit of tuning to make it write smoother and more consistently on all strokes. Not bad for its price, though. Not bad at all. 🙂

Jinhao pens are available for sale at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Jinhao 8802


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Here’s another Jinhao pen that our friends from Everything Calligraphy sent for me to try out last week. Wood pens are my kryptonite (along with nice paper, green ink, cats, and cheese). So I really enjoyed trying this pen out. It’s slimmer than the last couple of Jinhao pens that I reviewed these past days. I like the design because it’s low-key and pretty to look at.

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I like wood pens because they just feel so organic. This even has a slightly rough texture to the barrel. I like the slim profile, the simple trims, and the long, comfortable section. Here are a few close ups of the details of this pen.

The 8802 has several designs. The wood pens have two colors, one is lighter than the other. I’m kinda leaning more towards the lighter one. The other has a reddish color to it, it looks more polished too.

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There’s also a carbon fiber and stained glass design. The stained glass has abalone shells, which is why some members of the FPN-P group call it the talaba pen, but it’s a lot smaller than the real talaba pen (Jinhao 650).

 

The details are pretty nice. I like it when Jinhao comes up with pens that have simple trims and a more streamlined look. That’s just my design preference. I like pens that look as simple as possible. Here’s a comparison of the 8802’s stained glass pen with the much larger Jinhao 650.

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The size difference is pretty significant. The 8802 sits nicely in the hand, and the weight is pretty comfortable. I still prefer it uncapped because the cap just throws the balance off, making it top heavy.

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The pen that I got had a pretty decent, wet flow, although the nib could use some smoothing out. As I mentioned before, the thing about Jinhao nibs is that you should be prepared to do a bit of tuning on them sometimes. The quality is a bit varied. I haven’t updated this resource for a while, but here’s a guide on how to improve ink flow on fountain pens. There are also tons of guides on the internet about the topic. With the price of Jinhao pens, though, you get a good bargain if you’re not afraid to tinker with it a bit.

Overall, a pretty nice pen. I like the wood ones a lot, looks and feels very natural. 🙂

Jinhao pens are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Jinhao Snake Pen


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Last week, our friends from Everything Calligraphy sent over several new models of Jinhao and Baoer pens for me to play with, and play with them I did. My impression on the nibs are all quite the same across the pens. I think they’re all the same kind of nib (medium, steel).

Generally, Jinhao nibs are okay, but you have to be ready to do a bit of work on them to make them write the way you want them to. Sometimes you need to flush them with water to remove the manufacturing oils on them, sometimes you need to tune or smooth them out. Sometimes they work perfectly right out of the box.

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The first pen that I will review is the Snake pen. It’s kinda hard not to notice these pens right away because of the very Slytherin vibe. The two snakes wrapped around the cap and the body, and the snake head on the finial make these pen very conspicuous.

Check out the details of the snakes below:

All the embellishment gives the pen substantial weight. In fact, it would be best to write with this pen unposted. The cap will make it very top-heavy. Without the cap, it’s still quite a weighty pen, but it’s not so uncomfortable to write with.

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I like this color best. I think it looks a bit like pewter. I like the details of the pen, although it’s a tad too heavy for my hand. If Jinhao came up with a slimmer version of this pen, I’d be all over it.

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The section of this pen is comfortably long in size, and it is made of smooth, hard plastic. The cap twists off, and as you can see, there are also threads on the end of the barrel.

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This one writes pretty well. The flow is good and the nib is sufficiently smooth, although hard as a nail. It’s not springy, but it’s a consistent enough writer.

Overall, it’s a very intricately-decorated pen. If you like whimsical designs and don’t mind the weight of the pen’s pretty badass-looking snakes, this is a good buy.

Jinhao Pens are for sale at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Jinhao 601, Medium


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I got two pens in the mail today, both Jinhao 601’s. These are my first Chinese-made pens. I must say that the presentation is quite unexpected.

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The polyurethane box is quite presentable and snappy, and I like the white felt interior.. The pens themselves look surprisingly like Parker Sonnets. I guess that’s what they based their designs on? Continue reading