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Lamy Tipo Rollerball

The Lamy Tipo is a pen that I saw over at Jet Pens while I was really looking for a new pen case. It felt silly to only order one thing, so I got the pen case (that I'll show off later on) and a few non-fountain pens to play with. This is the first of that haul.

This pen is  lightweight, stylish, and functional.

Orange is one of my favorite colors, and this pen is an orange that is a little bit brighter than the University of Texas' orange, but not as bright as BGSU or as yellow as the University of Tennessee orange. It's a good middle ground for someone who likes orange, but doesn't want a pen that is day-glo.

The grip section is ribbed, and it's pretty serviceable. It's a little slick, but with the ribbing I can hold on to it just fine. If they smoothed that out it would be a disaster. I would prefer a bit more tackiness to it though. I like for my grip to be secure on a pen, and this only just fits the bill.

Ink flow is smooth and a bit wet from the Lamy M66 cartridge. The black looks black, and it feathers a little on the recycled paper of the notebook that I was using, but I haven't noticed any feathering on other papers. I like the way it writes even if it isn't a fountain pen.

The case that the pen came in is pretty darn cool. Almost cool enough to sell the pen on its own. It opens like a clam-shell, and it works like a pen stand when it's open. Totally rad. If my desk weren't so cluttered I would definitely use it that way.

How cool is that?

There are a couple of problems with this pen, though.

First, the clip mechanism isn't great. You push down on the black clip (which is a much softer plastic than the rest of the pen) and it clicks into a hole on the barrel to keep the tip extended. To retract the pen you need to push laterally at the top of the clip. Pushing down doesn't really do the trick since it doesn't push the nubbin on the clip out of its hole. The purported advantage of the clip is that you can't clip it to a pocket while the pen-tip is exposed. I suppose that's true, but by the time that the clip doesn't clip onto your pocket you have already drawn an nice black line in your pocket. Not a big advantage, if you ask me. The other problem with this system is that the clip doesn't always engage, and you end up clicking it a couple of times to make it stick in the hole. The trick is that you don't really want to push the clip straight down. If you do, then you'll keep the clip from naturally tilting into the hole, and it won't engage. If you hold it in your hand with the clip parallel to your palm  and away from your thumb, then you'll push the clip the right way and you won't have a problem. If you're like me, and you try to click it with the clip next to your thumb it won't engage. Not a fatal flaw, but it's periodically annoying.

I think they could have fixed this by using a stiffer material for the clip. If this soft-ish plastic ever gives way, then your pen is scrap. I'd prefer metal.

The other major problem is with the advertising and not the pen. The barrel of the Tipo is advertised on Jet Pens as being "anodized aluminum," but I think that must be code for "plastic." I'm pretty disappointed by that, and I'm going to be sending Jet Pens a note about it. I might not even have noticed if I hadn't been writing this review. The plastic barrel is sturdy, smooth, and light, but it isn't aluminum. On the Lamy site it lists the orange model of this pen as being made of plastic, though there are some aluminium models available. I think that Jet Pens must have just selected a description from the Lamy site at random and applied it to all of their Tipo pens. This doesn't work in this case.

** I contacted JetPens, and they immediately responded. They've fixed the description of the pen on their site. **

So, the verdict?

I like the Tipo. It's not the best pen that I have, but it has a design that is interesting, and it performs well even though it could be better. It's not bad for $10, but I don't think I'd buy a second one.

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