Review: The TWSBI Eco T

So my journey into fountain pens was not exactly how most people start. I started out with vintage, unusual, I know. So this has meant that as my collection is missing most of the tradition starter pens, no Safaris, Metros or TWSBIs. That was until about three weeks ago when semi on a whim I decided to order an eco, more specifically an Eco T because only the Eco T was available with the broad nib I wanted. I bought mine from Pure Pens for £27.99, which is about the going rate for an Eco in the UK. I wasn’t initially sure how I’d find the Eco, after all it’s very much a starter pen, and I’ve been in the hobby for quite some time now, would I have been spoiled by better pens? Well, read on…

So the looks of the Eco, I actually like them more than I thought I would, I really like the shade of blue and the demonstrator barrel seems wonderfully clear. Now to be fair, I don’t own very many demonstrators, so maybe I’m just a bit starstruck, but I like the colours/clearness of my Eco. This being the T model the cap and filling knob are triangular, which I don’t mind, I think it looks good on the filling knob, but I’m less sure about the cap. That being said if this bothers you just buy the regular version rather than the T. The shade of blue is something I have also found myself warming to much more than I initially expected. Obviously the Eco T is a budget pen, and whilst I don’t think it shows too much in the looks it perhaps also isn’t the pen to take into a high stakes boardroom negation. This isn’t really anything against the Eco at all, it’s more just noting that it’s aesthetic tends more towards fun than professional.

This leads me on to design. The Eco T fills via a piston filler, at this price point that’s pretty good. A lot of people really seem to swoon over how TWSBI manage to do piston fillers at such low prices, I have to admit I’m not one of them, it’s nice, but there are other manufacturers who also produce cheap piston fillers. That being said the piston filler on the TWISBI eco works well and let’s you get a good fill of ink, it’s hardly on-par with Pelikan, but then it’s about 1/10th the price. There’s an o-ring at the end of the cap threads, which makes for a nice positive capping experience, and the cap comes off in just under one full turn. The Eco T differs from the regular Eco in that the section is ‘triangular’ to encourage a traditional tripod grip. In practice the section really isn’t very shaped, it has two gentle flat spots to suggest where you might put your fingers, akin to the kind of thing you might find on a Parker 75, it’s nowhere near as definite as the Lamy Safari grip. Personally I quite like how it makes me hold the pen, but then I have quite a conventional grip. As with many things on the Eco T, if you don’t like them, consider buying just the regular Eco.

So, writing, I have to admit this is probably the area where the Eco T surprised me the most. I wasn’t really expecting anything exceptional writing wise from the Eco T, after all it just has a pretty standard steel No 5 (or possibly 5.5) nib from I think JoWo. I was expecting the experience to be… bland might be a bit harsh, but I wasn’t expecting anything exciting. Happily I can report that my expectations were completely incorrect, the pen writes really nicely, the broad nib has perfectly balanced flow, not too wet, but still nice and wet and in that smoothness Goldilocks zone where it’s not so smooth it gets away from you, but where it is still nice and smooth. It is a rigid nib, but sometimes that’s what you want, so I won’t exactly hold it against him. I have considerably more expensive nibs that don’t write this nicely, so it’s safe to say I was pleasantly surprised.

So all in all, my first ever TWSBI experience was very much a good one. Despite generally being used to more expensive pens the Eco T well and truly proved that starter pens can still be good fun and highly usable pens even when you’ve been in the hobby a while. Am I about to replace all my pens with TWSBIs? No. But I think this one is definitely staying in the collection.

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