Fountain Pen Review: Sailor HighAce Neo

Beginner pens in each brand are usually my way of exploring whether I really like the brand.  Though they might gear toward beginners, some characteristics and features of the brand should translate in the products of all ranges.

I came across Sailor HighAce Neo during my recent trip to New York City.  In fact, it was the Baker who took notice of the pen, and showed it to me when we returned.  First impression, that looks awfully like my very first fountain pen!  There is not much design, just simple black matte body with silver brushed aluminum cap.  The pen is advertised as a learning pen, good for bookkeeping and everyday use, which leads me to think it is most likely sold at the 100¥ store in Japan.  In a sense, it is a pen that is ideal for everyone.

At a glance, HighAce Neo almost looks like Parker 45

HighAce Neo measures 5.5 inches uncapped, nearly 6 inches when posted with cap, which is pretty standard for anyone’s pocket or pencil case.  The barrel is not too thin or thick (in comparison, Parker 45 is a bit chubby and round, especially around the neck), which makes it comfortable to hold.  The body slightly tapered toward the end.  It is feather weight compare to some of the European fountain pens, though they might be shorter in length. While using it, sometime I forget that I am holding a pen because how light it is.  

As I mention before in my review of Sailor Lecoule, Sailor’s nib writes a lot finer when compare to other Japanese fountain pens I have.  On HighAce Neo, the size engraved on the nib is “F-4”, which translated to Extra Fine.  Some might muse that the combination of extra fine nib and stainless steel material will make this pen arduous to write, but it is just the opposite.  In my view, this particularly combination is good for both beginners and seasoned users for several reasons.  The durability of stainless steel can give writer a sense of control.  Since it is not as pliable as gold, the beginners would not be able to overexert pressure to the nib.  The extra fine nib is also a great introduction to those who are interested in Japanese fine nib, which is finer than European fine, without breaking the bank.  

From the writing sample below, you can see that the line HighAce Neo makes is crisp and fine, which gives more clarity to my otherwise messy handwriting.  While using it, I feel that I have more control on writing, in the respect of shaping how the letters may appear on paper.  This aspect will facilitate learning how to use a fountain pen, as well as improving penmanship.

Paper:  Fabriano EcoQua Dot Grid
HighAce Neo takes Sailor’s ink cartridges, which sized differently than international short and long.  To maximize color selections, you can either fill the empty cartridges with syringe, or purchase a standard Sailor converter.  In my case, I elect to save all the cartridges instead of purchasing a converter because HighAce Neo is meant to be an economical pen.  The ink economy of this pen is pretty high, partly contributed to the finer than fine writing it produces.  
One notable “flaw” that I observe thus far is that probably because of the pin-sharp tip, HighAce Neo has tendency to collect paper fiber as it writes.  At time I realize that my extra fine line all of the sudden becomes an European medium, I will find some fiber attached to the tip.  It could be a result of I exert too much pressure.  Once the unwanted fiber is removed, then the pen works as new.
Other delightful reviews on HighAce Neo:
Want one for yourself?  There are other delectable colors available here.
*DISCLAIMER*  I neither work for or paid by JetPens.  I am merely a happy customer 🙂
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