Category Archives: Reviews

The Baoer 388

Basic Overview

Nib – Fine Steel

Body – Metal

Cap – Metal

Ink Source – Cartridge or converter (provided)

Length – Capped =13.6cm – Uncapped = 12.4cm – Posted = 15.4cm

Diameter – 11mm at widest point

Price – £4.27 ($6.93)


The 388 is undoubtedly one of the best fountain pens you can buy for lest than £5. Produced by Baoer, one of China’s three biggest fountain pen makers it is sold globally and has received universal acclaim from many users. The 388 is a very obvious copy of the well known and well loved Parker Sonnet.

The first thing you notice when you handle it is the weight, coming it at just over 33g it weighs about the same as the Lamy Studio. This provides a well balanced pen that does not feel dissimilar to much more expensive pens.

Aesthetically speaking the 388 is hard not to like. The gold and silver, while not to my taste, gives a very understated classic look and the well copied Parker arrow clip is well sprung and completes the classy look. The thick gold band at the bottom of the cap reads ‘Baoer’ and ‘388’ and the top it set with a gold top and black gloss plastic insert, these set the cap off well without being at all flashy. Removing the cap takes quite a tug, like many Chinese pens it is well secured and when replacing gives a lovely reassuring click, I would have no fear of the cap become dislodged in my pocket.

Once removed you are presented with the section and nib. Again continuing the theme, the nib is a two-tone gold and silver steel nib. It is a fine and writes plenty well for the price bracket but does not quite compare to more expensive nibs as it is rather stiff and can be dry at times. Despite this is it is a very competent nib. The section is a hard gloss plastic that provides enough grip but is not massively comfortable. The barrel is brushed silver and matches the cap. Once the section is unscrewed the metal threads become apparent, this feature is normally reserved for much more expensive pens. The 388 can be filled by international standard cartridges or by the converter that is provided.




Conclusion

Looks – 9/10 – While I have never been a fan of silver and gold, the 388 pulls it off well. I dislike the thick gold band and noticeable step between body and cap.

Build Quality – 10/10 – One of the best built pens I have ever encountered, easily equals Lamy build quality. I have full confidence that this pen will out live me and still keep on writing.

Price – 9/10 – Just under a fiver is a great price for a pen and when you consider the quality it really is great value for money.

Performance – 8/10 – The nib is too dry and stiff for me, luckily the pen uses the common #5 nib so to replace it would not be an issue

Overall – 9/10 – Unrivalled when it comes to quality, the 388 is a definite recommendation to all pen enthusiasts, new or old.


Writing Sample


Cheers for reading guys, a package of six pens from China should turn up soon so I’ll try to do one a week.

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The Wing Sung 233

 

Basic Overview

Nib – Fine Steel

Body – Plastic

Cap – Metal

Ink Source – Built in squeeze-converter

Length – Capped =14.2cm – Uncapped = 12.4cm – Posted = 15.8cm

Diameter – 10mm at widest point

Price – £4.77 ($8.00)


The Wing Sung 233 is a very retro pen. Although not really a direct copy of any well-know brand pen, it is very reminiscent of the 50/60s Sheaffers, especially with it’s very gaudy tubular nib. I ordered then pen from aliexpress at the very end of July and it arrived a week later. The packaging was very protective;  sandwiched in a cut-out between two pieces of foam, the amount of packing tape made it a challenge to open but I got there eventually. The description states the pen was made between ’91 and ’93. It comes in cream, black, green and maroon, I got maroon.

To review this pen I’ll start from the top down. The cap is a polished piece of steel with decorative lines stamped into it, along with “WING SUNG” on one side and some Chinese characters along with “233”, on the other. It is a very solid cap, and just like all Chinese pens I have encountered, a very well secured cap. It takes quite a tug to remove it which I enjoy in a pen. The clip is a basic piece stamped metal which is slightly off centre but apart from that slight niggle it is pretty secure and has ample spring to hold it into your pockets. The cap also posts well but this isn’t very necessary as the pen has ample length for most users to use unposted.

Once you pull the cap of you are presented with the main feature of this pen; the nib. This nib is quite a statement. It wraps around the whole section and is about two centimetres long, with “MADE IN CHINA” and some more Chinese characters stamped on it. Despite the size and length, the gold-coloured steel nib has little flex and is very stiff. There isn’t a choice of nib size and comes in a very nice fine that is suited perfectly for everyday writing. The nib was buttery smooth straight out the b̶o̶x̶ foam and I have not adjusted anything on the pen. It lays down a wet thin line and the feed has no problem keeping up with fast paced writing. It does not hard-start after being left uncapped for a couple of minutes not skip at all. My only issue is that I find the nib a bit too stiff for my liking but this is not a real deal-breaker. For a five pound pen the nib has been very satisfying and quite an interesting experience to write with.

Between the grip and barrel their is a rather odd looking ink window, despite its orange colouring it is still usable and does help you see how much ink is left in your pen. I imagine its main reason was aesthetics and it does a good job in adding a bit of flair to what might have been an otherwise dull pen.  Below this window is the barrel, it is a simple plastic one which tapers to the end, it has quite a nice feeling to it and has quite a nice weight to it which helps balance the pen.

Filling the pen is simple, unscrew the barrel and you are presented with an old fashioned converter. All you have to do is stick the nib into your favourite ink and give it a few squeezes. The converter works very well and I have had not problems with spills or leaks.


 Conclusion

Looks – 8/10 – For me, it is a great looking pen. I love the in-your-face nib and quirky ink window

Build Quality – 8/10 –  A very solid feeling pen, I have no issues with build quality apart from the slightly misaligned clip. One thing that did impress me was how well the cap and barrel line up. Once clipped together you can’t feel the join line.

Price – 9/10 – For less than a Lamy nib you can get a fully fledged pen that just needs ink to get writing. I think this pen presents unreal value for money.

Performance – 8/10 – The nib is smooth, stiff and has slight feedback. No real problems but it is just a tad to stiff for my liking

Overall – 8/10 – Awesome pen, great starter and also a great pen for anyone interested in fountain pens, this one provides a lot of fun for not much money.


Writing Sample

Thanks for reading!


 

Next review – Baoer 388