Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jinhao X750 Fountain Pen Review



Here are some timestamps for the Jinhao X750 video to help you jump right to what you want to know:
  • Overview (2:09)
  • Details (5:06)
  • Posting the pen (9:45)
  • Comparisons to other pens (10:49)
  • Filling it up (13:27)
  • Writing with it (15:02)





I've heard about the Chinese fountain pen brand Jinhao for several years now on places like the Fountain Pen Network, but never personally took much interest in them for one reason or another. It's always had pretty decent reviews, and given the prices of most of their models, they've been touted as a great 'value' pen. A couple of months ago it finally clicked in my head that this is a brand that would be a nice addition to the lineup I already have on GouletPens.com.

Here in the US, we face a reality that a lot of things we buy are made in China, whether advertised as such or not. There's sometimes a stigma that goes with that, especially regarding (low) price and (low) quality. However, Jinhao is a little different in that this is an actual Chinese brand of pen, not just a pen that's made in China and repackaged by another company from another part of the world. There isn't an extensive distribution network or elaborate packaging and branding, so when you shop for a Jinhao pen you're always buying very close to the source, which keeps prices down. Their pens have always been available and very reasonable prices through individual retailers on places like ebay and other such sites, but few retailers like my company have picked up the brand, for whatever reason. I saw this as a huge opportunity to be able to offer a brand that is a solid performer, has really neat colors and designs, is incredibly affordable, and isn't available at many other places.



There are several models of Jinhao pens available, but the one I'm going to focus on today is the Jinhao X750.

Jinhao X750: The Upside
  • Value- at under $10 the pen is incredibly affordable for the solid performance you get. It even comes with a converter! You'd easily expect to pay 5 times the price for a pen like this.
  • Heft- this pen is solid and heavy at 36g. You may like that, you may not, but this definitely feels like a pen that can be handled in 'real life'.
  • Smooth writer- this really surprised me. I was expecting a pen this cheap to write…cheap. But it's smooth, and though there's some starting and skipping issues here and there, it exceeded my expectations.
  • Design- it's attractive! There are a ton of color options, which we had to limit in our offerings just because we have some insanely high minimum purchase quantities. We were backordered on 2 of the 3 colors we sought to bring in at the release, so we only have the matte black version at the writing of this post. Still though, the pen looks way, way nicer than you'd expect.
  • Versatility- it comes with a medium nib, which performs admirably. The best part though, is that it's a #6 size, which is the same size as the Goulet nibs we offer. You can swab out the Jinhao medium for a German-made Jowo brand Goulet extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1mm stub or 1.5mm stub, and still have a phenomenal pen for under $25. There are other pen brands that also have #6 size nibs, like Monteverde, Edison, TWSBI, Noodler's, and others that you could potentially put into your Jinhao as well. 
  • Line variation- they don't advertise the nibs as flexible and I wouldn't (and don't officially) call them flex nibs, but if you want to, by golly you can get some half-decent line variation with these nibs. 
  • Comfort- If you don't mind the weight, the pen is very well-balanced, the grip is cozy, and the finish of the pen is ever so slightly textured so that you keep a solid grip even when you write for a long period, something not all solid-metal pens can provide. 

The Downside
  • No box- I can't really complain too much about this one, because frankly we could sell it with a box if we wanted to…there just isn't one provided by the manufacturer. Since the main appeal of this pen is value, adding in a box and driving up the price to cover it just didn't seem practical to us. It's not at all uncommon for less expensive pens like the Platinum Preppy, Pilot Plumix, and Pilot Varsity to sell without a box. Some retailers carrying the X750 choose to sell it with a box, it's up to each retailer if they choose to do so. 
  • Nib can skip- I did experience some hard starts and random skips where the ink just didn't flow right away. I don't think it's a feed issue because there's plenty of ink coming out, and the nib itself is really smooth and writes well when the ink is coming. I don't know if this is a widespread issue or just something happening with the pen I'm using, but either way I wanted to disclose it. All in all, the nib does write really well, and since it's so easy to replace with another higher-quality nib, I can't knock the pen that bad for the few issues I had. 
  • Converter isn't the best- hey, it's a sub-$10 pen, with a converter for crying out loud. Other pen brands' converter cost as much or more than these whole pens do…so yeah, the converter that comes with the pen isn't awesome, but it's functional. If you want to replace it, you can get a better standard international converter and it'll improve the ink capacity and durability of the converter. 

Jinhao X750 nib, stainless steel in medium

Jinhao X750 takes standard international cartridges and converter (included)


Despite having a pretty extensive pen collection now and access to many different high-end pens, I still have a special place in my heart for value pens. I always appreciate a pen that's higher quality than I feel the price warrants, and the Jinhao X750 absolutely fits that bill. I was excited to be able to offer this pen at GouletPens.com for $9.90, and I'm eager to see this pen become one of the go-to pens for beginner fountain pen users (and veterans, alike!).

Do you have any experience with the Jinhao X750 that you'd like to share?

Write On,
Brian Goulet

26 comments:

  1. Very cool. I may be getting one for Christmas. If I like it well enough, I may be putting more $$ into Goulet nibs. I wonder if the starting issue are related to an incomplete seal when capped?

    On the pen's details page, it might be nice to note that the pen is International converter compatible in addition to coming with a non-standard converter.

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  2. You mentioned that the X750 and the Ahab share a nib size, and that you can share the Goulet nibs between them, but you never mentioned if you can put the Ahab flex nib in this pen. I wouldn't be surprised if you could, but it was just never mentioned explicitly.

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  3. I've found that with these kind of pens, pulling the nob and feed and giving them a scrub with a soapy toothbrush helps ink flow tremendously. It also pays to check the nib slit and make sure its clean and free of obstructions.

    You really can't go wrong for the money with these pens! Brian, check out Kaigelu as well. The 316 and 356 are neat!

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  4. I can't wait to see the other colors for the 750 that come in, and I ditto Lee in suggesting y'all try the Kaigelu, too. I've heard good things about that one. :)


    Also, I was playing with my 450 today and seeing how far the nib would flex (I noticed it did a little flexing on accident the other day) and sprang the tines! It didn't take much at all to do it, though I was able to smoosh them back together...and then realign them with my thumb. I'd be very careful with forcing these nibs to flex, since they're probably not meant to and being inexpensive means they might bend and break too easily. I've never sprung a nib when testing its flexing capabilities before!

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  5. Thanks Brian! Question: Can I expect the same quality and performance from the X450?

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  6. Yeah I don't know. I didn't have the best of luck with mine http://peninkcillin.blogspot.com/2012/01/jinhao-x750-fountain-pen-review.html
    But for the price it might be worth the gamble, not to mention that a more experienced person might be able to tweak the nib/feed to their liking.

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  7. Same question Brian? Will my Konrad nibs fit this pen please?

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  8. Is it my impression or the nib has "18k GP" written in it, even though it isn't an 18k gold nib but a stainless steel one?

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  9. At that price, I might as well give it a whirl.


    Also, how do you think the 450 compares with the 750 in terms of quality, particularly how well it writes?

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  10. I don't think my starting had anything to do with the cap, because it wasn't something that happened after the pen had been sitting a while. In fact, there wasn't much consistency to it at all, it wasn't even happening frequently, but more sporadically here and there.


    Nice point about the description, I'll think about how I could make that a little more clear.

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  11. The reason I didn't mention putting a Noodler's flex nib (Ahab or Konrad, they're the same nib in both pens) is because while yes, technically they are #6 size and will fit, I don't think the nibs will work very optimally in these pens. Flex nibs require a feed that puts out a LOT of ink, and you're likely to have a lot of railroading going on if you put a flex nib in a conventional pen. It's not an issue the other way around, you can put conventional nibs in flex nib pens like the Ahab and Konrad and they'll work.

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  12. That's an excellent point, Lee! Perhaps this would even had solved my issue, I didn't even think to clean my pen first. Cleaning a new pen is always a good idea, but like most excited enthusiasts, I sometimes get too eager and skip that step before inking my pen for the first time :)


    Yeah, I'll have to look into Kaigelu, thanks for the nudge.

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  13. Yikes! Yeah, I haven't sprang mine yet, but then I really am not flexing it much except in the video to show what it can do. There's definitely that risk though! I'd be less scared to do that with this pen than most others though, because it's cheap and nibs that fit it are readily available.

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  14. Yes, and I'll have a video on that soon. The nib/feed is exactly the same on these two pens.

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  15. It is a stainless steel nib, I have no idea why the inscription says what it does!

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  16. Thanks Brian. Hint. Is this where Brian steps towards Nathan, and shows us how to widen the feed channel to make it work....

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  17. They're very comparable, and I'll be showing them in a future video. The nib and feed is identical on both, so the writing experience will be the same in that respect. The X450 is heavier and the grip is different, those are the main things that separate it from the X750 aside from aesthetics.

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  18. Yeah, that's the kind of pen this is! The X450 and X750 aren't vastly different, had this video not already been 20 minutes long I could have elaborated, maybe I'll do so when I shoot a X450 vid, or do a separate one altogether comparing the two. As far as writing goes, they're nearly identical because the nib/feed setup is the same on the two pens. The grip is a little different and the X450 is heavier, those are the two main differences besides aesthetics.

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  19. Nice review, really thorough. I know how much time that takes to do! Props to you there, for sure. Looking at your pen, the nib is different than the one I have here. The stamping has changed, so I wonder if perhaps the nib itself was changed from when you reviewed it almost two years ago. Of the pens I've tried, I haven't had any major flow issues with the nib other than some spotty starting/skipping on maybe every 20-30 words I write. It's not perfect, but then I really didn't expect it to be for this price. I was thinking this thing would be like writing with a nail on sandpaper, but it actually impressed me quite a bit.

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  20. GP stands for Gold-Plated. So it's a steel nib plated with 18k gold (I guess white gold or rhodium or something in this case!).

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  21. Kenneth HershbergerDecember 4, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    I share your like for Jinhao pens -- I have 11 of them: 4 - X450s, 1 - X750, several with fancy filigreed bodies, but my favorite Jinhao ismy 159 "Dreadnaught." That one is an homage to the Montblanc 149 -- about the same size but only cost me $14.00 on eBay. Your European YouTube compadre, Dr. Brown, has done a number of videos on various models of Jinhao pen.

    I second Lee Munro's suggestion about the Kaigelu pens.

    I have read many negative comments about the quality of Chinese-made pens, but that hasn't been my experience. The only complaint I have is with the plastic insert in the cap that holds it in place on the pen. It is rather delicate and can be easily broken if one is too enthusiastic when capping it.

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  22. Just wait until you see the silver one. That is a nice looking pen. Blows the other colors away.

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  23. Fountain Pen Shootout #50: Jinhao x450 vs. x750
    by Steven Brown

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybtkA-S8YTw


    NB - If your Jinhao is having trouble with flow (e.g. hard starting), dump the crappy converter and syringe-fill a decent cartridge (or just try a new cartridge). I have found the converters to be inkophilic.


    Also, I have found with some of the Jinhao and Baoer that the nibs rust easily.

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  24. My Jinhao x750 was very frustrating with the skipping and starting problems. Then I opened up the converter and put in a little metal ball from an old cartridge. Now it works great.

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  25. I would not recommend posting Jinhao pens because that can contribute to the breaking of the white plastic interior of the cap. The cap then feels loose when closed.

    Stephen Brown has a video on fixing the broken cap of a X450 which works great.
    Overall I really enjoy my Jiinhaos; I have a few and they all have written well.
    I would recommend looking into the "Century", I think it is called. It is similiar to a Parker Duofold. I adore my blue one. Praying for your mom, Brian and my friend Carol who is getting radiation for the same cancer.

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  26. For curiosity's sake, I tried to switch the Jinhao x750 nib for both the flex and non-flex Noodler's nibs. No dice. The Noodler's nibs curve slightly more and do not fit the curvature of the slot in the Jinhao. The nib and feed will jam as soon as you try to put them in the pen. I don't particularly mind, because my Jinhao nib writes rather well. If anything, I might grab a Goulet nib for an upgrade.

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