Review: Lamy Safari

Manufacturer: Lamy | List Price: $35.99 | Buy from Amazon

Lamy SafarisYou’ll notice that we haven’t done any fountain pen-related posts recently. But that’s not to say we haven’t been using our fountain pens like crazy. Last Tuesday, however, I dropped my Lamy Safari somewhere at school and haven’t been able to find it again. So, I thought now would be a good time to write a post in review of the experience I’ve had with one of the most popular modern fountain pens.

I got interested in fountain pens after using a cheap calligraphy set I got through the Scholastic book order at my elementary school. Later on, I expressed interest in getting a Lamy Safari, which I’d seen on the internet, and after I won the school spelling bee in Grade 8, my dad got me a Charcoal one with a M nib. In the three and a half years since then, I’ve used my pen nearly every day, and it has gone with me to places such as Seattle and Singapore. I even brought it once tenting! Although I haven’t had the chance to try many other fountain pens, I think I have used the Lamy Safari enough to be able to give it a fair review, which shall be a benchmark for any future pen reviews we do here. I should clarify that although I have lost my Safari, there are still two others in our house, one belonging to Coconut, the other to our mum, so Kantaloupe’s future ink reviews may still be done with one.

Appearance:
This comes down to personal preference. The Lamy Safari doesn’t look very much like more typical fountain pens, forgoing a traditional design for a modern utilitarian one. The plastic is sleek and stylish, and the unique clip sets it apart from almost any other fountain pen on the market. (4/5)

Quality:
The Lamy Safari is legendary for its durability. The plastic is difficult to even scratch accidentally, let alone crack. The nib is also very sturdy. I have dropped it on its point two or three times, and though the tines were banged a little out of alignment, it was nothing a little adjustment couldn’t completely rectify. I have heard, however, that some pens come out of the box unusable and require a bit of tweaking to make work, and my sister’s worked well for a while but for some reason doesn’t seem to flow properly anymore. (4.5/5)

Writability:
The Safari is a reliable writer for its price, generally speaking. My M nib always flowed well enough to keep up with my scrawl, and the pen is light enough (roughly 18 grammes posted) to write with for long sessions, be it for a school essay or for that novel you’re writing. The weight also makes it quite comfortable to post the cap, though I never preferred to. A downside for some may be the triangular grip. I write with my thumb and front two fingers, but for those who don’t, the grip may take some getting used to. Also, where the grip meets the nib are two little bumps jutting out, which is uncomfortable for people who like to hold their pens closer to the page, like me. While I haven’t seen flow issues with my M nib, my classmate and my sister, who both use F nibs (at least I think), have experienced slow starting and skipping. (3.5/5)

Value:
Perhaps three or four years ago, the Lamy Safari would have been one of the best deals on the market. It has a list price of $37 though many places online sell for only around $30. Adding $5 for the highly functional Z24 converter gets you a great pen, usable with any bottled ink, for $35 to just over $40. Added to that is the capability to swap among seven different grinds of Lamy nibs, each of which run for $10 to $15. In recent years, however, other pen manufacturers have entered the starter fountain pen market, such as the Pilot’s $15 Metropolitan and the Jinhao X750 which costs a mere $10. This relegates the Lamy Safari, which once gave excellent value, to simply being a good deal. (4.5/5)

Verdict: 16.5/20:
The Lamy Safari is a great, easy-to-use pen for newcomers and veterans alike. The sleek industrial design give it a unique look while the tough plastic make it durable enough to bring around, as well as a suitable canditate for a child or high-school student. Though newer products in market have beaten the Safari’s once-fabled low price, the Safari has been a staple of entry-level fountain pens for over thirty years, and it has lasted for a reason.

List Price: $35.99 | Buy from Amazon

Have you owned or used a Lamy Safari? What do you think of it? Tell us in the comments!

Also, make sure you check out our other fountain pen-related reviews!

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