The CaliArts Ego is a plastic demonstrator pen that retails for about $10. This makes it incredible deal in the fountain pen world, about mid-range for a Chinese-brand fountain pen. The Ego has a steel nib, clear body, and styling that Closely resembles that of the similarly Twsbi Eco. The Eco looks very close to the Ego on paper, but costs about three times as much.
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The heart of the Ego is a built-in piston mechanism. This is a feature often found in much more expensive pens — it’s even surprising to see it in the Twsbi Eco, so seeing it an sub-$3 pen is incredible. The piston is moved up and down by turning the knob on the bottom of the pen. This clear nob looks extremely similar to that found in the Twsbi Eco and Diamond 580 fountain pens.
The Ego is shipped in a metal tin that protects the pen while in transit. Inside the tin is a surprisingly useful set of equipment: a wrench for removing the piston during deep cleans, two spare o-rings for the piston, a spare feed in black, and a spare nib in whatever size you didn’t order the pen in (the Fine nib Ego included and Extra Fine nib).
The Ego’s cap does not post on the back of the pen and it does not have a blind cap to keep the nib wet during periods of inaction. These two features coupled with a odd looking clip are major points of criticism for the pen, but the biggest problem with it is the nib.
The CaliArts Ego’s nib often — including on the video review — is tuned too tight so the pen barely puts any ink on the paper. This means the user needs to do some adjustment to get the pen to write more smoothly and to even get close to feeling sufficiently “wet.” This can be done by applying slight pressure to the nib while pushing forward with it, in order to spread the two tines out the slightest bit and give a tiny fraction of space between the nib and feed. This is inherently a risky action and may damage the nib or put it out of alignment! Unfortunately without doing this most Ego nibs will not be worth using. This will help with writing, but then the nib will be prone to splattering, including within the cap when the pen is moved around.
CaliArts Ego Fountain Pen Information
|Street Price||Check Price|
|Pen Type||Fountain Pen | Piston (built-in)|
|Body Diameter||12.9 mm|
|Grip Diameter||10.0 mm|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Length Capped / Retracted (cm)||13.7 cm|
|Nib Sizes||Extra Fine, Fine|