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 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.
So in this video, I wanted to take a quick look at the CaliArts Ego Demonstrator Fountain Pen. This is a $10 or so Chinese made fountain pen falls under that larger category of Chinese fountain pens. You know, like the Wing Sung and stuff like that of the world. And, uh, it's a pretty solid by, has a good reputation on line, and it's easy to find again takes ah, week or two to get to you. Costs about $10. And it's a pretty good comparison for some of the nicer Wing Sungs, as long as as well as something like the Twsbi Ego, and we'll get into that in a minute. As for the pen itself, it's fully plastic or a polycarbonate. Whatever you call it, it's a demonstrator, so you could see what's going on in here. It has a piston filler, just like the Ego on a bunch of the wing sons and very slim. On other features. Screw top. You can see the clear section with a clear feed, which is nice. I'm using a pilot con peck e ink, which is a blue ink so clear feed looks blue with the blue ink. Uh, here you could see the feed nicely saturated and then the reservoir Fairly large. I haven't measured yet, but, uh, definitely a good size piston filler. See the two seals there piston mechanism And then the turn the top, move the piston up and down. It's almost identical to the twist. The Yugo nib on the small side. It says, Ah, Meridian Point And then CaliArts right there, some very light scrollwork. Then it definitely looks on the cheap side. It's definitely not one of the highlights of the pen. And when you see what sort of costs were cut, the NIB looks to be, at least aesthetically, one of them similar to the Ego. You could see there's, like, kind of a weird saturation here. Looks like the pen is gonna leak. It hasn't leaked it all for me yet, but it does look a little bit messy. Cap is very utilitarian. Ah, there's no sort of blind Capri thing in there. No Finn yield to speak up, so I could definitely see some ink collection at the top. Uh, has this really cheap looking clip? It kind of is what it is, you know it works. It does the job well, but it's just like too high here. And two up turned towards the end, just not very attractive. But it isn't metal cliff, and it does do what's intended. Screw cap works well. There's no touching over here. So any link, any ink that had to get down into this area, I would just be sort of leaking or drop, probably from after I recently filled it. And once it's in there, I would guess it's not really coming out unless you're doing a really thorough clean. This is so you could see the screw work in there, but this really doesn't want to. Come on. I mean, does it can come off and then you can't get inside, though All you could do is move that clip around. Not that you want to, but I guess that's how the clip was installed. Very simple. This does not have a lock mechanism. You just push it down, put it in your ink, pull it up and there's no click or any sort of lock there. I know some of the Wing Sung's do have that his pen does not post it. Just sort of, like sticks on here a little bit, but it definitely doesn't put away and doesn't go down past here. So there's no lock. It just goes on like that and you wouldn't want to put on there anyway, So you're twisted all you're twisting the piston naked, so not a posting. One of the cool things with his pen is after $10 you do get this little carrying case. Not that it's like a to fancy metal case. You get a spare feed in black from case you don't want to use the clear one anymore. Spare nib, which is definitely a bonus. And that is ah, again, another fine nib and so is the extra Find him. So I bought the pendant of Fine, and I guess you got a free extra fine supercool hadn't looked that closely. Then inside here, you get ah, little tool. And this is if you want to take the pen apart, you can take apart the fountain pen mechanism with this. I haven't done that yet, but I'm guessing Just unscrew this and then use the tool to open it up and pulled up, pissed it out of there. And then you also have to little over rings. And I think those are the over ends right here, red or orange here, and it would be clear you swish it again. I haven't done that yet. It's a little It's not a book. Oh, that's just an insert. And it's just a picture of the pen, but in a blue body instead of a clear one inexplicably so that about covers the pen itself. From a comfort standpoint, it has a nice section. It is circular. It's not triangular. So if you've grown really accustomed to the twist, be with them or angled section. This isn't gonna be for you, but it's maybe a little bit on the small side. But does job no complaints? As for the nib and how it writes, this did not come to me in ideal writing condition. It was smooth enough, but the ink was super like the nib was super dry. So would be missing a lot of UPS strokes like that, and that's exacerbated because I'm left handed. But in order to get a good line, had to put a lot of pressure down, which is really not what I'm looking for from a fountain pen. And even now you see with no pressure, there's no ink. It all comes down here, and that's fine. That's not always the best indicator. It is a fine nib, and maybe she's not a very wet five, and with very light pressure, you get a little bit of ink. But it tends to run really dry out of the factory and not want to write unless I'm putting down a fair bit of pressure. Not a lot. Not a huge amount but Maur than you'd want from a typical fountain pen. If you put down a fair bit pressure than just go with a roller ball or something like that, and you could see here bars writing really lightly before it has a fair bit of skipping when you're just kind of scribbling like that, are taking really fast note. Well, I've been doing to combat that is trying to spread out those times a little bit. This is not always the most ideal operation, because you can obviously you could bend the nib and nick it. He broke in or out of alignment or just wetter than you wanted, so you have to be really delicate here. But with some work and some pushing up, you can get it. To be a little wetter at this point is totally acceptable. It's the county art ego. E go no scribbling, but and now it's actually fine, and I don't have any real problem with it. It's not the smoothest 10 definitely not the smoothest pen and, uh, rights. Fine, I would say bordering on good, but I'm not in any way blown away by how this right and this again is in the fine. Not the extra fine. The extra final probably cover in a separate video, and I'll do the change. I'll do the extra find writing in the whole thing. But at this point, it's a little bit on the dry side and requires more pressure than I would like, So I'm gonna have to play around with it. It's probably about a 50% chance that what I do when I'm playing with it makes it worse. But for $10 maybe I'm willing to take that risk rather than have a pen. I just don't like you could see there is, um, collection of garbage up here, and I think that just has to do with the fit in between the section and nib piece and the body. I think it's not leaking it. Just it looks like there's some junk over there. I don't know if that's plastic debris or or what, but kind of comes with the territory when you have a cheaper found, then quick comparison between the Cali art ego and the Ego first. Well, obviously the name. It's ego and ego. It's hard to say these pens aren't related when they had basically the same name, but you could see aesthetically they're very close. Piston fillers Double seal on there, both of demonstrators. And then things like this right here those little time where those recalled his little struts inside their same struts. In here, the piston mechanism looks almost the same. The Ego does have some nicer features, like Cap Band. No, captain here. Ego has that little red finny. Oh, there. Nothing here. Ego has a really nice looking clip. Here you have a stainless steel clip like the ago, but it's just this sort of bent metal does not look very elegant. at all. And then the Ego does have a rubber stopper here, which will allow you you, too post the pen. Ego also is just the plastic or the polycarbonate were on call. It is heavier and feels nicer. It's fine on the ego, but it doesn't have that same sort of heft or weight to it. And that's probably just the fact that the plastic is just a little bit thicker on each of the walls and probably polish or smooth. A little bit nicer on the twist be the Kali Art is basically the same. Materials doesn't have the same level of sophistication as the ego. The Ego also has the angled. It's a hexagon cap and hexagon end piece with a circular middle piece. Here you have all circles, or I guess I detected the code, but you get the point. So that said, this is $30. This is $10 so understandable that there's gonna be a big difference between the two. So I think the day I like the Cal Yards ego, but I feel looking for an affordable Chinese pen is probably not the one out recommend it gets the job done, and It's a pretty good substitute for the twist. Be as long as you're looking at the to is being a finer extra Fine. If you're looking for a twist, be replica. The Tswbi Ego is gonna get you pretty close. I don't think it stands up to some of the wing sons, but we'll cover that in subsequent videos. Thanks for watching.
CaliArts Ego Fountain Pen Information
|Street Price||Check Price|
|Pen Type||Fountain Pen | Piston (built-in)|
|Body Diameter (mm)||12.9 mm|
|Grip Diameter (mm)||10.0 mm|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Length Capped / Retracted (cm)||13.7 cm|
|Nib Sizes||Extra Fine, Fine|