Product Review: Submarine 939 Fountain Pen

God knows I have been itching to review a fountain pen for a long time. And when I did get the one that fit my budget, they sent me one with a Fine tip. Damn!

And, so began my review even before I had filled the pen with ink. But the support was kind enough to let me know that Submarine Pens didn’t deal with Fine nibs and were as shocked as I was. They kindly agreed to send me a Medium nib, which should be on its way right now.

So, here’s the review.

The pen is of brass and is a tad on the heavier side for my liking. The build quality is solid. And all parts feel they there made to measure. If the pen didn’t have the pattern, I reckon it would be a lot slippery to hold. So, good, thoughtful design.

The opening mechanism is pull-and-push. I like the tactile and acoustic feedback of the ‘click.’ The cap’s finial has a studded Swarovski element, which adds a nice touch to the look. I’d be OK without it, but I know a lot of Indians would love to have some embellishment on the pen. After I ordered the pen, they called to ask if I’d like to personalize it, which I did. The font size and style selection were theirs. Yet, my name just shines through: no pun intended. 🙂

The nib, as I mentioned, is an Indian Fine tip and should sit between the western Fine and Indian Medium nib. Considering my shaky hand, I’d prefer either a Medium or Broad nib, but even this nib is a joy to write with. It is a platinum-tipped nib that’s made of stainless steel and feels more toward being sturdy than flexible. For a Fine nib, the sweet spot is relatively large enough to write at any angle.

Reverse writing is possible. This pares down to two things: the nib is smooth, and the ink flows through the feed’s channels. The website advertises the pen comes with a Medium, dual-tone nib, but I got a Fine, gold-colored nib. A Fine nib has its advantages. One, the ink dries faster. Two, feathering and bleed through to the other side of the paper reduces.

One more thing! The nib is smooth for its first use but I reckon it will soon break in. Until then, the flow through the feed’s channels will not be consistent and the ink’s color will not come through.

The feed and converter are plastic, and the pen came supplied with two cartridges of company-specific ink. I had an old bottle of Parker Quink Blue, so I chose not to purchase Submarine’s ink, which was about twice as expensive (twice as good?). Anyway, the two supplementary cartridges are sufficient to judge the ink’s quality if I compare it with the Parker’s.

For a section and grip that’s carved out of brass, the grip is a perfect combination of shine and comfort. I can write for a long time without fatigue. The pen’s weighted toward the tip, and you will have to adjust the weight even when you might have posted the pen. Usually, I don’t post my pen. So, I will continue to try different combinations to get the best writing.

In tests limited to my knowledge, exposure, and technique, Parker’s Quink won. I had used a regular 60~70 GSM printer paper. Through the first, second, and third passes, Quink flew better and was more saturated. But I used a cartridge for Submarine ink and the converter for Parker’s Quink. So, I’d give a point to the converter because it did the job it is meant to do.

I have a doctor’s handwriting (Sorry, doctors!), and the Fine tip doesn’t lend a lasting impression in that regard.

Should you try this pen? Why not. Especially given that they acknowledged that they accidentally sent a Fine nib and would happily replace it for free. Customer service goes a long way in assuring repeat purchases. After all, you can sell a product only once! After which, the product has to sell itself.

I got the pen for 600 rupees, plus shipping. To buy the pen, use this link: https://www.submarinepens.com/product/939-fountain-pen/

So, that’s my first review of a fountain pen. Please pardon my handwriting, and let me know if I missed anything.

Happy writing.

Product Review: Logitech K375s

Product Review: Logitech K375s

Most of my office work requires writing and editing, and typing for long hours on a laptop is tiresome. Besides, having a wireless keyboard gives me the privilege to move away from the screen as I type my way to glory—well, kind of. This is why I decided to purchase an external keyboard for my laptop.

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After researching, I decided on buying the Logitech K375s because of its dual connection feature. I can use either the Bluetooth connection on my laptop or insert the Unifying USB to connect it wirelessly. I liked having this option because even though my smart TV is Internet-enabled, using its tiny remote and the limiting rubber keys to type and search for a YouTube video is both painful and time-consuming.

I found that on either the USB or the Bluetooth, the connection between the keyboard and the laptop was stable. Even when I kept the keyboard on idle, the connection remained stable. After a while, when I began typing, the words flowed as freely as I had wished for—at least, in the context of the keyboard. The truth is that despite how good a keyboard one gets, writing continues to be a tough job.

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The keyboard can be connected to three devices. I have connected it to my laptop and cellphone. So, I can type on either by switching between them with the click of a button. While there are a lot of them who’d prefer connecting it via Bluetooth, I have experienced that the connection via the wireless USB receiver is more stable. This, I have found to be valid for both the keyboard and the mouse. But, once I connect my keyboard to the laptop via the Unifying USB, I have to remove the keyboard from the Bluetooth pairing list and add it back before I connect it via Bluetooth. This is weird, unnecessary, and—I assume—faulty.

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Logitech claims a battery life of about six months with heavy use. But I am yet to cross the six months timeline. So, I can’t really confirm if that is true.

The standard components of the packaging include the keyboard, the Unifying USB receiver, two AAA batteries, and a mobile (or tablet) stand. The stand is of good-quality plastic, but I would have liked to see some rubber padding on the bottom. This would have provided additional grip to the stand. The stand is sturdy and inclined at the correct angle to hold even my iPad Mini (with its cover) at a proper viewing angle.

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Shockingly, when I received the package, the USB receiver was not there in it. But, my supplier, Golchha IT, was kind enough to ship the missing USB receiver to me for free. In fact, they followed-up on the delivery for me. Such a showcase of professionalism and ethics is worth quoting.

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The keyboard comes with decent construction quality. While the keys are easy to press and have a clicky feel, they are a bit on the noisy side, and the down arrow key didn’t always respond in the first attempt. I think this device I received was shelved for a long time.

As for the arrangement of the keys, I have a suggestion—in case Logitech is reading this. The Function (fn) key is placed on the bottom right-hand side of the alphabets.

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But there is a context to the point I am making. Even though Logitech made K375s an OS-independent keyboard, there may be a lot of those—like me—who would use this keyboard while using a Microsoft Word application on a MacBook Pro.

The keyboard shortcut for changing the case in the Microsoft Word application is shift+F3. But the F1, F2, and F3 keys can also be used to switch between the Bluetooth-connected devices on the keyboard. This means I have to press the fn+shift+F3 button to change the casing.

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If I do not press the fn key, I accidentally end up refreshing or resetting the connection between the keyboard and the connected device. The overall positioning of particularly that combination of keys makes it awfully awkward for me to use that shortcut. Had they placed the fn key on the left-hand side, they would have resolved this issue, especially for people with small hands.

As a workaround, I can use the mouse. But, it is an added task when I am writing. Because my mind is already occupied in doing mental edits before words come out. Thankfully, I don’t often use that shortcut, and I am yet to come across another equally awkward keyboard shortcut.

Pay attention to this space.

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This is clearly the wastage of space, which I think should have been used for switching between devices, so that the function keys could have been left intact. Also, the arrangement of the Function key and the absence of a slot to carry the USB receiver mean that this wasn’t clearly one of the most thought out designs from Logitech. I think they should have looked at how Apple has made space for the key on their Magic/Butterfly keyboard.

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In the time that I spent with this keyboard, I have noted some good and some not-so-good points about it:

  • I’d give full marks to its stable connectivity, and for having the connectivity options: so, a 5/5. (Five, being the highest)
  • This isn’t one of the most beautiful keyboards. It isn’t the latest one, either. So, a decent 3.5 on 5.
  • I expect all keys to work flawlessly. Besides, the USB receiver was missing when I purchased it. Even though the supplier shipped the Unifying USB receiver, the initial experience has had a lasting impression on me. I’d give it 2 on 5.
  • I’ve already shared my opinion on the design. So, an average 3 on 5.

This is my review of the Logitech K375s. I hope you like it.