Poky Z 150 Fountain Pen Review

Hello everybody…

…and sorry for not having written anything in ages – I’ve been under a lot of stress those last few months. Today, I wanted to post a review of the Poky Z 150 fountain pen on FPN, but FPN is currently undergoing major changes and offline most of the time, so I’ll just post it here. Unfortunately, I don’t know the standard FPN pen testing template by heart, but, well, whatever, here we go:

Poky Z 150 – What is it?

Obviously, it is a fountain pen. However, I don’t know exactly who makes those FPs. Poky is, as I suppose, just a brand name used by the vendor with the username „pokydady“ on eBay. AFAIK there’s no manufacturer of pens with that name, pokydady probably has the pens process-manufactured by someone else. I think it might be whoever makes the Picasso FPs because it came with Picasso cartridges and the Poky Z 150 looks a bit like the Picasso 916 – especially the section and nib – while the barrel looks very, very much like the Picasso 608. I’m actually pretty sure it’s made by the Picasso guys. This is a good thing – the Picasso pens have an excellent reputation and both pens mentioned are more expensive than the Z 150.

Why do I review it?

I got several new FPs, lately. Among them a TWSBI 580 with a fine nib and a Faber-Castell E-Motion which is known to be incredibly smooth. Both pens cost a multiple of the Poky’s price and both pens have a superb reputation and I really like them a lot. However, I found myself putting aside the TWSBI at work because the Poky was a more reliable writer and more pleasant and easier to use. This is reason enough to give the pen a review.

Aesthetics and build quality

Well, here it is:
Poky Z 150

The Z 150 is available in four colours: Orange, Red, Sky Blue and Purple. It has a hooded nib and looks pretty… slick.
It’s completely made of metal and weighs 31 grams which is 50% heavier than a Lamy Safari! Okay, 31 grams is not ultra-heavy, but it’s a lot for such a small pen. For this reason, the pen feels sturdy and robust. Sweet!

Size-wise it’s pretty much as long as a Platinum Preppy and maybe two or so millimetres longer than a Parker 51, capped:
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Uncapped, it’s a bit shorter than a Pilot 78G (or a Reform 1745), but the sections feel very similar:
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

The overall build quality is fantastic for a Chinese pen. As much as I love Chinese pens (I have 25 of them), I have to admit that most of them have flaws. This one, on the other hand… okay, yes, it has one flaw, but one you can find on American pens as well. The barrel and section are great. There are three bands and usually with Chinese pens, there are gaps around at least one band. There are no gaps to be found on the Z 150, everything is seamless and smooth. The clip is firm and springy, the cap clicks into place perfectly, nothing wiggles, nothing’s too tight. So what’s the flaw? Here it is:
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe hooded nib is not aligned with the, uhm, hood. Okay, even my Parker 51 has this, but not that much. It looks bad, here, but actually it’s just an aesthetic problem.

Oh, there’s another aesthetic problem – the „POKY“ logo isn’t engraved and filled all that well. It looks like those original D&D set dice when you ran out of white wax crayons, if you know what I mean.

The nib and writing

Well, this is the important bit. The tines were aligned perfectly out of the box and the ink flow is great. Usually, I prefer Chinese pens not to be perfect writers so I have something to play with. But this is a hooded nib, so I’m actually glad I didn’t have to fiddle with it.

This Poky Z 150 never skips and it’s smooth and reliable. Okay, it’s certainly not as smooth as the Faber-Castell I mentioned earlier. But it is as smooth as the 50€ TWSBI 580 F-nib that has the same actual nib width.
In my line of work, it’s very important that the gun never jams the pen has no start-up problems and writes on every paper – and this is why I preferred the Poky over the TWSBI at work. Both pens perform great on good paper like Rhodia or Clairefontaine. Both pens write really, really well on thermal paper. But on cheap paper the Poky performs better. I’ve used J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage in both pens and the Poky was less prone to feathering and bleeding although it’s the wetter pen. Don’t ask me why, I don’t pretend to understand it, it’s just like it is.

The nib has some flex, not a lot, but it feels natural. The pen writes so wet that even Doc Brown would start drooling over it:
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s another photo:SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Conclusion

The build quality and materials used are pretty good. It’s not built with as much precision as for example a Lamy Al-Star, but it can compete with many other pens in those price ranges and even more expensive pens.

The pen is a great writer and performs in my humble opinion better than for example a Lamy Safari/Vista/AL-Star, Platinum Plaisir, Pilot 74G and most of the pens in that price range including – and this is hard to admit because I’m a big fan of the brand – a Kaweco ICE or CLASSIC Sport.

The nib and feed is en par with the TWSBI 580. I know, that sounds hard to believe, even to me. But there‘ a reason I’ve used this pen instead of the TWSBI those last weeks.
Of course, the TWSBI’s build quality and serviceability can not be matched by the Poky.

If you like smaller pens, the design and fine nibs, you probably won’t find anything better than this pen in it’s price range. Which is easy, because the Z 150 only costs about 7€ with shipping. Even for 20€ or 30€ it’s not easy to find something as good, unless you turn to other Chinese pens. Of course it doesn’t have the iconic looks of a Safari and if you’re simply looking for a hooded nib a Parker 21 might interest you more. If you like those pens, then maybe the Poky isn’t for you. But if you’re simply looking for a nice FP with a good nib that’ll give you a great writing experience, the Z 150 is the right pen for you.

Über tlab3000
39 Jahre alter Freiburger

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