The Jinhao x450 is a very affordable fountain pen. It has a decent build and it seems like it should be a no-brainer to pick up, but how does the nib write? Is it too good to be true?
Pen Build and Design
The Jinhao x450 is available in a number of different colours and finishes. The two pens pictured below are the matte black and the blue swirl. The blue swirl has a glossy finish with a spiral pattern which wraps around the pen. Both pens have the same gold accents and two tone nibs. I personally prefer the matte black pen, but then again I do love a good matte finish. The pen is your typical cigar shaped pen with the cap being more rounded than the other end.
The pen’s clip is quite stiff, so it might cause an issue on thin and delicate materials. There is a bit of flair and design elements on the clip that I thought didn’t really go with the rest of the pen but that’s just my opinion. Engraved across the gold band on the cap is “Jinhao” and “x450” on the other side.
The first thing I noticed when I picked up this pen was that it was heavy. Surprising, considering the price I paid for this. It verges being on too heavy for me and those with small hands, who prefer lighter pens, may find this uncomfortable to use. Those with big hands and prefer a more substantial pen should like the way this one feels; I know my brother like this and he has larger hands. The Jinhao x450 is not a huge pen, which makes its handling better. You can see the comparisons to other pens below.
The grip section is often something which makes or breaks a pen and for me this makes the pen into something I use pretty often. The grip is plastic with indents which have a ribbed pattern. The indents result in a slightly triangular/hexagonal shape but this is quite subtle and should not bother most people. I find this grip really comfortable and it makes the pen easy to hold despite the weight. Those with oily, sweaty hands will also like this.
Technical details and specifications
Where to buy: eBay, Amazon, Goulet Pens
Nib sizes: Only one size in Medium?
Nib Type: Steel
Nib Size: #6
Filling system: Cartridge converter (standard international)
Pen material: Metal, most likely brass
Grip Material: Plastic
How does the pen write?
Most importantly, even if a pen has a great build and price, if it doesn’t write well then it will be a dud. It is first important to note that with cheaper pens, especially chinese ones, there is less quality control so there may be some differences between what I have experienced and what you will. That being said, both of the Jinhao x450s that I have write similarly. And that is wet.
For me personally, sometimes the crosses the line into being too wet, especially when paired with a wet ink. In my day-to-day, I often have to use cheap paper, so this isn’t a pen I would usually bring around with me. In the writing sample below, I used the standard maruman paper (not mnemosyne) which is more absorbent than Rhodia, so don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not that wet.
However, the nib can be easily swapped out for another #6 nib. A consequence of the wet nib is that the line it produces is quite broad. I think my pen is supposed to be a medium, but it feels a bit broader, not quite a broad nib though.
The nib is actually pretty smooth, not the smoothest I’ve ever used but definitely something I enjoy writing with. Reverse writing was also surprisingly good and produces a finer line. There is nothing in the way of line variation with the nib being quite stiff and solid. I had one issue with hard starting when I left the pen nib up for a week and it didn’t want to write, but otherwise I there have been no problems.
Summary: Jinhao x450
– fairly good writing experience (at least for me)
– cheap price (also means that you can try out nib adjusting)
– the pen feels nice in the hand, looks and feels more expensive than it is
– good comfortable grip section (good for oily hands)
– #6 size nib
– may be too heavy for some people
– low quality control, may end up with a dud (buy from reputable sellers)
– only one nib size?
TL;DR – This is a pen that I quite like. it’s cheap and works well. What more could you ask for? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Thumbs up from me.