Sailor HighAce Neo Beginner’s Fountain Pen

IMG_1869Sailor HighAce Neo Beginner’s Fountain Pen with fine steel nib
+ Sailor Clear Candy cartridge in Reddish Brown
+ Mr. Wooster, who graciously consented to be photographed with the pen

Dimensions: 5/4″ capped, 4.9″ uncapped, 5.9″ posted, 0.5″ diameter

The Sailor line has been on my mind recently thanks to their discontinuation of several beloved colors from their Jentle ink collection — so it’s understandable that the HighAce Neo caught my eye while I was preparing my most recent JetPens order. It comes in black, blue, green, orange, and red, and I settled on the orange model, figuring I could pass it on to my fountain pen neophyte husband when I was done with the review.

For $16.50 you get the pen in a thin plastic sleeve: no converter or cartridge. The pen itself has a plastic barrel which has a colorful matte finish, except for the grip, which is glossy and black. The barrel is nothing fancy and you can see the seams on it if you look closely, and especially on the grip due to the high gloss, but I didn’t feel them at all while writing, and it feels solid. One complaint: I was hoping I could convert the pen to an eyedropper, but there is a small hole in the butt of the pen which would first have to be patched somehow before attempting an eyedropper conversion. Alas! I’ll resign myself to Sailor’s cartridges ($1.60 for two cartridges, and the reddish brown does look quite smart with the orange model).

IMG_1883IMG_1882The cap, on the other hand, is made of brushed aluminum with a high-shine finish on the flat top and clip, and its seamless, velvety-smooth construction is sleek enough that, when capped, it gives the pen much more gravitas (figuratively and literally) than a plastic cap would. The clip was a pleasant surprise: firmly anchored to the cap, springy, but tight enough to put one’s faith in. The pen caps and posts with a satisfying little click thanks to an inner plastic section which does a great job of preventing the nib from drying out. The cap is too heavy for me to post comfortably — it’s quite unbalanced, really — but the pen clips easily to the spine of my Rhodia Webnotebook.

IMG_1887This model isn’t an exact match to Rhodia orange, but close enough to make a slick companion to everyone’s favorite dot-grid notebook!

The nib isn’t much to look at, but it’s well proportioned to the rest of the pen.

As far as the writing experience goes, I have to say I was impressed. Thanks to the plastic barrel, it’s very lightweight in the hand (unposted of course), on par with my favorite (unposted) non-fountain-pen, the Pilot Precise V5 Extra-Fine.The grip section is comfortable for my man-hands but slender enough that I think it’d do well between petite digits, too.

And so far the nib has performed beautifully! It took some effort to get it going at first, but now that it has — no skipping, no drying out, no noticeable unevenness, and while it’s not the smoothest writing experience I’ve ever had, it is not distractingly scratchy. Its fine line is noticeably finer than my Kaweco Sport EF. It’s a dry writer, but not so dry I can’t get any shading out of my ink — and it even performs well in my Field Notes: Shelterwood edition (which is not something I can say for my Sport, sadly).


I’m very pleased with this buy, so much so that I’m considering getting a second one in black or blue. It feels durable — maybe not rugged, but I would have no qualms about tossing it in my bag to take to school or work. I’d definitely recommend it as a little gift for anyone interested in getting into fountain pens. The only real bummer is the limited ink choices — if the Sailor converter fits this model, it’d be worth getting one to use with bottled ink. In my next JetPens order, I might have to pick one up to test out with some Sailor Jentle Apricot Orange.

6 thoughts on “Sailor HighAce Neo Beginner’s Fountain Pen

  1. A+ review! I’m very impressed with your knowledge of terminology and also the photography. Nice cameo by Wooster, too. And I’m tickled by how you wrote our the reviews longhand before typing them up.

    This hobby of yours is way too inspirational…I might have to see about getting one of these pens you’re recommending.

    (Pssst, small typo in your first sentence — I don’t think the name is “Hich Ace Neo.”)

    • Ooh, you’re fast! Thanks for the comment and the like (and the gratis proofreading services 😉 ). Writing them out longhand is the fun part, and the best way to test-drive them!

      If you’re thinking of getting a pen, stay tuned! I’ll be posting reviews for several other entry-level-ish pens soon.

      • Oh yes, you’re quite lucky — I’m nearly four months into my blog and am still waiting for my first comment. *cough cough, nudge nudge, please help make sure my first comment isn’t some gross come-on* Seriously, it’s a little hard to adjust to the potential ghost town aspect of WordPress when you’re coming from the v. sociable Tumblr and LJ.

        Anyway — yes, though I told you before that I wasn’t interested in pens, you’re finally converting me. But I will wait, as that is *not* a priority for my money, with my Italy departure only sixteen days (!!!) away…

  2. (friend of Liz) yay! another pen enthusiast! Thanks for the review. I had no idea Sailor made an entry level pen. I’ve used fountain pens since high school, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and recently purchased a Sailor fine point to go with my Waterman and Cross fountain pens.

    • Hi Sherry, Liz has mentioned you before! I’ve only just recently gotten into fountain pens but they have swiftly become an obsession (obviously). How do you like the Sailor pen you purchased? Do you know which model it is specifically?

      • I’m sorry I don’t know the model or even the site I where I purchased it. Sorry. Useless. I do remember having to ‘break in’ the nib, wearing it down just enough so it eventually laid just right on the paper for my hand. I got the fine point, new for me, and I like it, nice for writing checks ( does anyone do that anymore?)
        Carry on writing!

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