Current Most Popular Post

Friday, February 10, 2012

Comparison - Kaweco Sport VS. Stipula Passporto

Today, I will be comparing a king to a peasant, so to speak. The two pens under our gaze today, come at very different price points, and both have rather different purposes.

Nonetheless, they share many similarities, and I think they will compare quite well with each other.

Get ready, for the Kaweco Sport VS. Stipula Passporto!.

We should first start of with a little knowledge of these pens, as individuals, before we attempt our comparison.

I happen to have conveniently reviewed both of these pens, prior to this comparison. :)

Read up on these if you're unfamiliar with these pens - you'll enjoy this comparison a lot more if you do.
Now, before we really get in too far, I should also mention this: 
NOTICE: This review will not have a "and the winner is (x)!".
Because of how these pens are different, they cannot be compared like that.

I will simply compare certain points, and let you see the similarities between them.

Enough of my blabbering now, let's get on to the fun stuff. :)

Coming from two vastly different price points, these pens have some rather obvious design differences.

The Kaweco Sport feels a bit like a small child's toy, when compared to the elegant Passporto. The difference in the plastic is significant, contributing to a more "quality" feel in the Passporto.

I feel that the Kaweco is definitely given a more "utilitarian" look and feel. When I hold it, I think "this is an EDC pocket pen, and an economically built one at that". The Passporto gives me a feel of "This is an LE. I need to find an important document to sign"

They both sport many of the same design features. For example: Both pens have a built in "mechanism" to prevent the pen from rolling off a table. To be honest, I think Kaweco's execution of this is much better done than Stipula's. 

The Passporto relies on that little "out-dented" leaf logo to prevent it from rolling. It works, sometimes...
The Kaweco, has a hexagonal cap, and there is simply no way it can just roll off without your permission.

But, even though the Kaweco is better at not rolling, I also must say that I prefer the looks of the rounded pen, much more than I like the hexagon shape. Once again, the Kaweco leans toward a minimalist, and efficient approach, whereas the Stipula sacrifices some features, to maintain it's beauty.

Other design differences, would be the companies logos: Kaweco chose to put the logo on top of the cap, while Stipula, made a beautifully elegant cap band out of theirs. 

Me, being ever the fan of silver trim as opposed to gold, must naturally love Stipula's choice for the trim on their pen. Gold trim, in my eyes, feels to flashy, and often makes a pen simply feel cheaper. Silver, on the other hand, feels cool, crisp, and elegant.

Both nibs have some basic design, company logo, etc. Nothing fancy on either one. For the price though, the  Kawecos nib looks disturbingly close to the Passportos. Seeing as I paid 3 times as much for the Passporto, I was sort of hoping for a rhodium plated 18k nib. Maybe I set my hopes to high. :)

Both nibs are steel, but the Kaweco Sport is gold-plated.

I think overall, my tastes go towards the Passporto for design. But then, these pens are different pens for different purposes. If I had 5 minutes to pack for a trip, and I needed a fountain pen (I always do), my hand would not hesitate to go for the Kaweco. Why? Because of it's utilitarian design. There's no "fluff" or fanciness to get in my way. It's just a pen, that quietly sits, waiting to be used.

Size and weight:
Both pens are small. The Kaweco is tiny, and the Passporto is very tiny.

The Passporto is a good inch shorter in both the cap, and body.

In this area, I don't even think twice about calling the Passporto my favorite. The size is shorter, but this to me makes it easier to carry. When posted, it is still plenty long for me.

The Kaweco on the other hand, is not too big, but it's also not as small as I'd like for a pocket pen. It's more than long enough posted, so I think it's extra size is a small inconvenience. For those with large hands however, the Kaweco might be a better option.

Posted, Stipula's offering is still an inch or so shorter then the Kaweco Sport.

I also find the body-thickness of the Passporto superior to the Kaweco. The thickness of the section however, is a real toss up on which one I like more.

The Stipula's grip is smooth, and comfortable to the touch. It's also longer, so my fingers aren't resting on the threads. The Kawecos grip suffers from being short, and having rather rough threads and injection molding lines. It excels however, in that it's a tad thicker, and the end is flared out, so your finger won't slip off.

Both are nice, and they both get the job done.

Neither one of these pens could be called heavy, but the Kaweco is significantly lighter than the Passporto. I like both for different reasons. I often find myself carrying the Kaweco in my pocket, so the feather-like weight is a huge bonus. I hardly even know it's there!

The Stipula, I do not carry in my pocket, so I appreciate the weight. It's more comfortable to write with, and feels much more substantial in the hand.

Overall, both these pens are have ups and downs with the size/weight. I like them both, and I really can't pick a favorite. That's probably why I own both. :)

Both pens are fully functional, but both have very different purposes in mind.

As said earlier, the Kaweco is all about function, and simplicity. It continually excels at being a no-nonsense, function built, easy to use pen. I love this about the Kaweco, and it's why it's been in my pocket all day, every day, for the last week.

The Stipula however, is marketed (and billed) as a luxury pen. It is more quality, more comfortable, and more enjoyable to hold and use. Unlike the Kaweco, which I simply pull out to use, I get to pull out my Passporto to examine, touch, enjoy, and "experience". The Passporto is my first choice between the two when it's time to sit down, and write a good letter to a friend.

Now, some features that both pens offer:

Both pens post, and both post very securely. The Passporto is a screw-on type of thing, where the cap actually threads on to the back of the pen. This is as secure as it comes, and there's no fear of my cap falling off.

The Kaweco is a deep slip-on cap, and I find I like it just a bit better actually. It posts just as secure, but about 3 times quicker. When I need to jot a quick note, the Kaweco can be uncapped and posted in seconds. The Passporto, not so much.

Both pens post, as this is required to extend them to a usable size. I like both systems, but they work very differently.

Both pens have the same filling system: cartridge, or eyedropper. I have converted both of mine to eyedroppers, for the extra ink capacity.

The Passporto wins out here in one area, and that is this: It comes with a very nice, and handy glass eyedropper. The Kaweco comes with nothing, and requires you to find your own eyedropper if you wish to use it that way.

In the way the filling systems work however, the Kaweco wins out. I find it is actually a bit more reliable than my Stipula. I am however, only on fill-one with both of these pens, and I know the Stipula needs another soap cleaning, as it seems I didn't get all of the factory oils out the first time. I'll report back again once we're on fill #2 with these guys.

Overall, the Stipula may be elegant and beautiful, but the Kaweco is built for function, and can't help but be good at what it's made for. If I'm interested in getting things done, I'll grab the Kaweco 9 out of 10 times.

Both of these nibs are very good writers, as of today. Out of the box, these two nibs were less than enjoyable.

Both suffered from different defects in QC at the factory. Read the individual reviews (links up at the top of this page) for more on that.

Here are some scanned samples of both nibs:

Kaweco Sport - B nib, writes an XF line when flipped on the back. Love that feature, though I don't think it was factory intentional.

Stipula Passporto FPN LE - 1.1mm Italic nib. I love the way this nib writes. :)

Both nibs, now tuned, are favorites, so I can't say either one is better than the other.

Both nibs are good to me, and neither one is better than the other. I love the Stipula for letters, and elegant writing, and the Kaweco, with it's "duo-nib" capabilities, is perfect for notes-to-go. I like em' both, and I'll keep em' both. :)

Lastly, Packaging:
I don't normally cover this in my reviews, but eh, why not? :)

The packaging is very different between these two pens. Totally opposite ends of the spectrum - The Stipula is premium, the Kaweco is economy. Take a look:

On the left - The Passporto. Comes with a faux-leather box, signed papers, instructions, a cartridge, and a glass eyedropper for filling.
On the right - the humble Kaweco sits, with nothing more than a thin cardboard box to cover it. I will say however, that it is a beautiful looking cardboard box. :)

I look at these pens very differently, so the packaging should be different. It it wasn't, I'd either feel ripped off buying the Stipula, or scared buying the Kaweco, thinking all the money went into packaging instead of the pen.

No, they're both good right as they are. The premium pen deserves premium packaging, and I paid for it too. The Kaweco needs to keep a low price, so it's packaging is perfectly suited to it.

I can flaw the Kaweco in one thing, and that is this: They provided no instructions whatsoever, within the packaging of the pen. Yea, it's not necessarry, but a quick note about how great Kaweco is, and some "blah, blah, blah" would've been a nice touch, and couldn't have cost more than a few extra cents...

But beggars can't be choosers, so I'll take what I've got.

My conclusion is this - I like both of these pens, and I'll continue to own both of these pens.

There, how's that for a decisive comparison. :)

Okay, so really, here are my final thoughts:

The Kaweco is my pocket pen. It's my go-to pen for when I need to get the job done. It's always there, it never complains, and I can beat on it without fear, both because it's sturdy, and because it only cost me $25.00.

The Passporto is my new letter writing pen. The italic nib, luxurious feel, and the fact that it's an LE, make it an enjoyable pen to simply have and hold. That and the fact this it's a great writer, make it a keeper in my collection.

If you've gotten this far into my comparison, by now you realize that you probably need both of these pens. I'll leave that up to you, but it suffices to say that they serve different purposes, they excel at what they're made for, and owning both of them is a good idea.

Conclusion finished!


I hope everybody enjoyed that comparison. Sorry it took me so long to write it. I had a hard time deciding how I was going to do this, but I think my method here will work out well. 

I guess you'll have to tell me. Drop me a comment, and give me your thoughts on both the pens, and the review. How did you like the way I compared these? Repeatable in the future, or should I try something else next time?

I'm looking forward to hearing from you! That's it for today. Tomorrow is the Weekend Reads again, and as usual, there's lots of great stuff headed your way!

No comments:

Post a Comment