28 December 2006

Pen Review: Monteverde Mega Inkball

A rollerball that takes fountain pen ink -- too good to be true? Not in the case of the Mega Inkball. After the very first fill, it wrote smoothly and, after the first sentence, skip-free. The set comes with one barrel and cap, four nib sections, a small jar of black ink, one ink converter, and two standard, international ink cartridges. The resin barrel is handmade, and luxuriously thick and curvaceous (maybe too thick for some hands). The metal trim and clip are chrome-plated ("jewelry-grade," according to Monteverde). A high-quality touch is the spring-loaded clip. Overall, the pen feels tight and solid.

The tungsten carbide rollerball appears to be foolproof. Ink flows smoothly and consistently even as I changed writing pressure and speed suddenly. The line weight remains virtually consistent as well. The only hitch came when switching from very heavy to very light pressure. For the next few strokes, I got some breaks in the line. The inkflow is conservative, too, producing a fine line and less bleed-through compared to either standard-nib fountain pens or inexpensive rollerballs.

Since the Mega Inkball is, at heart, a fountain pen, you must take all the usual precautions of working with fluid ink: Don't carry it less than 100% full on airplanes; watch your fingers when filling it from an ink jar. The four included nibs are identical. Each has a lifespan of about 1 km of writing (which translates to roughly 200 handwritten pages). If you change colors a lot, you can use each nib for a different color, by using cartridges or buying extra converters.

The Mega Inkball comes in burgundy (pictured here, $175) and black (the black model is larger, at $195).


  1. Wow, did you check out the Monteverde home page? Image in spades! My Parker Vector is humbled.

    PS Whilst my system is in a state of flux, I have found myself combining Notes and Projects (To Do) under the latter tab. The archived notes of Philofaxer are also of interest.

    PPS I borrowed manky from my family. I checked the definition before posting so I'm the ignorant colonial?

  2. Nan:

    Thanks for the thoughtful review. Do these pens fit easily into the loop for your A5s? I've found some of my fountain pens are too big.

  3. Very nice post and review. I have a bunch of pen-related posts on my blog that might interest you as well.

    Have a great New Year!

  4. Thanks for the votes of confidence, everyone. I'd like to include more reviews of pens and related obsessions. I'm not a connoisseur of pens; I'm a user of them, so my critical reviewing skills need a little honing.

    For instance, Jeff found a glaring omission in this review -- the Mega Inkball does not fit into A5 or Personal Filofax pen loops. Even the smaller burgundy model, which I have, is too wide. I would venture to say that it does not fit into any typical checkbook, wallet, or pocketbook loops. The wider loops in a high-end pen case or briefcase might accommodate it.

    Speedmaster, thanks for speaking up. I love watches, and I'd venture to say that many of our readers do, too, so I've added your site to our Links list. (And Happy New Year to you, too!)

  5. Hmmm, my experience is not nearly so carefree. Mine shows such an annoying tendency to skip that I have relegated it to the shelf and gone back to my Parker.

    The customer service from Yafa Pen who does the support for Monteverde is fantastic -- my converter developed major leaks and they replaced it immediately. I thought my problem was solved but alas, no.

    So, for what my experience is worth, the Mega Inkball is a charming idea and a beautiful pen unless you want to actually write with it.

  6. I have to say the exact same thing as in the above comment.

    The idea of the Mega is brilliant, especially for me being very fond of both RBs and FPs. The pen itself is very attractive (I have the White & Gold version), but this one skips more often than a 50 cents Bic ballpoint.

    I was although extremely impressed by the customer service from BOTH Yafa and the seller of the pen. I had trouble with the cartridges not holding on tight to the feed part, the included converter had an air leak. Yafa sent me another converter but it had the same problem. They even agreed to send me a brand new package in return of this one I already had. The included converter was already filled by Yafa when it arrived and this time it work flawlessly... until I ran out of ink and refilled it. It went back to square zero.

    Also, as the above comment mentions, if you intend to actually WRITE with a pen, don't go for this one. It's mechanism just doesn't suit the 200$ I threw in the garbage.

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