At first glance, the Deli S677 might appear to be a cheap marker, a plasticky bit of mass-produced unpleasantness that has no place in the hand of a fountain pen user. One would be surprised, then, when removing the cap to find not a ballpoint tip or a marker’s felt but a nib.
Appearance & Design (3/10) –
I’m not entirely sure what the creators of this pen were trying to do in terms of visual appeal. They look rather unusual. The caps are a solid pastel color, with a white clip that says “deli” on it. The body of the pen is the same pastel color as the cap, but with small white hearts dotting the area. In the center of the bodies of the pens are cartoon animals, under which there is text that reads “Here is a More Lush Forest.” Your guess as to what they mean is as good as mine. Just before the section on the top of the body there is a white ring with an “inspirational” quote on it. The pink pen reads “I am to grow strong and tall”. The green pen reads “My skin is the most beautiful of all”. The most inspiring of all, though, is the blue pen, which gives us the truly beautiful line of “The squirrel is a typical arboreal mammal”. Running alongside the body of the pen is the model number of the pen and a barcode that my barcode scanning app did not recognize as a product available here in the states.
Construction & Quality (6/10) –
Compared to other pens of the same price level/target audience, the S677 isn’t terribly built. The plastic feels solid enough, and after some time using the pen and carrying it around in a messy backpack I have not experienced any paint chipping or scuffing. The cap posts very securely, and snaps back onto the body securely and satisfyingly. It actually feels excellent in the hand, if a bit light, as long as you don’t look down at it. The pen is about the length of a Lamy Safari, but a bit lighter and thinner, and if you removed the silly paint it looks and feels remarkably similar to a Pilot Varsity.
Nib & Performance (6/10) –
The nib us also suspiciously similar to that of a Pilot Varsity. Apart from the S677’s being stamped “Deli” rather than “Pilot”, the nibs are virtually indistinguishable in terms of design, size, and performance. It is smooth and reliable, but don’t expect anything except a nail. The pen writes a tad bit dry, but not dry enough to impede the smoothness or cause any skipping problems. The feed also differs from the Pilot Varsity, as I believe the S677 has a traditional plastic feed rather than a wick one like the Pilot.
Filling System & Maintenance –
There isn’t all too much to say here, the pen is a Cartridge/Convertor filler. The pen comes with some blue ink cartridges, which work nicely. One point of interest here: the pen does not accept international sized cartridges or convertors, but works perfectly Lamy’s alternatives.
Cost & Value (8/10) –
The pen was purchased from China for a mere dollar and eighty cents for a pack of three. At that price point, I think that these are a far better buy than Pilot Varsity’s if you can stand their design choices. I wouldn’t use these on a regular basis, because I have much more interesting and good-looking pens that I use and rely on. As pens to give away to people, or to lend as first fountain pens, though, they’re just about perfect. (Again, if the person receiving them can stand the design) Their nail of a nib is smooth and can withstand the pressure of a ballpoint user, and they accept cartridges, putting them a notch above the Pilot Varsity in my book.
Conclusion (Final score, 5.75/10) –
To be brutally honest, I will not be using these pens again for a while. I have, however, already given two of them away to first-time fountain pen users, both of whom love them dearly and are already looking at more expensive, better pens. As tools for someone who has many fountain pens already, I’d steer clear of these guys. But for a first fountain pen, or giveaway pens, at $1.80 for three these make a pretty great alternative to Pilot Varsity’s, Platinum Preppy’s, and the other cheap “disposables” on the market.