Lamy Al-Star vs. Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop: Fountain Pen Battle

A fountain pen comparison between the Lamy Al-Star and the Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop fountain pen.

Hey there, fountain pen lovers! Madigan and Lydia here, bringing you a pen battle for the ages. The Lamy Al-Star and Pilot Metropolitan are some of the most recommended fountain pens for beginners. In fact, they are both recommended in our Brian’s Top 5 Fountain Pens for Newbies.

Since they come so highly recommended, we often get asked which is better. Arguably, this is a point of preference, which is why we’re bringing you this pen battle today. We both have our favorites and will do our best to argue the merits of our favorite starter fountain pen. Let the pen battle begin!


Lamy Al-Star

The Lamy Al-Star BlueGreen fountain pen in a comparison with the Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Turquoise fountain pen.

Madigan here, starting off the pen battle by arguing for my favorite beginner fountain pen, the Lamy Al-Star. I like this pen for a number of reasons. It comes in a variety of gorgeous colors, including yearly special editions (have you seen the Lamy Al-Star Pacific?!?). It’s well balanced, even when posted, and lightweight because it’s made out of aluminum. The Lamy Al-Star is routinely referred to as a “workhorse” pen because it just doesn’t quit! Whether you are using cartridges or a converter, you can write comfortably while keeping your eye on your ink level through the ink window.

One of my favorite parts of this pen, and the Lamy Safari, is the ergonomic grip section. The triangular shape gives me a little bit more control when I’m writing or drawing with it. I also love that you can easily swap Lamy nibs, so even if you buy an extra-fine, you can get a 1.1 stub and completely change your writing experience.

To sum it all up, I love this pen because:

  • Easy to swap nibs
  • Cool colors
  • Ergonomic grip sections
  • Lightweight 
  • Aesthetically Pleasing
  • Multiple color options

The Lamy Al-Star is available in a variety of nib sizes and colors at GouletPens.com for $37.60.

Pilot Metropolitan

The Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Turquoise fountain pen in a comparison with the Lamy Al-Star BlueGreen fountain pen.

Next up in the pen battle, it’s Lydia here, shining some light on my favorite newbie pen, the Pilot Metropolitan. This was my first fountain pen and holds a special place in my heart. I still use my purple retro pop all the time. This durable metal bodied pen is crazy affordable with a lot of style. For a little over $20, you can have a classy pen with a CON-50 converter. Even if you don’t want to spend the extra $5.50 for an  upgraded converter, the Metro comes with a squeeze style converter in the box so you can start using bottled ink right away. The Metropolitan has simple, clean lines and its classic styling appeals to a wide variety of fountain pen users. There are quite a few colors to choose from as well, ranging from basic black, classic silver and gold to bold turquoise and peppy purple.

I think my favorite thing about the Metropolitan is that it’s perfect both posted and unposted. The snap cap makes it easily accessible and you can write without it posted or you can post it for a well-balanced writing experience. The length of the body is comfortable and fits nicely in just about every hand. Posting the cap does not add too much weight to the back of the pen either and it stays light and delightful to write with.

What makes the Pilot Metropolitan my favorite:

  • Metal body, durable
  • Affordable, Under $20 and comes with a converter
  • Clean lines, classic styling, fun color options
  • Comfortable to write posted or unposted

The Pilot Metropolitan is available in a variety of nib sizes and colors at GouletPens.com for $15.

A fountain pen comparison between the Lamy Al-Star and the Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop fountain pen.

What do you think?
Now it’s your turn to weigh in? Do you agree with Madigan (the Lamy Al-Star) or Lydia (the Pilot Metropolitan)?

Leave a comment and let us know your favorite beginner fountain pen! We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Write on,
Madigan & Lydia

2017-10-11T14:13:57+00:00 February 15th, 2017|Pen Reviews|66 Comments
  • sidecar

    I feel like I am the only person on the planet who really, really doesn’t like my Metropolitan. It was my first fountain pen and I almost gave up the hobby simply because I had such a disappointing experience with it. I stuck it out, got an Al-Star, and am now OBSESSED. Is there anyone else on the planet who doesn’t like the Metro, or just me?!

    • Jenn D.

      I’m with you! I am not a fan of the Metro at all. Do not get the love. Would never recommend it.

      • sidecar

        Let’s start a very lonely club. It might be just the two of us, but we’ll have the support we need <3

  • Alex

    The Pilot Metropolitan, for me, is the better pen. Both are wonderful, reliable, excellent writing pens. So why is the Metro a better pen for me? Read below!
    1. Cost. I can get two Metropolitans for the cost of one Al-Star. Or One Metropolitan and a bottle of ink, plus cartridges. Although it’s not an issue anymore, it was when I started.
    2. The Grip Section. I have a non-standard grip on the pen, and I haven’t ever felt comfortable holding the Lamy.
    3. The smoothed aluminum body makes for easy pocket storage. I keep my pen in my pants pocket with my phone and Field Notes, and the Metro is easier to take out and put back into my overstuffed pocket.
    4. Smaller Ink Capacity. I am one who loves to try new inks all of the time, and the small CON-50 converter doesn’t hold much ink. So for those like me, it’s a great excuse to swap inks!

  • Don johnson

    No contest –the Lamy ,in general, is a gimmicky excuse for a real pen
    I have several of both and the Pilot wins by a mile

  • Susan Clarke

    Hi Madigan and Lydia, great blog post. I used nice rollerballs before FPs (Mont Blanc, Waterman, Levenger) So I am drawn to a more classic style. I bought a Lamy vista before I was introduced to the Metro. I love the Metro’s classic body and weight. I prefer the nibs on the Metro to the Lamy nibs too. I use a Metro Pop Grey Houndstooth with my Black Travelers Notebook. It is always inked up with a Pilot Black Cartridge. It is one of my favorite pens. I do like LAMY for art, but I use the Joy Calligraphy more than the Vista, Safari, or the AL-Star. =D

  • fulminata

    I love my Metropolitans. They write broadly, which I am a huge fan of. Plus they are in a decent price range. I can’t honestly justify nearly $40 for a “beginner” fountain pen.

  • Zoe

    Okay, gotta share my love for Lamys! Lamys were my first pen, and still my only pens (though that might change this year). Except for one nib, I’ve always had wonderful smooth writing experiences with them. Every part of the pen is made with quality. I love the easy nib swap and easy maintenance. I feel comfortable taking them with me everywhere. I know Lamy has my back. Because so many people loved the Met, I did consider it. Then I was in a stationary store, and had the chance to try one. I found the grip was too short, and I didn’t like holding the bump or ring between the grip and body. Also, the writing experience wasn’t as fluid and so the line quality wasn’t that great. I like that the Mets come in different colors, but the bodies feel cheap. Ink flow, line quality, grip comfort, and quality construction matter to me, and Lamy meets all those things for me. I know those pens will last a long time, and be ready to write every time.

  • Mary H.

    I chose the Lamy because I love the triangular grip on my Lamy Safari. For some reason the triangular grip fits my hand perfectly making it the most comfortable fountain pen I have ever used. That said, I am planning to get a Metropolitan as I would like to have a pen that comes with a stub nib which will be dedicated to a permanent ink such as Noodler’s black or Liberty’s Elysium. If it messes up the pen, I’d rather have it happen to the cheaper pen.

  • MP

    Metro is so affordable and looks so much better than the Lamy design. The Al-Star nib swapping seems like its one true advantage. I didn’t really like the Lamy look, but it’s starting to grow on me. (Full disclosure: I don’t own a Lamy . . . yet. But I love my Metro!)

  • Mike West

    I chose the Lamy simply because of the larger grip area, and the overall larger size of the pen. I’m not sure, though, how I would like the triangular grip on the Lamy. Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to write with either of these styles of pens yet, so a fair judgment is lacking on my end. I need to set up a wish list of the pens I want and slowly work my way through them. I’m looking forward to the SF Pen Show in August so that I can get these in my hands. This year at the show I will be coming much more educated with what to look for.

  • Shelby Highsmith

    It’s tough, but for a starter pen I still gotta recommend the Metropolitan; it was my starter, and I’ve given them to 3 friends to try getting them started. $15 is a safe first price; the metal body gives it a nice heft and solid feel; the nibs write smooth and consistently. I also think the non-jazzy ones look very professional and sleek (the blacks, silver, even gold). And the tapered, rounded ends make the Metro the only pen I can consistently slip into my Leuchtturm notebook’s pen loop with one hand.

    That said, the Al-Star is a fantastic second pen! I got my first Al-Star for Christmas and had to get a second when the Pacific came out; I also added a Safari and a Vista. Main advantages of the Lamy: 1) the triangular grip section makes it VERY comfortable and gives much better control if you want to use a “proper”/traditional grip; 2) the nibs are also incredibly smooth for extra-fines; and 3) the ink window is a nice warning to refill. Nib-swapping is also a big plus. Down side: that clip is just weird, sticks out way too far.

  • Mari Ferch Rathyen

    I adore them both. I slightly prefer writing with the Al-Star since I find the triangular grip very comfortable, but for what you get, the Metro has the edge on value. I tend to use the Al-Star more at home for letters and journaling while the Metro is my on-the-go list-making, note-taking preference. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec4153c62a59e4030e75a5dce1890dbee405f7436fb200a7bdc9fdf3cc03d20b.jpg

  • knitpsycho

    I love them both! Lamy was my first but I -love- the writing experience and the heft of the Metropolitan, so I chose Metropolitan. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/463036502d62e0ac27c71c12654c67a638918700638cf8b7f5947cc5f59cb094.jpg That said, I can’t get over the colors of the Lamy and have 4 of them plus 1 on the way. I should up my metro collection. ๐Ÿ˜‚

    • MJ Wilkerson

      I completely agree!

  • Ron Meyers

    Hard choice to make. Couldn’t vote….I love them both. I keep a couple of each inked up and use them both. For nib smoothness, nothing beats the pilot. But I love the triangular grip and the colors of the Lamy (to be fair, a Safari was my first fountain pen once i got serious). Way to torture us Madigan & Lydia!

  • Joshua Williams

    Jinhao X 750. I also have the Jinhao 599, which is basically the Safari in plastic and about 1/10 the price. But the X 750 is a great pen, comfortable, affordable, comes with a converter, very durable metal construction, and the only pen to get me writing in years. I am a lefty, and most rollerball or ballpoint pens would work fine for a while, but then they would start skipping and get really hard to write with. I also have dyslexia, so writing g is often a chore anyway, but the comfort of the X 750 makes me want to write. I am very new to fountain pens, and do not have any pens that cost over $10 yet, but as a new person to fountain pens, I don’t think you can go wrong checking out the Jinhao X 750.

  • Andrew Douglas

    So

  • Andrew Douglas

    I’m torn here because I have both; several Metropolitans in EF (for different color inks) and one in the new stub nib (which is awesome, currently inked with Nooders North African Violet). I also have an Al-Star with EF and italic nibs available (currently using the 1.1 stub). The Metro nibs are smoother and the value in this pen cannot be beat. Right now, though, I’m favoring the Al-Star because I like the aesthetic. It’s a beautiful pen. FYI I’m a lefty overwriter and the Al-Star faceted grip is just fine for me. I know some lefties have trouble with it.

  • Tom Johnson

    This is interesting and fun. I have both. I love writing with both. I like swapping nibs on the Lamy and often use a stub nib, usually 1.5 mm, and you can’t put a 1.5 mm stub nib on the Metropolitan. However, I like classic designs, so the Metropolitan wins that. Plus, the Metropolitan has a slight edge in how it feels to write with, in my hand. My Metro has a fine nib, and I keep red ink in it for making notes, corrections, editing, etc. where I want to write very small and with a bright ink. Bottom line, I use the Metropolitan more often for brief writing. But the split is very close! I would prefer the Al-Star for writing a long letter. And, there are more Al-Star colors that appeal to me (I’m including the LX with the Al-Star). Wow, did I just switch my vote? Let’s not go there. Thanks Madigan and Lydia for a thought provoking fun filled battle between two giants.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Haha sounds like you’re a hung voter, Tom. It is a tough choice for sure. Both great pens with ideal uses for each.

  • MJ Wilkerson

    I love both pens. I’ve been using fountain pens for over 30 years. I have to say, that I think the Metropolitan is probably the best starter pen, though. I like the feel of it in my hand. It has a great weight to it. I always use extra fine nibs and both do well with that. I just wish it came in as many great colors as Lamy. It’s a tough choice because I love both so much! (I have 13 Lamys and all 6 of the Metropolitans. Can you tell I’m addicted?) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Linda

    Love them both. My favorite way to use them is to put a 1.1 nib on the Lamy, and a F nib on the metro and fill them with the same ink. Looks really cool that way in my bullet journal, or writing my “in co wri mo”

  • Melissa Cox

    I have 4 Lamy Safari pens and a couple of Lamy Al-Stars. I have 2 Pilot Metros, but I’ve only used one of them. Obviously, I’m a big Lamy fan…even though the Vista that languishes in a drawer somewhere did nothing but leak on my hand.

    I tend to like a heavy pen, and Lamys are light, but the length and balance substitute well for weight. I only have two gripes, and both were with my Dark Lilac Safari. Its EF nib was scratchy initially but smoothed out pretty well. Worse, its molded body had mold marks that were raised and actually cut my hand. 30 seconds with an emery board fixes that.

    My red Retro Pop Metro with M nib was great….until I dropped the notebook in whose pen loop it rested. The pen didn’t hit the ground or fall out. I went to use it later that night, and it leaked ink all over me. Turns out that a very gentle one-foot drop caused the converter to detach inside the barrel and spill probably half a converter of ink into the barrel and the cap. Okay, fine, my fault. I washed everything out, including the nib/feed. When I picked up the dry barrel later, I got inky fingers. Turns out ink got under the decorative band and now was oozing out. I have washed it at least 8 times since, over a week and a half, leaving it on an absorbent pad to sry each time. It STILL is oozing ink, which makes it unusable. I am seriously annoyed.

    Finally, I prefer a screw-type converter to the opaque squeeze converter. I can’t tell when the opaque one is full, and it’s too small.

    • slowburner

      Have you tried disassembling your Metro and giving the barrel a nice long soak in a glass of water? Might be worth a shot if it’s otherwise unusable.

      • Melissa Cox

        Good advice. I will try soaking it that way next. I wish I could figure out a way to remove the decorative band to get under it, but it seems to be glued or something. The silver part of the barrel (with the threads that attach the nib/feed section) seems glued into the barrel. I’ll throw some pen flush in the water, too.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      I would definitely recommend a good soak to clean the body out. You can also look to getting a CON-50 converter for the metro if you dislike the squeeze converter. That made all the difference for me when using my Metro. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lois

    Pilot Kakuno – because who can resist a nib that winks at you, Platinum Plaisir, Lamy All-Star, Pilot Metropolitan. I love all of these. The Pilot Metropolitan has a bit more weight to it that the others. I like the Lamy because of the grip and the aluminum body styling, but sometimes I think it is not the best for my particular lefty grip unless I find a great lefty nib. All my pens are fine nibs. I like them a little drier because I am a lefty and have less chance to smear the ink.

  • Kathy

    What a great idea for a “contest!” I have to vote for the Lamy, hands down. I love the grip. For me, it’s all about the grip. I don’t think the pen is particularly attractive, but I’ve grown to think it’s cute. The Metropolitan is a good starter pen, and certainly has a more classic shape. I understand the attraction, and have several of those as well. But I always have an AL-Star or Safari inked. And the new Pacific Blue….OMG. The color is gorgeous.

  • Allicia Faber

    I started with the Pilot Metro… but now I kinda wand the Lamy!

  • slowburner

    I don’t consider the Lamy Al Star a “starter” pen due to its price — you can buy two Metros for the price of one Al Star, and both of them will come with converters so you can roll with bottled ink right from the start.

    I think the Al Star would make a fine “now I’m addicted to fountain pens and want a nicer one” second pen.

    My favorite beginner pen is a tie between the Metropolitan and its kid cousin, the Kakuno. The price is right, chances are good you’ll get a great nib out of the box, and you can pick a round section (Metro) or shaped section (Kakuno) to fit your preference.

  • I chose the Al-Star because of the nib swapping. I can take ONE pen sketching and 4 nibs and do as I please — and the Al-Stars are workhorses. IF the Metropolitan has swap-able nibs then it’d be a tie for me. BTW, I am not fond of the Safari — just the Joy and Al-Star.

  • Just Me

    Can I vote for neither? I’m not a fan of either of those pens. A cheap Jinhao was my first pen, and I still love it.

  • Nicole Dollins

    I love my purple Metro! However mine did not come with a converter, just a cartridge, which I plan to re-use. Have never tried a Lamy, but for the price I will stick with Pilot. I love the weight and durability of the Metro and I am all about the fine nib as I use it mostly for note-taking, letter writing and the occassional pen and ink sketch. Best $15 I ever spent, especially considering my first fountain pen that I bought back in the 90’s was close to $30 (a snazzy pink Platigum with three gold nibs and a converter.)

  • Lisa Vierra

    Personally, the Al-Star is the sure winner for me. Great colors, plus seasonal colors. I like the grip and the ink window was well. The unique to Lamy body is a plus. I am not especially modern my tastes, but this funky, chunky modern shape appeals to me. The swappable nibs, also a huge plus. When giving a pen as a gift for a new user, this or the safari is my choice.

    Now, my 7th grade students are all plunking for the Metro Pops. I think that they are available at one of the big box office stores is part of that though. However, I did hear one telling another, “you know you could have saved some money if you had ordered that from Goulet. Now I need a classroom size bottle to refill their pens with.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      I LOVE that your students have caught the bug too, Lisa! I cannot wait until my little sister is old enough to get her first fountain pen (she’s 4) and we can share in it together.

      • Amanda Diller

        I’m homeschooling my kids, 5 and 7, and we use fountain pens to teach them proper handwriting! We use Pelikan Pelikanos and Twists for schoolwork (I found some for cheap, they have a thick-ish, molded grip and are very light but still durable). The light hand needed and molded grips help promote good grip position and allow them to write without fatiguing. I read that Japan and Germany (as well as other fine institutions around the world) use fountain pens for school and so I just decided to try it out. My kids LOVE their pens and can’t wait for handwriting practice now…which is a big switch! And their handwriting was almost immediately better as soon as they got the hang of them! I let them use whatever cool colors they like and teach them to care for and maintain the pens themselves (with some oversight :), which is a good life lesson in general, I say. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Lydia At Goulet Pens

          That’s perfect, Amanda! Fountain pens are definitely full of all types of good learning opportunities about handwriting, responsibility, and individuality. Great choice in introducing your kids early!

  • Adam T

    Even though I have 7 Lamy Al-Stars and only 1 Pilot Metropolitan, I still favor the Metropolitan because of the grip and the nib. The reason I have so many Al-Stars is because of the awesome variety of metallic colors. The Pilot Retro Pop colors are nice, but I’m not a big fan of the retro accent bands; I like the plain black Metropolitan. Since I’ve started using fountain pens, which typically use a lower writing angle and less pressure than ball points, I’ve been training myself to stop using a death grip and ease up on my fingers. However, this seems to have totally thrown off my finger positioning when using the triangular Lamy grip, making it awkward to hold. I like that there’s a good selection of Lamy nibs to choose from and that they’re readily available, but compared to the Pilot nibs I’ve tried, most of the Lamy nibs have been toothy, even the mediums. If you want to get an extra stub nib for the Metropolitan, buy a $9 Plumix for a 1.0mm stub plus an ink cartridge!

    • MP

      I’m with you on the retro accent bands. I wish there were more “plain” color Metros. I’ve got the black one too and love it, but the others don’t really appeal to me. They’d be much more tempting in completely solid colors.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who takes the pen color into serious consideration when buying. Almost all of the pens I have bought, I bought solely because of their color regardless of performance haha

  • VickNish

    so funny how many people have chimed in with their arguments for one or the other. i just voted and checked the results, which was 453 to 453! a completely even split. i don’t think you’re gonna get a clear winner in this battle. both are excellent pens that will appeal to different people for different reasons. fun to see the results though!

  • Fractal Squared

    Personally, I’m more for the Metro over the Al-star. I have a charcoal Safari (ok, not an Al-star but my points will still stand!) and a grey Metro-retro, and both perform really well for their price points. They’re both fantastic entry level pens.

    That said, while I prefer the looks of the Safari, and I love the greater variety of nib sizes (mine has a 1.5mm stub on it)… I just can’t love that triangular grip. I hold my pen in a somewhat peculiar manner and I’ve never really meshed 100% with the triangular Safari grip. Sure, it’s ok for short sessions – filling in timesheets, shopping lists, quick notes and such – but long writing sessions just aren’t comfortable.

    So, really, I think it comes down to the individual. I think the metro-retro is better for those of us with a non-standard grip, and the Al-star is great for those that want a wider variety of nib options.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Very valid points ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Boyd Garrett

    My first fountain pen was a Metropolitan, and I currently own four of them. But I prefer the Lamy in its various iterations (I own four from the Safari/AL Star/Lux lines). I prefer the way Lamys look, and I prefer the Lamy nibs as well (at least partly due to the EF size I got on the Metropolitans).

  • Sue Anderson

    My first pen was a Metropolitan, and I love it. I have two of them now, and they both excellent writers. I also have a Lamy, and I like it. I prefer the smooth, minimalist design of the Metro.

  • tonnieam

    I love my several Safari’s more than my 3 Metropolitan’s, however, I also love several of my Pilot models! I think my preference is determined by the way it feels in my hand. I seem to not enjoy a “metal” pen body as much as resin. I am nearly a “pauper” due to my love of fountain pens, ๐Ÿ™‚ but I enjoy writing with all of them ! Thanks Goulet for being such a great resource!!

  • ec

    I’m with Lydia and the Metro all the way! I love the Metros, and have never had one that didn’t perform consistently and well right out of the box. I currently have five in different colors and nibs, and have given several for gifts. They’re also a much better value.

    My only Lamy (a Safari) makes every ink look washed out. I replaced the nib and it’s still not much better. I know lots of people love them; maybe mine was a fluke.

    Nevertheless, the Metros win hands-down!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Thanks, ec! Glad to hear the metro has served you so well, you had to have multiples! Sign of a great pen design!

  • Rachel Leigh Smith

    I have one of each and I love both! I have delicate, small hands, though, so I don’t enjoy writing with my AL-Star posted. Makes it a bit too top heavy to balance well in my hand.

    The pen I’m using all the time right now is my Dark Lilac Safari. Everything about it is perfect.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Lamy really hit it out of the park with the Dark Lilac. I love mine so much. SO smooth and such a great color. Matches nicely with my purple metropolitan ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I love the Lamy nib(s), but am not a fan of being forced into a grip that doesn’t come naturally for me. So, until I can try a Lamy Vista, it’s Pilot Metropolitan all the way.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Unfortunately, Christina, the Vista also has that same triangular grip as the Safaris and Al-stars. I would recommend you try out the Lamy Logo. That does not have a molded grip. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sashineb

    I have four Lamys (three Safaris, one Al-Star). I like all of the nibs except for the Extra-Fine (it is scratchy and dry, which annoys me greatly.) I have two Metropolitans (one in gold, the other is the Pop Green), in Medium and Fine. Both are wonderful! I love them so much. The Fine is like an Extra-Fine, without any toothy, scratchy characteristics, and it writes very smoothly and with no dryness. For me, the choice is simple: The Metropolitan wins.

  • I don’t have an opinion on one versus the other, as I have no experience with the Metropolitan. I have owned a few Safaris and AL-stars in extra-fine and stub nibs. They are fine and durable pens, good for taking notes in the field, although Lamy’s idea of extra-fine is wider than what I prefer.

    I own several Pilot pens, but not a Metropolitan. My experience with them has been excellent except for the converters. The squeeze converter has a tiny capacity that will leave one refilling more than once in a single day. The CON-50 I find adequate, but seems to have less capacity than other converters.

    I recently gave a friend a first fountain pen and opted for a Platinum Plaisir. My friend preferred a pen of traditional appearance and the Plaisir fit the bill. I have owned one for 8 or 9 years, and it has functioned very well. The pen plus converter came to less than $25, and my friend is quite pleased.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      The Plaisir is another underrepresented beginner option! Great choice.

  • Tina

    I’ve got both! I do use both and find the lamy lighter for my small hands.

  • Carol F Metzger

    My hand does not fit the Lamy, the grip is uncomfortable to me, so it’s gotta be the Pilot. I own several. They are easy starters, which I appreciate when I am using them for basic note-taking on the fly.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Plus you can beat the snap cap when you need to jot down notes and don’t want your pen to dry out! I feel like the Pilot snap cap is a tad easier and I can uncap it with one hand.

  • Wyliekyote

    Being an owner of both Metro’s and Lamy’s, I am consistently reaching for the Pilot Metro’s more often than not. Both are light weight, and have great designs. But the Lamy’s unique triangular grip doesn’t always agree with my fingers. And, for what ever reason, the Metro’s just feel better; the nib’s are smooth and quick starters, and I really like all the different designs. Bonus is that the Plumix nib’s can be swapped into the Metro’s, giving them another nib option. I did splurge for a few better converters, but the squeeze converter works just fine. For me, it’s a no brainer: a fantastic pen for under $20?! Pilot Metro’s!!!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Very good points! I am right there with you.

  • Uniotter

    I have no problem with the Lamy grip, but the style just doesn’t appeal to me. I wish it did, because there are certainly many nice colors to choose from. I bought one charcoal Safari just to try out the Lamy, and it was pleasantly smooth when I first wrote with it. But I found the nib dried out too fast while I was taking notes — if I didn’t constantly cap it between pauses, it would hard start.

    The Metro, meanwhile, performs wonderfully. I love all the animal designs and many of the retro pop ones too. And my first nib, a medium Violet Leopard, is one of the smoothest nibs I own. I guess I got lucky, but it’s like the proverbial butter on a hot skillet whenever I use it. Writes better than my pens worth 80 times as much. Pilot makes consistent quality pens, and the Metro is the best bargain around!

  • Luke Ries

    I’ve never owned an Al-Star, but I really don’t like the style, and I own a pen from Jinhao with a very similar grip, which I find terrible to use. They’re just not very comfortable for me. On the other hand, I love my Metro – although I swapped the nib on it for the nib off my Pilot Penmanship, as I really wanted that super-fine line.

    That said, I have tiny hands, so I love my mint Kaweco Skyline Sport above either, and although it’s a little big I’m also real fond of my Jinhao x450 – with the Goulet Pen nib, it’s such a great writer! Those are my favorite beginner pens ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I have and love both! The Metro feels really good in hand due to the weight, but the Lamy writes better for me! Plus, the Metros are finiky; I always have problems with excessive ink on the nib no matter what I do.

  • Soo Lee

    I’m a little late to the fun, butโ€ฆ

    Like many here, I have and love both. But for beginners, I’m more inclined to recommend the Al-Star (or one of its siblings) if they can afford the higher price. In my view, the ink window is helpful to newbies who haven’t yet developed a sense about when a pen is starting to run low. Also, the clear Lamy Z24 is user-friendlier than the Metro squeeze converter, in that it’s easier to see if you’ve got a full fill. (I’m also pretty sure it holds more ink than the CON-50.)

    But the biggest benefit to the Al-Star is swappable nibs! As we all know, once people fall in love with pens, one of the biggest joys is exploring different writing experiencesโ€”going, for example, from an extra-fine to broad to an italic. This way, if someone has chosen a Lamy body in their favorite color, they can continue using that even if they play around with different line widths.

    All this said, I keep my Metropolitan clipped to a pocket in my purse, so I’m definitely not down on this particular pen. Like I said, I love mine!

  • Kimberly B Stone

    Al-Star forever!