Baoer 388: Simple, svelte, and only two bucks3 min read

As soon as I saw this handsome pen available for only two bucks, I had to pull the trigger and see what it was all about. I mean, sure it looked good online in a photograph. But would it hold up to closer scrutiny? And could it write worth a damn?

There was only one way to find out; I had to buy it and see for myself.

Photo Jan 03, 4 17 21 PM
Size comparison between the Baoer 388 (top), Uniball Vision (center), and Lamy Safari (bottom). The Baoer is indeed a slender fountain pen.

Baoer (rhymes with “power”) is a pen brand from China made by the same company that manufactures Jinhao pens, the Shanghai Qiangu Stationery Co., Ltd. They have picked up a positive reputation among Chinese pen enthusiasts as offering a great value, just like their sibling pens from the Jinhao brand.

Compared to the big Jinhao pens I was used to writing with, this Baoer is downright petit. It compares well with the size of a disposable rollerball pen.

The finish on my pen is a brushed metal finish with gold colored trim. It’s simple but attractive enough without being “showy”. This is the kind of pen you could keep in your shirt pocket at work without drawing unwanted attention to yourself. The only part that deviates from the silver & gold motif is the section, which is a simple smooth black finish.

The cap snaps on securely, and posts well. The total weight of the pen is light enough to wright while the cap is posted if that’s your preference. As I find it to be too heavy on the back end when posted, I prefer to write with it unposted. My hands are pretty large, but this pen is comfortable to write with for me.

The pen comes with an international standard cartridge converter. I did try it out with some Noodler’s Black and it worked really well. For this review, I’d switched it over to some super miserly Jinhao blue cartridge ink, which I’m evaluating long-term for another article.

The nib is an attractive piece, with Baoer branding, dual tone gold and silver in color. It’s smaller than a #6, and while I don’t have any #5 nibs to swap on for testing, I believe the nib is a standard #5. With this ink, I feel the nib could be tuned to run wetter. I had no such complaints with the Noodler’s Black ink and found it to be an exceptionally smooth combination.

All in all a very competent business pen. My only lamentation is the quality of the ink used with it (Jinhao blue cartridge).

You can get a pack of five of these relatively quickly and cheaply from Amazon.

Vital Statistics

  • Length, capped: 136.4mm
  • Length, uncapped: 121.6mm
  • Length, Posted: 155.5mm
  • Diameter, Cap: 12.4mm
  • Diameter, Body: 11.3mm
  • Weight (total): 23g
  • Weight, uncapped: 13g
  • Nib: Baoer Medium (#5?)
  • Filling Mechanism: international standard cartridge converter

Is this the good shit?

No doubt. I’d not hesitate to carry this pen into any business meeting, or have it be seen poking out of my shirt pocket. This is a very sober looking classic business style pen, and writes quite well (with the caveat that you use good ink). I favor thicker pens than this usually, so I found it a bit dainty for my grip. Having asked some other people to try it out, I got nothing but positive feedback from them about it. So if you favor a thinner, lighter pen, there is no doubt in my mind, yes, this is the good shit.

2 thoughts on “Baoer 388: Simple, svelte, and only two bucks3 min read

  1. Yeah, man. I like the Baoer. I received one in a subscription box a little while back and thought nothing of it. But, I inked it up a week or two ago, and man – I was pleasantly surprised. I will be picking up more in the future, if only to just give away as a good intro to the hobby. Good review!

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