iPenBox Subscription Review + Coupon – July 2017
iPenBox is a monthly box for the ‘pen, paper and ink enthusiast’. Each box contains 5–10 items curated around a theme.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: iPenBox
The Cost: $30 a month for the US or $40 a month for Canada/International, both with free shipping
The Products: Each box will contain a fountain pen, an ink sample, paper and at least two more items.
Ships to: USA & International
Check out the Paper & Stationery Subscription Box Directory for more writing subscription boxes!
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The theme for July was Color Pop, with plenty of brightly hued items. One card lists the items and the other includes a code for 10% off orders in the iPenstore shop.
They included a postcard from Holland, Michigan. I grew up in Michigan and always wanted to visit this area, which is known for its tulips.
Flower Erasers – Total Value $0.76
Continuing with the tulip theme, these erasers are very cute. I tried using one and it did erase, though it wasn’t the best eraser I’ve ever used. That’s ok though because they’re still adorable.
Tootsie Pop – Value $0.20 (buy a box of 100 for $19.99)
This Tootsie Pop was a welcomed extra!
This notepad has 90 blank pages and was made in Spain. I always appreciate when notepads have elastic at the bottom, as otherwise they come open in my bag. The bright flowers on the cover fit the Color Pop theme perfectly.
Sticky Notes – Value $2?
I love the text on the cover: “Life is like a rainbow, beautiful, full of happy and moved.” Apparently their rainbows are mostly purple, but I don’t mind.
Jinhao 992 Fountain Pen, Transparent Green – Value $6.97
Green is my favorite color, so I was excited to see this bright green fountain pen in the box. The nib says F, and the website says it’s a fine nib, but it feels more like a medium nib to me. I found it a bit hard to fill with ink, but the writing was very smooth. As a lefty, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this pen, but it surprised me. I can tell I’ll be using this one a lot this summer.
Monteverde Purple Reign Ink Sample – Value $0.50? (buy 30ml for $7.97)
I have a love-hate relationship with this ink. Although it looks black in the vial, it is a beautiful pinkish purple with a slight gradation. It worked perfectly in the green fountain pen above. One neat thing about this ink is that it ‘lubricates and protects your pen’s ink feeding system from corrosion and clogging’, according to their site. The ink is made in Europe and packaged in the USA.
So why the love-hate relationship? Let’s just say that it’s very difficult to clean the ink off a white desk, and that cats should be kept far, far away from open vials of ink. I didn’t see anything on the site that said it’s waterproof, but having spent a long while scrubbing it with everything I could think of, I can assure you it’s durable.
Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen in blue and purple – Total Value $6.74 ($3.37 each, on sale for $2.79 each)
An MSA reader recommended this pen, so I was excited to see it in the box. I love the idea of a disposable fountain pen! While I wouldn’t mistake these for more expensive pens, they work well for the price and could be an inexpensive introduction to fountain pens – if you’re right-handed. Unfortunately, I experienced a lot of scratching/skipping as a lefty.
Sheaffer VFM Metal Barrel Ballpoint Pen 9416-2, Pink Sapphire – Value $15 (on sale for $11.97)
This ballpoint pen is beautiful and comes in a nice gift box. (Is it just me, or does the Shaeffer logo look like a Pokéball?) The rounded shape feels nice in the hand, and I love the bright color. It writes pretty smoothly, though I must say it felt strange using a ballpoint pen after testing the fountain pens.
Pentel BK90USA-A RSVP Ballpoint Pen – Value $0.89
The funniest thing about this pen is that it was made in Mexico! It’s really cute though, and nice for July. It writes about like every other dollar pen; servicable but nowhere near the quality of the other pens in this box. Once you start using fountain pens, you will wonder what you ever saw in pens like these.
Here’s a writing sample with all the pens. There’s the beautiful Monteverde ink at the top, with the darker Varsity pens below it. For the ballpoint pens, the USA pen’s ink flow was poorer than the Shaeffer. Kind of funny how gradation in fountain pen ink is beautiful but rather ugly with a ballpoint pen.
Verdict: My estimated RV is right around $36, which is good for a $30 box. I really enjoyed trying out all the items, and they did a good job with the Color Pop theme. My favorite discovery was the green Jinhao pen with the purple Monteverde ink. There’s something for everyone in this box, but the variety does mean that you probably won’t love every pen. It might work well to split the box with a friend, or just expect to give lots of pen-related gifts.
What do you think of July’s iPenBox? Do you prefer ballpoint pens or fountain pens?
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