Vision, by ONLINE, is a direct competitor in features and price to pens such as Lamy's Safari and AL-star, while taking some style cues from Faber-Castell's Ambition. The pens from all three German manufacturers are worthy of serious consideration for all those seeking a stylish and dependable daily writer. Here we'll give you some insight into the features and performance of Vision.
First, there are four models in the Vision series. There is the Vision Classic, a matte brushed aluminum bodied pen with chrome accents available in a wide variety of colors:
Priced at just $38, it is just $1 over the MSRP of the ABS plastic Lamy Safari. For those who desire something more substantial in the hand at the same basic price point, this is a pen for you to look into.
Next is the Vision Magic, an aluminum body with a wonderfully shimmering metallic look, shiny black accents and nib:
The Vision Magic is available in five colors and is also priced at just $38.
Thirdly is the Vision Nature, a pen series boasting unique barrel materials in woods and cork for a dynamic contrast of the natural elements with minimalist style shiny and matte metals:
The Vision Nature fountain pen bumps the list price to $50, just a few dollars over that of the Lamy AL-star.
Lastly, there's the top of the line Vision Carbon, matte aluminum combined with pure carbon fiber, and featuring shiny black accents and a black nib to unite everything together.
With a list price of just $62, the Vision Carbon offers the style usually found in pens three times the price, enabling you to impress for less with a daily go-anywhere writer.
All Vision series pens feature a very convenient and secure snap cap which appears to do a good job keeping the nib from drying out. We let the Vision we tested sit inked and unused for 7 days, and it was ready to write as soon as the nib hit the paper.
All pens in the Vision series are offered in EF, F, and M size steel nibs. The nibs are part of the ONLINE Easy Change System which allows for nibs to be changed by simply unscrewing the nib from the grip section and replaced. We never recommend any sort of regular swapping in and out of nibs on any fountain pen as this can and does cause wear to the threads, but should a Vision nib ever be damaged, this makes for quick and affordable fixes!
Like other German pens at this price point, ink converters are sold separately. All pens come equipped with an ink cartridge. Speaking of ink cartridges, ONLINE has the innovative Combi ink cartridges! If you haven't heard about these, they are large capacity cartridges that fit standard cartridge/converter pens such as the Vision on one end and Lamy fountain pens on the other! That's something to think about for anyone with pens using both systems and who finds cartridges the way to go!
The styling of the Vision is very Bauhaus / minimalist / form follows function with one very, very smart design choice - the clip. We've all come across pens here or there we wanted to like, but found something about the clip that did not work. Too flimsy and the clip has no grip, or too stiff and it shreds the fabric of a shirt pocket. ONLINE has designed a sprung clip with good grip strength for shirt or jacket pockets.
Writing with the Vision with the cap posted on the end of the pen is not as unbalanced as most pens of such a long length would normally be thanks to the lightweight aluminum material, which makes the Vision fine to use in this manner for signatures or short writing sessions, but users will probably still want to leave the cap off for long writing sessions for both optimum balance and to avoid the distraction of the high perched cap itself.
We tested the Vision with the most popular nib size: fine. The steel nib is nice and stiff, perfect for beginners, those who are heavy-handed, those who write quickly, and those who jot down notes on the fly. The ink output was a tad on the dry side, which is also ideal for beginners and those who navigate daily life in the real world where cheap, low quality papers are everywhere. There will be much less bleed through and loss of line crispness this way. Here's how our sample did on Rhodia notebook paper:
One other thing to note is the threads of the grip section into the barrel of the Vision are metal, not plastic. Plastic on metal threads there are typically a weak point in the construction of many pens. Users won't have to worry about that with the Vision.
The only real area that leaves us undecided about the Vision series is which model looks best. It's a tough call. Good thing ONLINE has priced these reasonably. One of each model in each nib size, perhaps?