Pen Reviews

There is an interesting debate going on in Fountain Pen Geeks about the comparative value of written and videoed reviews. Speaking for myself, I avoid videoed reviews because I tend to lose the will to live about halfway through. The very worst ones, I believe, are those where a big ego has a part to play (no names, no pack drill). These usually run to quarter of an hour or more. That’s madness – if you can’t describe a pen and its pros and cons in under five minutes there’s something sadly wrong! Others, perhaps, aren’t quite so bad but they often tend to ramble. It’s as if the discipline that one would apply to a written review disappears when the camera is switched on.

There are exceptions, of course.  SBRE Brown, for instance, has a pattern to his videoed reviews and appears to marshal his thoughts well in advance. So it can be done – though it rarely is. That’s not to say that all written reviews are good. Some of them are rambling nonsense as well but the ratio of signal-to-noise is rather better.

What do you think?

15 thoughts on “Pen Reviews

  1. I rarely look at video reviews of anything. It seems everyone has a video camera, at least on his or her mobile phone and wants to be the George Lucas of the Internet. The result, as Deb has said, is not good.

    Then too, I genuinely prefer reading to watching.

  2. I’ve seen a few and find myself thinking about how they set up the camera as they waffle on ad nauseam. Who has the time?

    1. You’re right there, Simon! To my mind, it takes much less time to rattle off a few sentences and include some photos. It’s enough to give someone an idea of a pen that they may not have seen before.

  3. I don’t really like video reviews of most products unless I’d be looking for a size comparison from the promo art. For FPs/stationery I greatly prefer written since I can skip parts of the entry if I find that the writer is starting to lose focus.

  4. I won’t watch video reviews. My fountain pen interests are focused on a particular type of functionality. (I write in long sessions, up to ten hours a day, and need a very high level of reliability.) I don’t care nearly as much about things that a lot of reviewers and users find important. So I can skip around written reviews to find the information I care about. Video reviews are too linear, and I get a little impatient when I have to sit through discussions of things that don’t matter to me.

  5. I am also one that has rarely sat through video reviews. Even many of the written reviews are suspect because, like wine reviews, they only make sense when you have a similarity of taste with the reviewer. I find many of the reviews to be over hyped and faux edgy and just not that compelling.

  6. A writing instrument is an object that lends itself well to the video review format – if it is done properly. Unfortunately, it rarely is.

    A decent video review takes more time and effort compared to a written review with pictures. This reduces the overall throughput of a content producer which begs the question: Is the video format worth it?

  7. I think Deb has made a telling comment at the outset – probably a lot of inflated egos floating around the ether. A well written review can be illuminating – but like so many of our thoughts it’s easy to be too subjective, and difficult to remain objective when something is near to your heart.
    A written review can made or broken if it lacks some sense of humour and an effort made to stick to the point – both areas where I consider Deb usually scores.

    But suppose we should be tolerant – and allow the egotists their moment of whatever, and we don’t have to watch them, do we? – so it seems the argument in favour of videos hasn’t been won, and thumbs up for the word alone being mightier than the video.

    1. I don’t really do reviews, as such. I have two aims in my blog: provide people with a reference for pens that they haven’t seen before and secondly, to cover a little of the history of the brands were I can. My articles don’t compare with the well-organised reviews that you will see on the pen boards.

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