A little bit of history Based in Moscow, Benu burst into the pen scene last year with a range of striking designs. When they offered us one to try, we said да!
How it looks The Friendly Chameleon itself is indeed very striking. The barrel is a squared off triangle, with a matching cap. The resin is beautiful with a whole lot of shimmer and sparkle. It truly is chameleon-like, changing appearance as it catches the light at different angles. All our reviewers loved this resin but some felt the overall appearance was let down slightly by the black plastic centre and grip sections. It’s all a matter of taste and a pen with these kinds of looks is bound to provoke a wide range of reactions.
How it feels Surprisingly comfortable. There’s quite a step down from the barrel to the section but the section’s long and so your fingers are safely out of the way. The pen’s width and light weight mean it’s comfortable to hold for extended periods. The cap is light and so doesn’t throw off the balance when posted. The shape also means the pen won’t roll away – always a plus with a clipless pen.
How it fills Benu very sensibly use an international standard cartridge or converter.
Crucially, how it writes… The nib is a generic steel Schmidt #5. The one on our review unit had good flow and behaved itself very well with no skipping or hard starts. It had some feedback which we felt was just the right side of acceptable but might not be for everyone. It isn’t the greatest nib but it works well and is easily replaced.
Pen! What is it good for? The Friendly Chameleon writes well and is comfortable in the hand and so, fortunately, is an excellent pen for doing lots of writing! It’s also good for just gazing into, while waiting for inspiration to strike.
VFM At $90 (plus another $5 for a converter) this isn’t a cheap pen but it’s unique in shape and colour. It would be good to see a higher quality nib but if you like the design (and, let’s be honest, you’re going to either love it or hate it!) then a pen that works well and is this unusual is good value at this price.
If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost… It’s hard to find a pen with these kinds of looks at this price. You’d usually be looking at something bespoke, for a lot more money. So if you almost like this pen but aren’t quite sure then you might be best off looking at the rest of Benu’s range.
Our overall recommendation The Benu Friendly Chameleon is a good pen and all our reviewers would recommend it, if you’re seduced by its looks!
Where to get hold of one Benu sell internationally direct from their website.
This meta-review references:
Thanks to Kate in Moscow for sending us the pen to try out.