As you can see above, the Zebra Surari resisted the most to all of the treatments! The most popular things found in the lab are water and ethanol, and there are negligible changes to the emulsion ink when smeared with these chemicals. The oil-based ink of ball point pens seems to fail when treated with alcohol, while the gel pen ink of Pilot Hi-Tec is terribly smudged when treated with water.
As for the writing experience, sometimes I really feel like I'm just writing with a ballpoint pen but whatever is coming out of the pen is just gel pen ink. I think it's probably because it looks and feels like a ballpoint pen with the thick barrel and ergonomically textured rubber grip (which just seems ballpoint pen -ish to me based on my past experiences with ballpoint pens). Yet, the tip looks like that of a gel pen and the ink lays down on the paper like a gel pen. Regardless, it writes very smoothly as expected from a ballpoint and the ink is absolutely amazing. Additionally, the 0.5 mm pen does not really seem to write a 0.5 mm line. In my opinion, it's very comparable to a 0.3 - 0.4 mm line, which is great for me because I love fine lines.
The Zebra Surari writes a pretty fine line for a 0.5 mm pen.
In the end, this is a great pen for a student because of its oil based ink and its thin lines (which is especially great for taking notes in textbooks). The price at $1.50 is perfect for the starving-college student budget and amazing if you look at the value of the pen. However, this pen is not as reminiscent of a gel pen as I would like, perhaps due to the design of the pen. I'd really love Zebra to work in developing other pens that use this emulsion ink but are comparable and simple in design to Pilot Hi-Tecs or Pentel Sliccis. I think it'd be a real competitor to these popular staples, yet may pose problem for their Zebra Sarsas (and therefore this may not really happen except in my dreams). ):
The Zebra Surari can be found on JetPens here.
This review was done on a Rhodia Dotpad No. 16.