Review: Zebra Surari Emulsion Ink Pen 0.5 Black

Hello, viewers of the Pen Addict! My name is Amy, and I'll also be contributing reviews here along with Kalina. As a current undergraduate student at a university in southern California, I hope other fellow students find my reviews useful as I wish for practicality and portability in pens and stationery. Recently, however, I've been getting into fountain pens, so I'll be giving an amateur view on these wonderful instruments and their related items as well.


The Zebra Surari Emulsion Ink Pen 0.5 mm Black with dark black body can be purchased from JetPens.

Brad recently reviewed (and gave away for free) Zebra Surari Emulsion ink pens. However, I really wanted to try it particularly because I do not like ballpoint pens yet want oil-based ink. I also am an undergraduate researcher in a lab at my school, and the rule apparently is to use ballpoints in lab notebooks because the ink is waterproof. Yet being stubborn, I still use gel pens but I just tape plastic over my notes to prevent the ink from bleeding everywhere when in contact with water. Hence, when Zebra combined gel and ballpoint pens, I knew I had to have it.

That being said, onto the review.

I'm really serious about wanting this ink to handle basically any chemical that my lab has.  Therefore, I treated this ink to a small variety of chemicals popularly found in the lab (and household) and compared it to a generic (borrowed) ball point pen and Pilot Hi-Tec ink. These chemicals are water, ethanol (aka hand sanitizer), and isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol).


Zebra Emulsion Ink resists the most to modification by a variety of common chemicals compared to oil-based ballpoint pen ink and gel pen ink.

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.

Posted on October 1, 2010 and filed under Emulsion Ink, Pen Reviews, Surari, Zebra.