Posts filed under Zebra

Zebra DelGuard 0.3 mm Mechanical Pencil Review

There is no getting around the fact that 0.3 mm lead is fragile. It’s my preferred lead width when available, and I accept that it is going to break more often than wider diameter lead. The Zebra DelGuard proposes to fix that issue with a special internal mechanism to prevent breakage, and it works like a champ.

I previously reviewed the 0.5 mm Zebra DelGuard and found the same thing - the mechanism worked as advertised. But I don’t have a breakage problem with 0.5 mm lead to begin with. So yes, the mechanism worked fine in the 0.5 mm, but it wasn’t the best test. 0.3 mm lead, on the other hand, is very fragile and needs the added benefit of what the DelGuard offers.

I haven’t written novel-length notes with the 0.3 mm DelGuard yet, but in the time I have used it, I haven’t broken the lead one time. With my previous favorite 0.3 mm mechanical pencil - the Alvin Draft-Matic - breaking the lead every now and then was the price of admission, and I accepted it. I don’t have to accept that as fact anymore with the DelGuard.

The Pentel Orenz 0.2 mm Mechanical Pencil solved this problem a different way by having an extended pipe where the lead barely poked out, but the look and feel of writing with metal as opposed to graphite didn’t work for me. The DelGuard does it in a more traditional style and functional manner.

As far as negatives go I only have minor design quibbles. Why have a white clip with gold writing when the rest of the pencil has a black and silver style? It’s not egregious and doesn’t keep me from using the pencil, but that’s one of those things I find odd. I’m guessing the clip color is to designate between the 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm sizes. Otherwise, it is a comfortable pencil to write with, and the eraser is actually works. If you like the plastic barrel Uni-ball Kuru Toga then you will like the DelGuard as well.

Innovation in basic writing instruments is a challenge for most companies, so it’s nice to see brands try things like this from time to time. Especially when it solves a problem and works this well.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on March 2, 2016 and filed under Zebra, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.5mm Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

You can never have enough gel pens, which is the rationale I use when I continue adding more to my collection. With so many options out there, it can take some time to really give them all a fair shake. I've been using the Sarasa Clip 0.5mm for the last couple of months as a daily driver, and while it wasn't love at first write, it's won me over as a top contender.

There are a few things that make a gel pen great, and one of the most important ones is how it feels when it writes. Is it smooth or scratchy? Is it free-flowing or dry? This is where the Sarasa Clip threw me off at first. I'm so used to writing with a Pilot Juice that I've started to think that all pens should write exactly like that. While that's a compliment to the Juice line, it's not necessarily true. The Sarasa is different, and that's not a bad thing.

The Sarasa Clip 0.5mm refill provides more feedback when you're writing. It's a smooth writer, but you feel more texture when writing on the page. It took me a few days to take this in. I didn't like it at first, but I eventually started to enjoy the different feel — and that's exactly what it is. It doesn't affect the writing performance at all. This pen writes very well, but it just provides a more tactile experience when moving across the paper.

Of course, all of these observations are probably different in the various tip sizes offered by Zebra. The 0.5mm is somewhere between ultra-fine and medium, but 0.5mm refills in general are fairly smooth. It's not until you get below the 0.4mm range that you might start noticing scratchy qualities, so that's not something I expect in a 0.5mm. Still, calling the 0.5 Sarasa "scratchy" isn't the right term, because that's usually a negative attribute.

Apart from the feel of the refill on the paper, the pen writes fantastically. Never a rough start, skip, or blotch. It's a top performer in the gel pen world.

I went with a blue for this pen, and the saturation of the color is a bit too deep for my perferences in a standard blue. This reminds me more of a navy instead of a standard blue. For reference, I think Kaweco Royal Blue is a great standard for my idea of a general blue.

The body of the pen is light and very comfortable. Honestly, there's not much to say about it as it's exactly like most other comparable gel pens out there. That's not a bad thing - there's just not much to say about it because it works well. One thing that I really do love about the pen body is the clip. It opens wide and it's pretty strong, which adds a certain level of utility to the pen.

As far as putting the refill into other pen bodies, it looks very similar to the Pilot G-2 that so many pens standardize on. I think all you'd need is a plug for the end of the refill so that the nock mechanism would be able to operate.

Overall, the Zebra Sarasa Clip is a great pen, and easily one of my top 5 gel pens. The Sarasa Clip is available in a lot of colors, and comes in at just over two bucks for each one. Even better, you can buy an entire bundle with 20 colors for a bit cheaper than buying them individually. I highly recommend the Sarasa Clip 0.5mm.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on September 23, 2015 and filed under Pen Reviews, Sarasa, Zebra.

An Introduction To The Brush Pen Sampler

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

A few months ago, I wrote about my introduction to the brush pen genre with the Pilot Petit3. Shortly after that, JetPens began offering a sampler pack of 5 popular brush pens under the $30 mark. I ordered one right after seeing it, and I've been trying them out since. The main thing I've learned? Not all brush pens are created equal. Each one has a purpose, and as long as you understand that, you'll get along just fine.

The criteria

Recently, JetPens released a fantastic video that explains the different qualities of brush pens and how that affects the writing, drawing, lettering, etc. experience. I'm using the same qualities in my review, so let's have a quick look at what they are:

  • Tip type: This describes what the tip is made out of. This could be natural hair bristles, synthetic bristles, or felt. Depending on the type of material used in the tip, the rest of the characteristics of the pen will vary greatly.
  • Firmness: This can range from soft, medium, and firm. Soft tips will create wider line variation, but require more control and finesse. Firm tips are easier to use, but do not have great line variation.
  • Fineness: This can range from fine, medium, and broad. This refers to the line width the pen produces, similar to your fountain pen nib sizes. Brush pens with a soft firmness can hit all three line widths.
  • Elasticity: You guessed it, this refers to how well the brush tip can hold its original shape after being expanded with additional pressure. Basically, bristle tip pens will maintain the wide shape once you let off, and you'll have to fiddle with it a bit to make it fine again, whereas a felt tip pen will immediately return to its original width when the stroke is complete.
  • Ink flow: Again, if you're familiar with fountain pens, this one will make sense. This refers to how much ink comes out when making marks, similar to how we refer to a nib as "wet" or "dry."
  • Saturation: Another common term with fountain pens. This refers to the coloration of the ink. In the case of a black ink, a saturated ink will create a deep, dark black on the page, whereas a not-so-saturated ink will make a gray or brown shaded black mark.

Now, with that out of the way, let's take a look at these 5 pens.

Kuretake Disposable Pocket Brush Pen, Fine

The Kuretake brush pen is a fine felt tip pen that is really easy to use. It's disposable, which means that once the ink dries up, you throw it away. The barrel is a sparkly dark blue color with gold text. The cap sits firmly on the pen when closed.

  • Tip type: Felt.
  • Firmness: I think this pen errs on the side of firm, but you can get some decent variation if you press hard enough.
  • Fineness: Fine
  • Elasticity: The tip returns to its original shape immediately.
  • Ink flow: Very good ink flow, as it requires the slightest pressure to put ink on the page.
  • Saturation: Very dark saturation.

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen, Soft

Of the felt tip brush pens in this pack, the Tombow is my favorite. I love how it writes, even if it isn't so pretty on the outside. This pen also comes with a handy little lettering guide, but I honestly haven't found much use for it. The body is a dark gray color with white text and lots of little graphics.

  • Tip type: Felt.
  • Firmness: I'd call this a medium because you can get a bit of line variation fairly easily.
  • Fineness: Fine to medium.
  • Elasticity: The tip returns to its original shape almost immediately.
  • Ink flow: Very good ink flow — requires almost no pressure to make a mark.
  • Saturation: Very dark saturation.

Zebra Disposable Brush Pen, Super Fine

The Zebra, even though its called "super fine," is very similar to the Tombow. You can get a decent amount of line variation, but it doesn't write as well as the Tombow. It's an excellent pen, but just a couple marks behind the Tombow. The body looks very similar to the Kuretake — dark sparkly blue with gold text, so it's very easy to confuse them.

  • Tip type: Felt tip.
  • Firmness: Firm to medium, but not as soft as the Tombow.
  • Fineness: Fine with the ability to reach medium.
  • Elasticity: Returns to original shape very quickly.
  • Ink flow: Very good ink flow, but a tad drier than the previous two.
  • Saturation: Very dark saturation.

Pilot Pocket Brush Pen, Soft

Ah, the Pilot brush pen. Of the broad, "lots of variation" group, this is my favorite. The pen is black with gold Japanese lettering on the body and red lettering on the cap. There isn't a word of English on this pen, so I only know it's the Pilot from a process of elimination.

  • Tip type: Felt.
  • Firmness: Very soft.
  • Fineness: Capable of making fine to broad lines easily.
  • Elasticity: Returns to original shape fairly easily, but might need some help after making broad lines.
  • Ink flow: Exceptional ink flow for such a wide tip.
  • Saturation: Very dark saturation.

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for Calligraphy

Of the bunch, this is the only bristle tip pen, and it's a hoot to use. This one takes the most practice and patience when using, and it's absolutely not suited for writing. The pen body is black some minimal silver text on the cap. Also, of the bunch, this pen uses an ink cartridge, so you can refill it after its empty.

  • Tip type: Synthetic bristles.
  • Firmness: Soft — very soft.
  • Fineness: Medium to broad. You can get an insane level of variation from this one.
  • Elasticity: Needs help returning to a medium point. It likes to stay pretty broad when making lines.
  • Ink flow: The ink flow is "good enough" for most things, but it's not nearly as good as the other 4.
  • Saturation: The saturation also leaves something to be desired, as the lines can look a bit brown on the page.


All in all, this sampler pack is a great way to break into the brush pen genre. For me, I still feel like I have no idea how to use these properly, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the heck out of them. I don't consider myself an artist, but these pens make me want to draw, and for that I'll eternally love them.

If you're curious about brush pens, I highly suggest you start here.

Posted on April 1, 2015 and filed under Tombow, Pentel, Kuretake, Pen Reviews, Pilot, Zebra, Brush Pen.

Zebra Sarasa Gel Multi Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

In the world of multi pens, there are probably hundreds (thousands?) of different pen, refill, maker, body, and color options available. For the most part, the multi pen version of your favorite gel or ballpoint will likely be just as good as the regular single refill pen. But, there are still differences, and that's why picking up multi pens can be so much fun.

As a kid, I always treasured my Bic 4-Color because of the versatility of having 4 colors (4!) in a single pen. But, as you probably know, those aren't the best refills. Luckily, there are many, many options out there to fit your needs/wants.

The Zebra Sarasa gel multi pen fits a specific genre for my uses: it's inexpensive, it has gel refills, and it writes really well. In this genre, the Zebra is my absolute favorite (possibly until Pilot decide to offer a Juice multi pen, but who knows if that will happen). With that said, let's get into a bit more detail on this little gem.


Like any good multi pen, the Sarasa has plenty of options for you to choose from. As far as the internals go, you can get a few different configurations (every option is in 0.5mm): - 2 gel and mechanical pencil - 3 gel - 3 gel and mechanical pencil - 4 gel and mechanical pencil

After the internals are chosen, you still have more options for body colors. The colors are slightly different for each configuration.


To be honest, some multi pens can feel cheap, uncomfortable, or make rattling noises when writing. This isn't the case for the Sarasa. The plastic body has a sturdy build with a nice strong clip — similar to the single refill Sarasa version. There's a nice rubberized grip section that makes writing just a bit more comfortable, and the barrel is a nice width for writing comfortably. I've used this pen for some long note-taking sessions, and it's never been uncomfortable to use.

Oh, and the clip has an auto-retract feature that retracts the refill if you clip it onto something (like a shirt or bag pocket).

The refills

Ah, yes. The refills — one of the most important aspects. If the Sarasa multi pen refills write any differently than the original Sarasa Clips, I can't tell. They're really good.

The ink flow is smooth and consistent, there are never any skips or hard starts, and the lines on the page are super crisp. For me, it's an absolute pleasure to write with. I've never had the ink act in a way that was undesired or unpleasant. Again, it's really good.

Now, these aren't the same refills as you'd find in the Zebra Sharbo X bodies, so just be aware of that going in. As far as I know, the Sarasa refills are proprietary and only fit this one series, but I could be wrong. I only have so many multi pens around to test.

At the end of the day, the quality of the refills for the price make this a stupid-good value. You're spending between 6 and 10 dollars for the pen and refills, which is a bargain. The refills are also inexpensive at just over a buck. Of course, these refills are skinny and won't last anywhere near as long as a regular pen, but that's the price we pay for having options.

Wrap up

I've tried a lot of multi pens, and I've always been impressed and happy with the Sarasa. If you're looking for a 0.5mm gel ink multi pen, I'd highly recommend these.

Posted on March 25, 2015 and filed under Multi Pen, Pen Reviews, Zebra.