Posts filed under Zebra

Zebra Sarasa Study Gel Ink Pen Review

Oh Japan, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Only from the Land of the Rising Sun are you going to find a pen that purports to track how studious you are by the percentage of ink you have used in the refill. The Zebra Sarasa Study does just that with percentage markers up and down the ink cartridge with a filling cherry blossom as you reach 100% used.

Obviously the idea behind the pen is so flawed its laughable, but maybe that's the point. Just the idea that this pen is monitoring its own usage may be enough that it actually will get you to study more. Your science homework got you down to 10%, your math down to 20%, your doodling down to - wait, that would never happen, right?

Despite the sillines, the Study has all the elements that make the Sarasa an excellent gel ink pen. The lines are sharp, and the ink is dark and rich. It uses the standard Sarasa Clip pen clip, and has a clear barrel and grip so you can see how proficient you are. It is one of the better looking Sarasa models on the market in fact.

I'd use this pen regardless of the tracking mechanism, but maybe I can trick my kids into studying more.

The Zebra Sarasa Study is available in black, blue, and red 0.5mm gel ink for $2.50 each from JetPens.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on April 21, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Zebra, Sarasa.

Zebra Fortia ST Cap Ballpoint Pen Review

One of the latest releases at JetPens, the Zebra Fortia Ballpoint is a surprisingly good entrant in the less than $10 ballpoint category.

This is a classically designed pen. There is no show to be seen, no flair to be tossed around. The Fortia is all business because sometimes that is what you need. Rock your favorite Hello Kitty multi pen in your cube, but swap it out for the Fortia when you head into that meeting. Your boss doesn't understand the depths of your addiction, so no need to own it until the time is right. These are the things us addicts must consider.

The Fortia features a glossy plastic barrel with a metal inner sleeve to give it a nice weight when writing. The design of it reminds me of a wider Pilot Hi-Tec-C Cavalier. Like the Cavalier, the Fortia hides a refill worthy of excellent housing. No, it's not Hi-Tec-C quality, or even Jetstream quality, but for a standard ballpoint it is very good. Smooth, clean, and dark - can't really ask for much more. I generally enjoy Zebra's ballpoint refills and this is no exception.

Should you rush out and buy a Zebra Fortia? It falls into the situational use category for me. It's not game changer, but rather a solid offering if you have the need for this style of pen with a ballpoint refill. For only $8.50 I'd say it provides good value.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on April 4, 2014 and filed under Ballpoint, Pen Reviews, Zebra.

Zebra R-301 Review

Zebra R-301.jpg

The Zebra R-301 is a metal (mostly) rollerball pen that didn't show up on my radar until I was idly browsing JetPens when I should have been working. I can't lie – this happens more than once a week. I haven't really been interested in rollerballs since I'm really happy with my Retro 51 Tornados, but I wouldn't refuse a new player with a nice design.

Now, the Zebra doesn't really compare to the Retro 51s in quality, but they're also around 15% of the price of a Retro 51. There's a lot to love about this pen, so let's jump in!

Zebra R-301 Open.jpg

Look and feel

The Zebra R-301 doesn't look like a cheap pen in my opinion. The stainless steel give it a great shine and feel. Unfortunately, the stainless steel only covers parts the barrel and cap. The grip section is made of a textured plastic that I imagine creates a great divide in opinion.

Upon first looking at the pen, I was displeased by the grip because its diameter is smaller than the body and cap. It just looks odd. But then I started writing and let that little detail go. I enjoy the grip, and if you're a fan of other Zebra pens that have a similar plastic textured grip, you'll probably like this one just fine. It's the kind of design that fosters a "love it or hate it" response.

The pen is fairly light, so long sessions aren't a problem. The cap secures tightly when the pen is closed, but it tends to wobble a bit when posted. Not a huge issue for me, but this will annoy others. If it were just a fraction of a millimeter tight, it would be perfect.

The cartridge on this pen is a good size. It's much longer and wider than an international short cartridge. It pops in with no trouble, and I was able to start writing in seconds.

Zebra R-301 Cartridge.jpg

Writing performance

Now, on to the important part. This pen feels amazing when writing. It glides across all sorts of paper like smooth glass on silk. It's on par with the Retro 51 Schmidt refill. The ink is very dark and bold – something that I love in a black ink.

That said, it's a very wet writer. Zebra claims it's a 0.7mm tip, but the wet ink lays down a wider line. There are absolutely no feed problems with this pen. Ink is always plentiful.

For being such a wet writer, it dries extremely quickly. I did a couple of tests and found that the ink would no longer smudge after 2 or 3 seconds. That's impressive!

On the downside, the ink seems to feather on every paper I tried. Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Apica, or cheap notebook paper – they all suffered from noticeable feathering.

Zebra Retro Kaweco.jpg

Things to note

There are a couple of things to note about the cartridges for this pen. For one, they're proprietary. I didn't look for very long, but I wasn't able to find any satisfactory replacements for this pen. I've thought about trying to refill the cartridge with a syringe, but I don't know if a fountain pen ink would work properly with this pen. Who knows? At this price, I wouldn't be upset if it ruined the pen.

Ah, the price. At JetPens, the Zebra R-301 is currently priced at $3.20. The pen comes with two cartridges. A set of two cartridges (no pen) is priced at $2.30. That's only a $0.90 difference. I guess the pen is worth a lot less than the cartridges. Personally, I wouldn't mind if they made the entire pen out of stainless steel and bumped the price up a bit. That would be an excellent EDC pen.


Despite the issues that I found with this pen, it's actually real joy to use. It's a great rollerball with great flow, bold ink, and durable body. And at this price, it's easy to try.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and

Zebra R-301 Review.jpg
Posted on March 12, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Rollerball, Zebra.

Zebra Sarasa 2+S 2 Color 0.5 mm Gel Ink Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil - Light Blue Body Review

Image via JetPens.

Image via JetPens.

There aren't may things I enjoy more than an epic-length product title. Just kidding - I despise them. What are manufacturers thinking when coming up with this nonsense? Not every feature needs to be listed in the title people.

Despite the extraneous characters, the Zebra Sarasa 2+S is a solid multi pen. The 0.5 mm black and red Sarasa gel ink refills are the star of the show. Each provides a smooth, rich line, and characteristic of most Zebra pens, the line is sharp. That is a personal favorite feature of mine and why I enjoy Zebra pens so much.

The plastic barrel is well constructed and the rubber grip provides good traction when writing. The binder-style clip is as strong as you would expect, allowing you to attach the pen to different sized objects when not in use. Even the pencil is nice!

As with any multi pen, what you gain in versatility you lose in capacity. With heavy use, you will burn through ink refills. Replacements run $1.10 a pop, but at least there is the option to add in blue or green ink.

The Zebra Sarasa 2+S gets the job done. Sometimes that is all you need in a pen.

Zebra Sarasa 2+S

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 22, 2013 and filed under Multi Pen, Pen Reviews, Sarasa, Zebra.

Zebra Arbez Eo Ballpoint Review

Zebra Arbez Eo

The Zebra Corporation holds a competition each year for young designers where the winner gets their product produced under the Arbez name. The 2011 winner was the Piirto, an icepick-shaped ballpoint from a Finnish designer. In 2012, the British winner designed a set of pens around the London transportation system, with the double decker bus styled Eo 0.7 mm ballpoint taking center stage.

The design of the Eo is fantastic. It is unique and eye-catching, but may not fit everyones grip comfort needs. One side of the barrel is flat, the opposite side is rounded, and the other two sides gradually connect the two. Essentially, a capital D shape. For me it works well, but others may not like it.

If that doesn't bother you, then this is a fun pen to own. The bright red barrel features a slick white racing stripe running the length of the barrel, and both the tip and end caps sport a translucent ink color section. I find myself continually marveling at how well designed this pen is.

For a standard ballpoint it writes well. The lines are clean and sharp and very little white shows through. I enjoyed it but I wonder if the Arbez competition would be better suited to design around the Sarasa gel ink refill instead?

Regardless, a part of London's transportation system now resides on my desk. Time to take a ride!

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on September 5, 2013 and filed under Pen Reviews, Zebra, Arbez.