Posts filed under Zebra

Zebra Sarasa 3 3 Color Gel Ink Multi Pen Review

The Zebra Sarasa multi pen line has been around for a while and their latest release brings the solid barrel Zebra Sarasa 3 3 Color Gel into the fold. Previous versions have included a pencil component or a translucent barrel, but Zebra has gone back to the basics with this model.

While there is no new functionalilty in the Sarasa 3, this multi pen continues to be one of the best values on the market. For under $6 you get three high quality ink refills - black, blue, red - in 0.5 mm, solid knock mechanisms, and Zebra's famously strong binder clip. The pen is lightweight, balanced, and has a solid rubber grip too. What more can you ask for?

If you are new to the gel ink pen world you should know that Zebra's gel inks are fantastic. All the colors are rich and solid, with the blue gel ink being the standout. It is a little deeper and darker than most other brands stock blue inks, which I enjoy. I even went with the Navy barrel to match the ink. Not really.

When you have a dead-solid product like the Zebra Sarasa Multi Pen it makes for an easy review. While it's not a pen that is a mandatory carry item for me, it has proven to be a great pen to have hanging around the house for quick notes or at work for some quick color coding. Definitely a keeper.

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

Posted on August 8, 2014 and filed under Multi Pen, Pen Reviews, 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.

Overall

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 App.net.)

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