It's been a while since I've tried out a new hybrid ballpoint pen, as I've been really satisfied by what Uniball and Pilot offer in their (respective) Jetstream and Acroball lines. That being said, it's great to see other options out there to keep the competition healthy and in motion.
My most recent exposure to the hybrid ballpoint genre comes from Zebra. The Zebra Surari Airfit Grip ballpoint pen is a comfortable, colorful ballpoint pen that uses Zebra's own Surari emulsion ink refills. Unsurprisingly, the Surari ink puts down a smooth, crisp, and dark line without any problems. It's a great pen, but it does have a drawback or two.
First, though, let's look at what sets this pen apart from the other Zebra Surari pens: the Airfit Grip. This pen features a soft, squishy grip section that makes it more comfortable to write with. I've never been a huge fan of squishy grip sections, so I can't say I enjoy this grip. That being said, it's not so soft that it makes holding the pen steady a chore. It's stable enough to make holding the pen an easy enough task. I can't say with any confidence that the soft grip reduces fatigue, but it's a nice feature. If, like me, you prefer a stiffer grip, check out the regular Zebra Surari pens. The color I have is blue-green, and I think it looks great. Although, you have six other colors to choose from.
Writing with this pen is mostly a pleasure. The lines are crisp and dark, and the ink has no problem keeping up with my fast scribbles. The only problem I've had so far is the tendency for the tip to become scratchy if I hold the pen at too much of an angle. When I write, I tend to hold the pen at a 30-40 degree angle. In my (very) informal testing, the Zebra performs flawlessly between 90 and 50 degrees (where 90 degrees is perpendicular to the paper). This is a problem for me since it means I have to adjust my writing style. The scratching doesn't affect the writing performance of the pen, but it does annoy me. Because of this, I'll definitely reach for a Jetstream or Acroball if they're available.
Another thing to consider with the Zebra line is ink color options. From what I can tell, you can only choose from the standard black, blue, and red. This isn't a bad thing, but when you consider that Uniball and Pilot both offer a few more colors (around seven each), a definite gap starts to emerge. The price point between all three brands is negligible, so it really comes down to personal taste and preference. Finally, when you consider that Pilot and Uniball both offer several multi-pen configurations while Zebra offers none, the gap widens.
For me, the Zebra doesn't really fit in my writing arsenal due to the way I hold my pen when writing. The lack of color options also hurts it when compared directly. The Uniball and Pilot lines make more sense right now, but I'm excited to see how Zebra expands this line in the future.
The Zebra Surari Airfit Grip is a great pen despite my complaints. If you like the design or colors that they offer, do yourself a favor and pick one up. The Airfit Grip line only comes with a 0.5mm refill, but you can purchase 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 1.0mm sizes separately in black, blue, and red.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.
Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!