Posts filed under Ballpoint

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen Review

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

I love pocket pens. They're cute and practical and easy to have always at hand. I have small hands, so pocket pens fit easily and comfortably in my grip. If you have larger hands, that might not always be the case. Pocket pens are not comfortable or practical or many folks. But this pen! This one has you covered. The Zebra SL-F1 ST ballpoint pen is a pocket pen that telescopes open to be a full-sized ballpoint pen. Kind of like a magic trick. Or a transformer. It even makes a satisfying click when you expand and retract it, like any properly fidgety pen should. This pen wasn't just designed, it was engineered. And even apart from its magical properties, it is a very fine pen.

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen

When shortened, the pen has a tip cover that retracts as it expands, and re-emerges when contracted, so there's no risk of ink leakage in a pocket. The metal construction is sturdy and has a good weight to it. The finish is a pretty, vibrant blue, and it comes in a number of nice colors. The grip is smooth ridges, so it has good traction but no sharp edges. The edge where the barrel separates over the interior tube is slightly sharper, but not enough to cause any irritation to the hand. My hand doesn't even touch the pen at that part. The clip is metal and very solid, but has good flexibility.

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen Refill

The refill is nothing to get too excited about--it's a fairly standard ballpoint. It writes smoothly and consistently with no skips and only a few blobs. It's certainly better than the big-box plastic ballpoints that you find on every public counter.

I'm in love with the simple practicality of this pen. It's become a staple in my purse. In fact, it slipped so easily into my life that I almost forgot I needed to review it.

Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen Barrel

JetPens sells this pen for $7.75, which I think is an absolute steal. I would not have flinched if it had been twice that. If you have any use at all for a pocket ballpoint pen (don't we all?), get you this one.

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


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Zebra SL-F1 ST Ballpoint Pen
Posted on December 13, 2018 and filed under Zebra, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Review

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Review

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

The Faber-Castell Essentio ballpoint pen is a classy pen with a stylish carbon fiber body that looks great with any outfit or carry.

There's a lot of pens available today that use the popular Parker style cartridge, which means that there are plenty of options in the way of third-party refills. This is always an interesting genre to me because I know that I can choose a pen based on aesthetics or feel and know that I can completely control most of the writing experience by replacing a refill.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen

The Essentio is a bit on the larger side of the ballpoint pen scale, but it's also incredibly comfortable to use. The rubber grip section has a soft feel and a matte finish, which make it both comfortable and resistant to fingerprints.

The body is made of a carbon fiber (or something similar) material that lends a classy aesthetic as well as a light weight. It's shiny without being overly so, and there's a small and classy Faber-Castell logo toward the top of the body.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Clip

The clip is fairly light compared to most other pens I've used. I wish it were a bit stronger, but given the overall light weight of the pen, it does a great job of keeping the pen secured to whatever you attach it to. The clip has a slight curve that adds a bit of visual interest to the pen.

The click mechanism is smooth, reliable, and fairly quiet. The top of the nock has a concave surface that feels great on your thumb. While it's not loud or overly clicky, using the nock on this pen is incredibly satisfying and tactile.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Refill

Like I mentioned at the beginning, the Essentio uses a Parker-style refill. The included refill is a Faber-Castell bold refill that is actually stupendous. It reminds me quite a bit of the Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 refill, which is high praise. It's incredibly smooth, dark, and dependable. When so many ballpoint refills can suffer from skipping or dryness, it's always a relief when the stock refill performs so well. Most of the time, I replace the refill with an EasyFlow, but that's not necessary in this case.

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint

Writing with this pen is a great experience. The combination of the size, light weight, smooth refill, and comfortable grip section make for a great writer. At $35, the Faber-Castell Essentio a bit on the expensive side, but it still falls within the normal range for a well-performing ballpoint pen. There are lots of attractive options in this price range, and this one should be on your list for gifts and affordable ballpoints. It's a great value and excellent performer. And, if the included refill isn't your thing, you have so many options for replacement.

(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, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pen Writing
Posted on November 21, 2018 and filed under Faber-Castell, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.

Ohto Horizon EU Ballpoint Pen Review

Ohto Horizon EU Ballpoint Pen

Do you ever dream about making your own pen? If you are reading this blog, you have probably at least considered the thought. I think about it too. And I’m not even talking about this from the perfect pen standpoint, but rather something fun and functional that I would like to use every day. The Ohto Horizon EU Ballpoint is nearly that pen.

From the moment I unboxed it I loved it. The design, in particular, stood out to me. The yellow barrel pops, and the hex design gives it that added bit of coolness. When I held it to write with, I noticed the hex barrel morphs down into an almost-round grip section. There are a few light ridges you can see and barely feel when writing, but they don’t get in the way. They don’t necessarily help with grippiness though, as it could get slick if your fingers are wet.

Ohto Horizon EU Ballpoint Pen Grip

The refill is engaged by pushing down the knock on the back of pen, then retracted by pressing the button on the side of the barrel. It is snappy and fun. Like, too much fun. Click. Snap. Click. Snap. Click … you get the picture! And the clip is as nice as the rest of the pen. It’s strong, and keeps a low profile.

Ohto Horizon EU Ballpoint Pen Knock

With all of my raving about it, why is it only nearly perfect? You guessed it - the refill. It’s merely good, and if I wasn’t spoiled by better refills, I might even think it is excellent. My immediate thought was “I hope I can swap this out for something better,” then I unscrewed the tip of the barrel, pulled out the refill to see what it was, and let out an “Ugh!”

Ohto Horizon EU Ballpoint Pen Refill

This is a weird refill shape and size. Heck, I don’t even know what you would call it. It’s small and skinny, close to multi pen size, and has tiny wings on the side of the barrel. I didn’t think there was any way I could find a better refill to put into it.

And I was wrong!

Turns out, there are other Japanese pens that take this style of refill, and both Pilot and Uni make ones that match. There is even a Hi-Tec-C model, which I have subsequently ordered two of (black and blue 0.4 mm) for my Ohto Horizon. Maybe it can be my perfect pen after all.

I must not be the only one who thinks that, because at the time of writing they are sold out at JetPens. And they should be. The barrel colors look fantastic, the pen feels great, and it’s only $8.50. I think you are going to be seeing a lot of this pen, especially in my pocket.


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, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Ohto Horizon EU Ballpoint Pen Review
Posted on July 30, 2018 and filed under Ohto, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.