Posts filed under F-301

Zebra 301A Ballpoint Review

Zebra 301A

It has been nearly a year since I wrote the review for the Zebra 301A above - things sometimes have a way of getting overlooked in my Flickr stream. Re-reading what I wrote last January though, my first thoughts still hold true today.

When I see someone using the traditional Zebra F-301 Ballpoint I know they at least care a little about the pen they are writing with. It is a good pen, even a little bit above average, and many people swear by it. I won't go that far but I do understand its appeal. With the 301A, Zebra has gone after those same customers by applying a fresh coat of paint to an already good pen, but did nothing to take it further than that.

The 301A comes in four barrel colors - blue, gray, maroon, and gold - with the same grip and knock as the F-301. The font on the barrel has been "upgraded" too, but I liken it more to a logo you would find at the $2.99 t-shirt shop down at the boardwalk. It is not as classy as the old logo, and combined with some of the new colors it is downright disappointing.

Unlike the original, I have never seen one of these in use by anyone other than myself. I missed the mark in not reviewing this pen when it first came out, but Zebra missed the mark by not making a real upgrade to one of the anchors of their product line. Bring me an F-301 with an emulsion ink refill and then we can talk.

Posted on January 6, 2013 and filed under F-301, Zebra, Pen Reviews.

Review: Zebra F-301 0.7mm Ballpoint

Zebra F-301

Raise your hand if this is your everyday, go to, get it done pen.  I expect more than a few hands will go up for the Zebra F-301 line of pens, and for good reason.  These are exceptionally well made and great looking pens.  For me, I have never quite gotten it with this pen, but it is not for lack of trying.

What I love about this pen is its design.  The sleek stainless steel barrel is great looking, and the barrel length and diameter both hit those just big enough sizes.  The blue plastic in the grip and around the plunger really pop as well.  But as great as it looks, it doesn't quite cut it in the performance department.  The ballpoint ink is standard, and my definition these days of a standard ballpoint is any ballpoint pen that you would pick up that is just laying around.  Something in the non-Jetstream category for sure.  I have a feeling that the look and feel of this pen make the people who use it think that the ink actually performs better than it does.  Does that make sense at all, or just in my head?

More than the ballpoint, I really dislike the hard plastic grip.  It is too firm and too slick for a pen that does require some pressure to write with.  They may not be able to go with a full on squishy gel grip with the barrel diameter limitations, but almost any change in that area would be good.

So, while I am at it, what else would I like to see?  Would it be too much to ask for a Surari branded F-301?  Make it happen Zebra!

Click here for the XL review.

Products used:

Zebra F-301 Stainless Steel Body Retractable Ballpoint Pen - 0.7 mm - Blue from JetPens

Writing Pad from Doane Paper

Posted on December 15, 2010 and filed under Ballpoint, F-301, Pen Reviews, Zebra.