In my never ending quest to find better rollerball pens, I somehow totally missed the Tombow Zoom 505. I know I've seen this pen on JetPens many times, but it just didn't register in my searches or the aesthetic requirements at the time. Over the past few weeks, I've finally given this pen an honest try, and I can't believe I didn't try it sooner.
The rollerball market has always been a little slim on choices, and that's still largely true today. With the popularity of the Schmidt P8126 and similar refills, the rollerball market has boomed recently. The Tombow Zoom 505 takes a different route, though. The included refill is a 0.5mm replaceable rollerball cartridge. When it runs out, just swap it out for an entirely new cartridge. These cartridges just look like miniature Pilot Precise V5 pens, and that comparison goes a little farther than in looks alone.
A common downfall for many rollerball pens is the writing experience. It must be difficult to design and manufacture a reliable rollerball refill that also lays down a crisp line and feels smooth while doing so. I've had my fair share of disappointments over the years, but the Zoom 505 is not one of them.
The Zoom 505 refill is incredibly smooth. It's an absolute pleasure to write with, and it also managed to lay down a stunningly crisp line. There's hardly any bleed or feathering, and I haven't noticed a single skip or stutter while writing. It's an incredibly dependable and smooth writer. I compare it in my mind to the Schmidt P8126, but it has a finer line and feels a bit drier than the former. Still, it's a great performer and I really enjoy using it. The refills aren't terribly expensive either, and that opens your options up to colors (ahem, just blue) and other sizes as well. You can pick 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 1.0mm tips, but the only color options are black and blue. This is a shame! If only the Pilot Precise pens actually fit inside this Tombow body...
The exterior of the pen is shiny and elegant. It reminds me of the Pilot Metropolitan with a shiny lacquer on top of it. It's a little bland for my tastes, but the writing performance helps me get past that issue very quickly. Despite the bland exterior, it's still classy and well-made. This pen has no problem blending in during an executive meeting, but it also works great for jotting down notes while waiting in line to catch a bus into town.
The refill is excellent, but the grip section is what really sells me on the overall experience with this pen. It's a delightfully soft and contoured grip that seems to hug my fingers without being so soft that it becomes hard to accurately control the pen as I write. It's a hard line to walk, but the Zoom 505 does it brilliantly. Long writing sessions are not a problem due to the grip, but it also has some help thanks to some small weights in the bottom of the pen that provides the perfect balance while holding the pen in writing position.
The cap is the same metal material as the body, and it fastens to the grip section securely. I've never felt like this will uncap by mistake in my bag. The clip is also strong enough to get the job done without being annoyingly loose or tight. The goal of any clip is that "just right" zone, and this pen falls into that category.
Overall, the Tombow Zoom 505 is a fantastic rollerball pen that writes a smooth, crisp line and feels great in the hand. It makes a great gift for those who aren't sure about the idea of paying more than $3 for a pen, but it's also a stellar everyday writer. The Zoom 505 is available in black and brown and can be yours for about $20.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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