Posts filed under Zebra

Zebra Techo TS-3 Mini Mechanical Pencil Review

Zebra Techo TS-3 Mini Mechanical Pencil Review

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

Over the last several years, I've certainly tried a fair share of mechanical pencils. These range from really high end to super affordable and ubiquitous. One genre I was reluctant to try was the ultra compact mechanical pencil market. The allure of an incredibly small and portable writing instrument is adorable at first glance, but I always figured it would be too small to use properly. As I dip my toes into this pool for the first time, I've decided to try the diminutive Zebra Techo TS-3.

First things first: this pencil makes quite a strong first impression. The tiny size is unique and not something you see often. The initial surprise of "OMG, it's adorable" is (in my opinion) worth the $5.25 price tag alone.

Once you pick it up and start writing, you'll quickly notice how much additional effort it takes to draw your usual letters. Your handwriting doesn't quite look like your own. In my case, I resorted to writing in all-caps because it's the only way I could write legible letters with such a small tool. Still, it was fun! How could something so small still work?

Zebra Techo TS-3 Mini Mechanical Pencil

After writing a few quick lines, my fingers and hand started to feel some fatigue, which quickly intensified as I continued writing. Phew, time for a break! Unfortunately, I could never write more than a few lines before needing to put it down and let my hand stretch out a bit. After the initial fad wore off, I quickly realized that there are major tradeoffs to such a small pencil. Sure, I knew this in my head before I even picked it up, but now I precisely understood the limitations of the design.

In my experience, a slim writing instrument is still usable as long as it's still a standard length. This gives enough balance and a good resting place for the body on the top part of your hand (you know, that place between your thumb and index finger). That little bit of stability goes a long way. Likewise, a really short pen is also easy to manage as long as it is thick enough. Think about using a Kaweco Liliput without the cap posted. It's not ideal, but you can still write in your usual style without too much discomfort.

Zebra Techo TS-3 Mini Mechanical Pencil Eraser

As the Zebra Techo TS-3 demonstrates, a writing instrument that is both slim and short is incredibly difficult to manage -- at least for me and my standard three finger grip. There just isn't enough solid object to hold on to for my fingers to properly make the letters and lines they've been trained to create over my lifetime of using "standard" size tools. It's just a no-go for regular writing, and I can't recommend it all for that purpose.

However, it does have some major advantages. The main one being the man small spaces you can store this pencil. It can fit in most spiral bound notebooks perfectly. It can clip on to a cover of a notebook while still allowing it to close. In bags, purses, and some wallets, it can stow away into a seam without disrupting the functionality of the bag at all. You'll be surprised by all the little spaces this little guy can hide.

Unfortunately, it's not a good fit for slipping into your pants pockets since the lead pipe doesn't retract. You're liable to poke (or stab?) yourself frequently with this little guy in your pocket.

Zebra Techo TS-3 Mini Mechanical Pencil Comparison

Ultimately, I still like the Zebra Techo TS-3 strictly as a backup utilitarian option. It's not the first thing you reach for, and possibly not the second. But when all other options have failed or aren't nearby, it gets the job done. You definitely don't want to write the next American novel with this, but it's great for doing some quick math, jotting down a quick note, or throwing in your bag as a "just in case" pencil.

(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!

Zebra Techo TS-3 Mini Mechanical Pencil Writing
Posted on May 1, 2019 and filed under Zebra, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

Zebra Sparky-2 Highlighter Review

Zebra Sparky-2 Highlighter Review

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

Highlighters are one of those stationery items that many people keep on hand without fussing about the features and quality of the ink, tips, and other items. Even though highlighters aren't an exciting genre of our world, they are something you expect to work well when you need them. When it's time to mark up a book or some notes, it's good to have options. The Zebra Sparky-2 highlighters are great at both making marks and providing a great amount of variety in color and tip size.

Double-sided highlighters aren't a new invention, and you could even argue that they're the new baseline these days. Who doesn't want the option of a thick or thin line from the same pen? Even so, manufacturers have to tick several products and offer a compelling product. The Sparky-2 is a well-performing highlighter with a couple of nice features to set it apart from the pack.

Zebra Sparky-2 Highlighter Colors

The liquid ink is resistant to both light and water, making it a great option for annotating notes and textbooks. Your marks will stand the test of time and play nicely with most inks and papers. Fountain pen inks can sometimes bleed and smear under a highlighter, but this is a problem that impacts any highlighter. With gel pens, ballpoints, and pencils, you'll never deal with any smearing or bluring.

The ink is also very bright and fluorescent without being too dark. I've used highlighters in the past that made it difficult to read the text or notes that they covered. This is not the case with the Zebra Sparky-2 highlighters, and I'd even prefer the green highlighter to be a bit darker.

Zebra Sparky-2 Highlighters

Another great trick that the Spark-2 pens offer is a protective covering around the tip. The purpose of this small sleeve is two-fold: one, it adds rigidity to the tip so that it doesn't collapse over time, and it also prevents ink from getting on a ruler or straightedge if you run the highlighter alongside it. It's not something I've ever wished for, but now I wish that all highlighters were made this way!

Zebra Sparky-2 Highlighter Cap

As an added bonus, both caps can post to their sibling cap, meaning you don't have to keep trck of these small, clear caps. Losing a cap is a death sentence for the liquid ink tip!

Finally, the number of color options available in this line is astounding. At a total of ten (10!) colors, you should be able to differentiate your notes and research with no problem. Add in the fact that each pen has two sizes of tip, and that's effectively 20 highlighters.

The three-pack of yellow, green, and pink that I'm using comes in at just $6, which is a great deal for such a great and useful product. If you spring for the 10-pack of all colors, they'll come in just under $16, which is also an incredible value.

Pick up a set for yourself or the industrious student in your life!

(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!

Zebra Sparky-2 Highlighter Writing
Posted on February 20, 2019 and filed under Zebra, Highlighter, Pen Reviews.

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Review

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Review

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

Back in my high school and college days, the Zebra F-402 was one of my prized possessions. It was classy, dependable, and comfortable. In that period of my life, the 0.7mm ballpoint didn't bother me too much, but I did wish for a bolder line and smoother feel.

Many years later, Zebra have delivered on that wish. The Zebra G-402 is the same pen with one very important difference: the refill. Instead of the classic ballpoint refill, this pen is equipped with a Sarasa refill. The possibilities for refill tip size and colors are much greater with this refill type, and that's really exciting.

The included refill is a 0.5mm black refill that writes smooth and leaves a bold, crisp line on the page. I've always been a fan of the Sarasa line, and this variant is no slouch.

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen

The rest of the pen is identical to the older ballpoint version, so if you've ever used one of those, you'll have a great idea of what to expect with this one. For me, the grip is comfortable for most short writing sessions and the weight feels great in my hand. The clip is strong enough for most circumstances and the stainless steel barrel is resilient to scrapes and bumps. Over the course of its lifetime, the steel develops more character and the rubber grip starts to shine a bit more from use.

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Sarasa

The G-402 uses the same refills as the Sarasa multi-pen line, which are easy to replace. One thing I'll mention is that the direction of the spring actually matters with this pen! If you install it the wrong way, it slips down the body of the refill too far and doesn't provide and resistance.

The Sarasa multi-pen line of refills isn't as extensive as others, but it certainly provides more options over the standard black and blue that Zebra offers on the ballpoint variant.

JetPens stock all the various options, so you're sure to find a combination that fits your style or need for every situation.

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Refills

I've been so delighted to use an old favorite with a fresh refill. I'm sure if I'd never used the F-402 years ago that I'd still think this was an attractive pen. It has a classic and professional design that a lot of people can appreciate. While the pen isn't available on JetPens (as of this writing), you can pick them up at Amazon and peruse the various refills from the selection that JetPens keep in stock.

(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!

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Writing
Posted on February 6, 2019 and filed under Zebra, Gel, Pen Reviews.