When I first saw the Zebra Sharbo X pop up in the new items list at JetPens a few months ago, I thought to myself that I would never spend that much on a pen, let alone a multi pen. I'd take a glance at them from time to time, each time closing the window saying, nah, I just don't need to spend that money. All was well and good, but then friend of the blog Der Bingle chimed in on how much he liked his, and oh by the way, he has an extra one for sale because he upgraded to a different model. Can you say enabler? :)
I still wasn't completely sold, but I thought about it for a week or two before finally sealing the deal with a quick Paypal transaction, and the Sharbo X was on its way. The model I purchased was the Zebra Sharbo X ST3 Pen Body Component - Black, which is the exact model I would have bought if I had my choice of the entire line. When I opened the package, I was immediately in love with it. Not only was it in perfect shape, but the look of it and the feel of the barrel in my hand had me at hello.
The pen body is a coated brass, and while the weight of it is greater than all of the plastic barrel pens I normally use, it is not overly heavy. The best way I can put it is that it is perfectly balanced. I feel the weight of the pen in my hand, but it has no effect on my writing. It just feels right. The twist mechanism is the best I have seen in a multi pen. It is designed in a way so that as you rotate the top half station to station, the pen will continue twisting in that same direction forever. As Adam mentioned in his review last week, in cheaper pens, you often have to reverse your twist so as not to unscrew the barrel, which is a huge annoyance. It doesn't make a sound when rotating either - just a solid bump you feel when lining up the cartridge.
All of the Sharbo X pens on the market right now have three cartridge slots, one of which is dedicated to the pencil cartridge (you cannot have three ink cartridges, but it looks like a 3+1 is in the pipeline in Japan). I am not a big pencil user, but I'm thinking I might replace the traditional lead with a colored lead of some sort, but I haven't done that yet. Otherwise, the two ink cartridges are fantastic. If you have used a Zebra Sarasa pen then you have a good baseline of how this pen writes. My pen came with two gel ink cartridges - 0.4mm black and 0.4mm mandarin orange, and I think they write a bit smoother than the standard Sarasa pens. The lines from both colors are nice and clean with no skipping at all. The only real concern about the ink is how long each cartridge will last, because the refills are rather tiny and expensive. That is still to be determined over time, but I did order a few extra inks just in case: 0.4mm Royal Blue and 0.4mm Crimson Red gel, plus 0.7mm Fluorescent Pink ballpoint. That's right Der Bingle, I am defacing your Sharbo X with Fluorescent Pink!
This is a beautiful pen, and I am glad to have been shown the light. The best compliment I can give is that I plan on buying another one - or maybe two.
Click here for the XL review.