You can never have enough gel pens, which is the rationale I use when I continue adding more to my collection. With so many options out there, it can take some time to really give them all a fair shake. I've been using the Sarasa Clip 0.5mm for the last couple of months as a daily driver, and while it wasn't love at first write, it's won me over as a top contender.
There are a few things that make a gel pen great, and one of the most important ones is how it feels when it writes. Is it smooth or scratchy? Is it free-flowing or dry? This is where the Sarasa Clip threw me off at first. I'm so used to writing with a Pilot Juice that I've started to think that all pens should write exactly like that. While that's a compliment to the Juice line, it's not necessarily true. The Sarasa is different, and that's not a bad thing.
The Sarasa Clip 0.5mm refill provides more feedback when you're writing. It's a smooth writer, but you feel more texture when writing on the page. It took me a few days to take this in. I didn't like it at first, but I eventually started to enjoy the different feel — and that's exactly what it is. It doesn't affect the writing performance at all. This pen writes very well, but it just provides a more tactile experience when moving across the paper.
Of course, all of these observations are probably different in the various tip sizes offered by Zebra. The 0.5mm is somewhere between ultra-fine and medium, but 0.5mm refills in general are fairly smooth. It's not until you get below the 0.4mm range that you might start noticing scratchy qualities, so that's not something I expect in a 0.5mm. Still, calling the 0.5 Sarasa "scratchy" isn't the right term, because that's usually a negative attribute.
Apart from the feel of the refill on the paper, the pen writes fantastically. Never a rough start, skip, or blotch. It's a top performer in the gel pen world.
I went with a blue for this pen, and the saturation of the color is a bit too deep for my perferences in a standard blue. This reminds me more of a navy instead of a standard blue. For reference, I think Kaweco Royal Blue is a great standard for my idea of a general blue.
The body of the pen is light and very comfortable. Honestly, there's not much to say about it as it's exactly like most other comparable gel pens out there. That's not a bad thing - there's just not much to say about it because it works well. One thing that I really do love about the pen body is the clip. It opens wide and it's pretty strong, which adds a certain level of utility to the pen.
As far as putting the refill into other pen bodies, it looks very similar to the Pilot G-2 that so many pens standardize on. I think all you'd need is a plug for the end of the refill so that the nock mechanism would be able to operate.
Overall, the Zebra Sarasa Clip is a great pen, and easily one of my top 5 gel pens. The Sarasa Clip is available in a lot of colors, and comes in at just over two bucks for each one. Even better, you can buy an entire bundle with 20 colors for a bit cheaper than buying them individually. I highly recommend the Sarasa Clip 0.5mm.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)