Fresh From Japan: Zebra Sarasa Dry and Uni-ball Air

My friend June Thomas teased us all about her pending tour of Japan in Episode 189 of The Pen Addict Podcast. She made it back safe and sound, and a little care package from her made its way into my mailbox last week.

Aside from the tissue and mask handouts (which are amazing!) I was anxious to try both of the pens. The Zebra Sarasa Dry I had only seen on the Zebra Japan site, and while I own the Uni-ball Air, the Micro tip size is a new one for me. Here are my first thoughts on both of these pens:

Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel 0.5 mm Blue

The first question I had about this pen wasn’t to see if the fast-drying gel ink worked, but how close this pen compares to an all time favorite: the Zebra Sarasa Clip. It does, but just a little. The clip is too bulky on the Dry Gel model for me, although the grip may be a bit better. They are close.

The more important aspect, of course, is the ink performance. It lives up to the marketing, drying almost immediately after going on the page. I ran my finger along the line when writing, as in this video, and there was no ink smear or ink transfer to my finger. Clean, and impressive.

Finally, how new is this ink technology from Zebra? I was thinking this Japanese model was newish, but as I dug around, Zebra USA has marketed the Sarasa Gel as Zebra Sarasa Rapid Dry Ink Gel for what looks like a year or two. I rarely visit office supply stores any more so I haven’t noticed this. Plus, this model of Sarasa is nowhere near as good as the Clip model.

So this begs the question: Has anyone used one of the Rapid Dry models, and does is work as well?

Uni-ball Air 0.5 mm Black

This oddity of a pen has been around in the US market for a while, but only in the 0.7 mm model. I bought a pack of those, and wasn’t sure what to make of it. More of a felt tip marker than rollerball, the Air leaves wide, wet lines. The 0.7 mm is fine, but I of course prefer the 0.5 mm model that June sent me. It’s still wide, but now it is closer to one of my favorite off the shelf pens in the Paper Mate Flair.

Since it is a liquid ink pen and due to the style of the tip, a lot of ink gets transferred to the page, causing some feathering and bleeding. I am a fast writer, and no matter how fast I go I can’t outrun a small amount of ink pooling at the end of my letters. That’s ok, as long as you understand what this pen is good for and if it suits your needs. Tiny writers need not apply.

Both of these pens are decent choices when used for a specific need or in the right circumstances. That makes them good, but not great. Thanks for sending me these to test out June!

Posted on May 30, 2016 and filed under Zebra, Sarasa, Uni-Ball, Pen Reviews.