The Zebra Sarasa Grand Gel pen is another entry in the premium barrel category for the budget-friendly refills we know and love. It seems like all of the big brands have a metal, classy version of their popular gel or rollerball offerings, and the Grand Gel is a strong competitor.
Like the competition, the Grand Gel features a sleek, minimal body made from brass which is then topped with a thin layer of aluminum to provide a handful of color options. At the $15 - $20 mark, it feels on par with what you would expect: Nothing mind-blowing, but definitely a welcome upgrade from the normal plastic body.
The Sarasa Grand Gel is most closely related to the Sarasa Clip. The clip on the Grand Gel isn't as springy as the regular Clip, but it's still functional and strong. The length and diameter are roughly the same as well, but the Grand Gel has a bit more heft due to the brass interior.
Branding is minimal, with only a "Zebra Sarasa" mention on the body above the grip section and a "Sarasa" stamp along the clip. Apart from that, the body is clean and sleek. There are some small grooves that follow the length of the grip section, but no other grip material is present. Despite the smooth feel, it offers plenty of grip and control when writing. It also helps tremendously that the Sarasa refills are so smooth — this ensures you can grip the pen lightly while writing since there's very little friction from the point.
The click mechanism is strong and reliable. It makes an audible click, but it's about 50% quieter than the regular Sarasa Clip noise.
The refill that came in this model is the 0.7mm version, which is lusciously smooth and dark. I normally prefer something 0.5mm or smaller, but this has been a treat. The width is similar to a medium fountain pen nib, and it's smooth as can be. I've really been enjoying writing with this pen because of the refill, but also because of the feel of the pen body. The ink is dark and precise, and since this pen fits any of the Sarasa refills, you have a lot of color and size options.
In terms of writing experience, the pen is balanced and sure In the hand. The smooth refill makes the writing experience very enjoyable. Even though the grip is fairly smooth, I haven't had any problems with it becoming slippery or uncomfortable. It's a great writer, and it instantly upgrades the Zebra Sarasa refill that many of us already love.
If you want to dress up your favorite gel refill, and that refill happens to be the Sarasa, then this is a great pen for you. It will perform well and look good doing it with your choice of Black, Navy, Gold, or Pink barrels. At under $20, it's a bit pricey compared to a Sarasa Clip (at less than $2), but the additional weight and sleek aesthetic make this a good deal.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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