Zebra Fountain Pen (un-named, plastic body)
Brief Introduction/First Impressions: I bought this pen in an attempt to find a pen between the Pilot Varsity and the Platinum Preppy. I like the length and the fine point of the Preppy, but the grip drives me nuts! For some reason I always wind up gripping the Preppy really hard, and my fingers start to hurt during long writing sessions. The Pilot Varsity has a grip section that feels wonderful, but the line weight is heavier than I prefer. Good News! This pen has a Varsity-Like grippy-grip section, and a nib that puts down a line similar to the Preppy. Bad News! There are some durability issues... these are discussed below.
Note: I am writing this review when the ink reservoir is at about 50%. Up until this point, I have kept the pen on my desk at work (I haven't knocked it around in an over-packed purse or otherwise abused it).
PS - forgive me if I miss an obvious point of discussion, this is my first pen review.
- Appearance & Design (6) - Colorful Plastic, Feels Good in the hand, but cheap
I have not weighed or measured this pen, but it feels like it is around the same weight as a Preppy or Varsity (very light!). The plastic is colored throughout the whole pen to a color similar to the ink contained within. The cap includes a spring and inner cap that keeps the nib wet, similar to the inner cap in a Preppy. It definitely looks like a cheap plastic pen, but that is what it is!
- Construction & Quality (3) - dissapointing!
I still like to write with this pen, but unfortunately the cap has cracked in a way that allows the cap to become a projectile in certain circumstances. The lip of the cap has nubs that can catch onto corresponding nubs on the back of the grip section, and if these do not line up, the spring in the inner cap has enough force to eject the cap off the end of the pen if you let go of it. Entertaining, for sure, but maybe not so desirable. Even if the cap does not fly off the nib, it tend to sit a few millimeters off of where it is supposed to sit (See attached photos). Definitely not a knock-around pen. That said, the inner cap does keep the nib wet, and it never has trouble writing, even though the cap does not sit properly.
- Weight & Dimensions (10) - Long, slender, and lightweight
About the same weight and length as a Preppy, the girth maybe a little thinner than a Varsity. The nib is similar to a Preppy as well.
- Nib & Performance (10) - Very smooth, wetter than a preppy
Not as wet as a Varsity. I love it! Never a hard start or skipping.
- Filling System & Maintenance (6) - "disposable"
Really, there is not intended to be any maintenance on this pen - it has a feed and ink reservoir similar to a Pilot Varsity. This is good and bad in my book, as it may be a good intro pen, but encourages a lot of waste. I think it is possible to yank the nib and feed out, similar to the Varsity though, so this could be a grey area.
- Cost & Value (5) - cheap, functional, not durable
I picked this pen up for about $3.00 USD, which eases the disappointment I feel about the cracked cap.
- Conclusion (7/10) - Worth a try?
I really want to like this pen, and I LOVE the writing experience with this pen, but it is not durable enough to last even through the ink reservoir it has, let alone any attempt to refill it. Maybe hold out to see if the quality improves.
Have you all had a similar experience with this pen? Do you love it? Hate it? Let me know!