Our friends over at Zebra sent some samples of their new pens over recently, and the one that really grabbed my attention was the sleek looking R-301 Stainless Steel Refillable Rollerball. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, so lets take a look, shall we?
The body and cap of the Zebra R-301 Stainless Steel are both made of stainless steel, and the grip of the pen is made of a hard plastic with a gridded texturized pattern carved into it. The cap snaps on and off, and conveniently posts to the back of the body. The refill on the R-301 is a proprietary size and can not be replaced with standard fountain pen refills, so for now you only have the option of the Zebra black or blue refills.
Inside the body of the Zebra R-301 Stainless Steel rollerball pen you can see that the threaded portion is also still made of stainless steel, while the plastic part that screws in has plastic threading, so you will want to be careful screwing it in, although I’ve never had any problem. One thing that you might think is that this would be a heavy pen being that it is made from stainless steel, however I can tell you it is not heavy at all. In fact, it is pretty middle of the road when it comes to its heft, but the quality of the build and its overall sturdiness is quite nice. My only minor quibble is with the feel when you post the cap, once you start writing with the cap posted, you do get a little bit of a wiggling/rattling going on because it doesn’t post tightly. It never feels like it is going to fall off, but it is slightly annoying to feel that constant tapping feeling atop your pen as you write with it.
To date, I’ve really enjoyed writing with the Zebra R-301 Stainless Steel pen, as much as I have enjoyed looking at its nice design. Initially, it did have some issues with skipping here and there, but after about a day of regular use, it really slowed down to an almost non-existent issue. The ink is also fairly quick to dry, especially on the Rhodia 90g paper that I tested it on, which usually forces a bit longer of a dry time with most inks because it does not really absorb ink too quickly. On other standard papers, the ink dries almost instantly, so this might be a good option for you left handed writers out there. Again, my only real issue with writing with the pen was the slight rattle that you get with the cap posted. Otherwise this is not only a fantastic LOOKING pen, but it is also great to write with. For now, the only place I’ve seen them available online are at the Zebra Store, so head on over and check them out there.