Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Zebra BE- a AX5 Arrow Tip Rollerball

Zebra BE-a AX5

This is the Zebra BE-a AX5 formally known as the Zeb-Roller AX5. It's the same pen, just with a new and more complicated name. The entire pen is made from plastic apart from the clip which is metal.

At first sight I wasn't blown away by its appearance. It's not a pen I could imagine myself looking twice at if I saw someone using it or at least it wasn't until I got it home and had a closer look. I'm generally of the opinion that if a pen writes well it doesn't really matter what it looks like but as I'm not just a user of pens but also a collector of pens I can't help but want it to be good looking as well as good at it's job.

So I'm looking at this pen and as I examine the lid I notice something. It's a shark.

Do you see it too? Or am I just a crazy lady?

But not just any old shark, it's the coolest shark that ever was. Call me crazy, but that's what I see and now I've seen it I can't unsee it. Just look at it's cute little face ... (please ignore the reflection of my boyfriend who at the time was mocking me for seeing a pen as anything other than what it is, a pen)

Look at it's face!

 So we've established that it's a shark but is it friend or foe? Let's get reviewing ..

O.5mm fine point

The plastic body of the Zebra BE-a AX5 is extremely light. Many pages of my notebooks have been filled with this pen and its light weight allows me to carry on writing forever if I want, never feeling the need to tighten my grip and without the need for regular breaks to stretch those aching fingers. The smooth plastic grip area dips in slightly from the barrel and although there isn't a grip as such, it doesn't matter. My grip of the pen is the perfect distance from the tip giving me complete control at all times without slipping or having to readjust.

writing sample

I'm loving the 0.5mm tip which gives me a 0.3mm line. I find my handwriting halves in size when I use this pen, because I can, I know the pen can handle it. The lettering is clear and readable even with tiny handwriting. No need for a Specsavers appointment just yet.

I managed to get a quiet moment for a scribble session and noticed the lovely scratchy sound it makes when I write. I say lovely because although it sounds scratchy it feels amazing. The pen takes to paper like a fish to water, moving across the page effortlessly. Smooth but providing me with that tiny bit of resistance, just the way I like it. 

The liquid ink just keeps flowing, never giving up, never letting me down. The appearance of my handwriting differed slightly depending on the paper I used. 80gsm paper gave the best results. I was able to produce clear, fine lines,with no feathering.  The 100gsm notebook I used for the sample caused the hairiness that you may be able to see in the picture. That's one of the reasons I love to have plenty of different notebooks at hand. I'd hate to dismiss a pen for one poor performance in one notebook if it behaves perfectly well in all the others.
Not refillable

This is not a refillable pen. I much prefer a pen I can use again and again. It's the small signs of wear and the familiar feel that make the pen truly mine. Once I've had a pen for a while I can usually tell my own pen from another identical pen. So to let it go, accept it's no longer any good to anyone is a shame.

Something look odd to you?

The clip made me chuckle. The Zebra lettering looks like it's upside down. It never matches up with the wording on the barrel unless the lid is posted which it does nicely by the way. I felt like I'd found an undated 20p coin, a rare design flaw, but a quick search on google images made me realise they are all the same.
The clip keeps my Zebra BE- a AX5 safe and sound so at least I can be assured that although the pen won't last forever, I won't be parted with it accidentally or otherwise before that dreaded day comes.

I like this pen. It writes well on most paper, it feels great to use and it's quirky even if it's not immediately obvious. So now when I see someone using this pen I will look twice, maybe even three times, and then I'll scurry away before I get the urge to scream "Shark!".


  1. Great review of this humble pen, love how you bring the pen to life and we really do feel like we know the pen once reading your reviews.

  2. Thankyou so much. I love sharing my thoughts on the little things that make each and every pen unique and worthy of a scribble session.

  3. Liking the in depth review, although my daughters 'Finding Nemo' pen is now refusing to come out of the drawer whilst the shark pen is around.

  4. Oh no poor Nemo! The Zebra Shark is quite friendly so no need to be frightened!