Saturday, 13 September 2014

Zebra Sarasa 0.7 Gel Ink Rollerball Review

I probably have more Zebras in my pen collection than any other brand. Not intentionally, don't get me wrong, I love Zebras but mainly because they are in most stationery shops I visit so they are pretty much unavoidable. Those naughty Zebras can be very persuasive when they want to be,  twisting my arm all the way to the check out.

The Zebra Sarasa has been part of my collection for a few months now. This pen was recommended to me on numerous occasions by different people so I felt I had no choice but to try it for myself. I wouldn't want to feel like I'm missing out on anything.

Zebra Sarasa
I wasn't blown away by the Sarasas appearance. It's a pretty name so I'd hoped for a pretty pen to match. I went online in search of a meaning to the name and found that Sarasa means Swan. When I think of a swan I imagine a beautiful creature gliding graciously across a lake, barely a ripple in the water. I also remember the countless times I've run from swans flapping their huge wings at me while I've been trying to feed the ducks but when they're not hissing at me I can really appreciate their beauty. The Zebra Sarasa doesn't really have any features that stand out so a swan wasn't the first image to come to mind when looking at it for the first time.

The Zebra Sarasa is made from plastic aside from the blue rubber grip. The transparent body of the pen allows me to keep tabs on my ink usage which is always a plus - no nasty surprises.
It is retractable using the clicker button.

The Sarasa weighs very little and is my ideal width for comfort. I could write all day with this pen, using only a light grip, never feeling any kind of discomfort associated with uneven weight
distribution or bulk.

Zebra Sarasa grip
The rubber grip could do with being a little closer to the tip but that's my own issue not the the fault of the Sarasa. I've been practising holding pens further away from the tip in the hope that I will get more enjoyment from some of my higher gripped pens. My progress is slow. Changing my pen holding habits after all these years is not easy but I'm giving it a good go.
The grip has a slight squashy feel to it. I do prefer grips with minimal movement when squeezed. Having said that, it is still comfortable to use. There isn't so much texture that I'm left with indentations on my fingers and it does keep slipping to a minimum so it's doing it's job.

The Zebra Sarasa has a medium 0.7mm point which although it isn't quite my favourite (fineliners will always be my number one) it's a close second. My lines are a decent width, not so thick that I feel I need to adjust the size of my handwriting accordingly so no complaints there. For those who are particular about point sizes, fine and a bold versions are also available.

The gel ink inside the Sarasa flows consistently without issues. No skipping or false starts, just good solid evenly inked lines. The ink is quick to dry. I was in a nitpicking mood so I tested it in every notebook I had and found that as with most pens, it's not completely immune to smudging but almost. A 1-2 second dry time on most of my pages is in my opinion not bad going and on others it was immediate. I didn't see any feathering or bleeding through the pages. As a left hander I was especially pleased.
The Zebra Sarasa takes to paper like a duck to water, moving across the page smoothly and confidently allowing me to really enjoy the experience. I can just zone out and write without any irksome distractions like scratching or too much/too little resistance. When I look down at my page and see that each and every letter is perfectly formed I realise that my uninspiring ugly duckling of a pen did indeed become a beautiful swan. Let this be a reminder that it's what's on the inside that counts.

Easily refilled
The fact that I've had this pen for months without breaking it adds to my joy when refilling it. The bond I've formed with my Sarasa doesn't need to be broken. I get no enjoyment from throwing an empty but otherwise perfectly good pen in the bin.
The Sarasa takes the JF Zebra refills which are placed in the pen by unscrewing just above the grip at the writing end. The refill just sits in, no faffing about. Be careful not to lose the spring (obvious but easily done!).

Zebra Sarasa clip
The clip is quite flexible so it's very easily attached to a notebook or pocket but unless it's clipped to something reasonably thick it's also just as easily detached. It would be fine clipped inside my pocket where it can't fall very far and I can keep checking it's there. Or maybe unlike me you are sane and think the pen would be no bother to replace if lost considering the reasonable price they can be picked up for.

Of all the Zebra pens I've had the pleasure of using up until now I'd say the Sarasa is my favourite. It's maybe not the most attractive of the Zebras but it definitely delivers when it comes down to the important part - the writing. Not every one appreciates the wet inky look but I absolutely love it.

In a weird, selfish kind of way I'm pleased the Sarasa is average looking. I feel like it's let me in on a secret ...

"Pssst, over here, I may look like a boring old rollerball but wait till you see what I can do on paper.. don't tell anyone though, I don't want everyone fighting over me"

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