Zebra F-701 Ballpoint

25 Mar

I always forget just how hefty this pen is until I decide to pick it up and write with it.  The F-701 is the top-end model in Zebra’s F-series of writing utensils that includes a huge cult favorite, the F-301.  Unlike the sensibly small and light 301, this thing is a behemoth to hold in one’s hand.  It is also (almost) completely made of metal, whereas the F-301 has a a plastic grip and other plastic bits.  The 701 is not just made with metal–it’s made with very thick and sturdy metal.

Just look at how wide the metal casing is!

The only metal piece that stands out to me is the plastic ring around the base of the knock slider.  This is not a complaint because I imagine it’s there to keep the mechanism from freezing up (metal on metal would be a difficult task to make reliable especially if one were in very cold temperatures).  The slider mechanism is dead silent and incredibly smooth, almost as if there was a miniature hydraulic cylinder instead of a spring.   Interesting that the pen is made in Indonesia because you wouldn’t have guessed from the build quality.

Made in Indonesia

The F-701’s ink is very average for a pen if you are comparing it to modern hybrid-ink ballpoints (such as the Jetstream Vicuña) or fancy Japanese ballpoints, but as an old-school greaser it performs fairly well.  The 0.7mm tip leaves a nice, thin line and the the pen has no trouble starting or stopping up.  Yes, there are some white spots in the text, the pen does glob quite a bit if you aren’t careful, and it needs quite a bit of pressure to write, but these are all standard qualities of regular ballpoints.  You should not be buying such a pen if you think any of these would be a deal-breaker. WARNING: if you have never used a pen or pencil with this type of knurled, hexagonal-patterned metal grip, you should definitely try to find something similar and test it out first.  It would be ideal if you had a friend that would let you try it out for a day–but even holding this type of grip in the store will tell you a lot.  Some people find these pens so painful that the grip renders the pen unusable for them (I’m looking at you, Alpha-gel/Dr. Grip fanatics!).  Others, such as myself, do not mind.  The pen’s grip and point area remind me a lot of my GraphGear 500, which has a very similar size and feel.  Zebra’s site hilariously claims that the pen has an “innovative textured steel grip”–they have been around longer than plastic pens (see  Staedler Mars models circa 1950’s).

Looks very much like a GraphGear 500 from the waist down

I highly recommend the F-701 if you like technical or drafting style writing equipment.  I do not think you will be disappointed if you can accept the less-than-exciting ballpoint ink.  Its incredible that they sell these pens in Staples everywhere, next to a sea stick ballpoints and cheap-o mechanical pencils.  I give Zebra a lot of credit for providing this kind divergence from the pen-norm at local office supply shops.  Great pen.

JetPens is currently sold out, but they tend to restock quickly: Zebra F-701

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One Response to “Zebra F-701 Ballpoint”

  1. Skankie Sasha August 11, 2015 at 5:34 PM #

    I’m a horny lesbian who likes to do yoga and have my cunt licked.

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