Zebra Surari 3C Multi-pen (0.7mm)

27 Mar

The Surari 3c had so much potential to be great.  Zebra makes some very well built, standard ballpoint multi pens (such as the clip series) with comfortable grips and smooth actions.  Surari Ink, a hybrid ballpoint-gel ink, promises to deliver more smoothness and less skipping than a standard ballpoint.  Simple: put the two and two together and you have yourself an awesome multipen!  Well…

I’m not sure what they were thinking when they decided on this barrel.  It’s too fat.  If the pen had 5 or 6 interchangeable components then I would not have a problem with the width, but this has only three.  The tips rattle around in the nose-cone because there is some definite play where the tip is held in place when knocked.  Then there is the sliding mechanism, which ironically feels much worse than zebra’s other clip multipens that cost less (I’ll do a comparison in another post).  It jams when switching between colors, the springs are weak, and the whole system does not feel up to spec.  Slide the knock down on a Pentel Vicuña C3 and you will see what I mean.

Wasted talent. What a shame...

“But but,” I hear you all saying, “this is a Surari Ink multipen!  The barrel doesn’t matter so much as long as I have three awesome Surari colors in one pen!”  Well, this is the reason I bought the pen even though I didn’t like the barrel design.  I am a sucker for multipens and a Surari 3C was a rare bird I wanted to catch.  I hate to say this though (and I do not mean to bash all the Surari ink fans out there): Surari is the worst of the Japanese hybrid ballpoint inks.  I’ve tried many variations of the Surari cartridge in different colors, sizes, etc. but it has never quite stacked up to my personal favorite, the Pentel Vicuña or the gold standard of hybrid ink pens, the Uni Jetstream.  Though the ink is dark for the most part skipping is eliminated, there is quite a severe globbing issue here.  Please note, I am not one to care about globbing from pens.  I take it as a side-effect of ballpoint systems.  This is something far worse.  The red ink is amazing and the black and blue are ok but the pen globs so much that you can literally see strands of ink connecting the tip to the paper as you lift off (imagine Teenage Mutant Nina Turtle pizza cheese) and they come down wherever they want onto the page.

You can see the red glob strands leaving ink in the nose cone.

Now, I have a regular 0.7mm Surari Blue retractable pen with the same hyperglobular issue that I bought before this pen.  I was hoping that it was just a defect of the one I had.  Its beginning to look like the Surari ink is just stickier and messier than regular old grease ink.  I do use this pen sometimes and I get a kick out of it.  I love the red–its one of the best I’ve ever seen come out of a pen.  Had I known beforehand, I would have just purchased retractable red Surari.  I LOVE the barrel of the regular Surari’s too so I may do just that.  If you happen to adore the Surari ink or wide-body pens, then this may be the pen for you.  I, however, suggest getting a Vicuña or Jetstream multipen  over the 3c.

I really wanted to like this pen.  Here’s to hoping for a redesign!

JetPens has many variations: Zebra Surari Multi Series

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