Review: Zebra G-301, Gel Pen, 0.7mm

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There’s no doubt that Zebra’s got a hit with their 301 series of retractable stainless steel pens. There was a stretch of time when the F-301 – the original ballpoint version – was my everyday, go-to pen. While I’ve since moved on, there seems to have been an explosion of the 301 series. They’ve got the M-301 (mechanical pencil), the H-301 (highlighter), and even a fountain pen they’ve called the V-301. Because I’m more of a gel pen user, I was pretty excited to pick up the gel version of this pen called – you guessed it – the G-301.

I feel no shame in stating that I love the design of the 301 pens. It’s the kind of pen a cop would use to write your speeding ticket. Like the others in the series, the G-301 has a thin, stainless steel body with a black, hard-plastic grip. The thinner barrel design is not something that everybody would enjoy, but I find that it suits my grip-style very well.

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Unfortunately, while I loved holding the pen, I really didn’t like writing with it. Its gel ink runs so quickly that it feels very slippery while writing, and though it’s a 0.7mm tip, the line it dispenses ends up looking like a 1.0mm or higher. I like the darkness of the ink, but it smears like crazy. I also had problems with the grip frequently becoming very slightly unthreaded from the barrel, causing the ink cartridge inside to rattle around when writing.

The design of the barrel is great, but the innards leave something to be desired. Luckily, there are plenty of other versions of this pen, and I hope one of those will work out better.
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