Zebra V-301

When I first read about the Zebra V-301 I figured it might be a decent, inexpensive pen that could compete with the Pilot Vpen but I think it falls short in too many ways. One of the major points of differentiation between the V-301 and the Vpen is that the V-301 is refillable. Unfortunately, it can only be refilled with proprietary cartridges.

This pen was disappointing right out of the box. Despite being made out of stainless steel it felt flimsy. The pen body is satisfactory but the section is cheap plastic and the cap does not fit well nor does it post properly. The pen also fails in the most basic and critical aspect of a pen in that it doesn’t write, well at least not properly. Once loaded with the cartridge the pen took quite some time to start and would skip badly and not restart after a break of any length of time.

I appreciate the fact that Zebra was trying to put a fountain pen out to market that was inexpensive and not disposable but this pen just misses on too many points. This pen was released in Canada in January and should be available in the US in the spring. When I found these at Staples here I also bought one for Chris over at Pens N Paper who also shares his thoughts.

The bottom line is I would buy a Vpen if you need a fountain pen for under 5$

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Zebra V-301

  1. If only it would write, right? I wouldn’t call the fact that it uses cartridges a big minus. You can refill cartridges with a syringe. But the other points are very valid. There are better sub-$5 options out there, including the Vpen/Varsity and the Platinum Preppy.

  2. Halden

    The carts are a huge blow because, as you mention, they can be refilled but it doesn’t make up for the rest.

  3. Regarding the cartridges I think they are competitive: same price as international ones but with more ink capacity. The blue ink has a very nice color.

    As Peninkcilin said, if only it would write…

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