Review – Zebra F-701 Ballpoint

For quite some time now, my go-to ballpoint pen has been the Zebra F-301. I carried one around with me every day and have one in each of my various bags. To me, they are a very good compromise between writing performance, durability, availability, and expense. But recently I managed to crack off the plastic grip in my daily carry pen (in quite the unremarkable way, I just fidgeted with it too much and was popping the threads) and even though it is a problem that I’m not likely to replicate in the future, it set me on a quest to find an all-metal replacement that won’t have a similar problem. I’ve been fairly happy with other Zebra products in the past (with the exception of their fountain pen) and I ended up finding the “upgraded” version of the pen I was currently using, the F-701. This all stainless-steel pen with a knurled grip is supposed to be durable, elegant, and precise. Does it live up to its own advertising?

The body of this pen looks simple even when compared to the already minimal F-301. A 3/8ths tubular body uses more than 4 of the pen’s overall 5 ¼ inches in length. The last inch or so from the tip is very finely knurled to form the grip section, after which is a stainless-steel cone with some cosmetic step-downs. This cone screws off, providing the only access to the refill or inside the pen at all, allowing you to see that the walls of the body are about 2mm thick. On the other side of the pen there is a highly polished clip in the bent-spring steel fashion with “ZEBRA” and “F-701” stamped into it that is joined to the top of the barrel with the only bit of exposed plastic on the pen. Above this is a clicker button, which is, in fact, a plastic plunger with a metal sheath. You can theoretically remove this sheath, but there is no reason to (it doesn’t give you access to anything) and it doesn’t look like it will come off under normal conditions.

The refill is exactly the same as the refill for the F-301, which means it is fantastically smooth for a ballpoint, with a black that’s dark enough and generally resistant to wear (I believe you could also swap in one of their gel refills if that’s more your thing). This smoothness is added to by the weight of the pen, which is almost twice that of the 301, and it really shrugs off the common complaint that ballpoints require too much pressure to write with comfortably. I can write in cursive with one of these pens as fast and as easily as I could with any of my fountain pens and I get the benefit (or detriment) of that thin, precise line.  The clip is almost identical to that of the 301, but it seems to be attached more securely and doesn’t have as much of a problem with bending away and losing its grip over time (but this is still an area that can be improved: I wouldn’t clip on anything thicker than a piece of fabric). The knurling on the grip is superb, completely removing any slipperiness while being fine enough to not dig into the skin to be noticeable. This, combined with the larger size, will probably be good news for anyone who has cramped up trying to hold onto the 301 series. And finally, the click mechanism is very smooth with a nice amount of back pressure. Despite claims that it is “silent” there is still a noticeable click, but it is much less satisfying. The overall mechanism feels much more structurally sound and is nicer but ever-so-slightly more difficult to push.

I would consider the 701 an upgrade in almost every way. It is heavier, thicker, and more expensive. But the all-metal body is (even more) rugged, and the feel of the writing experience from click to page is smooth and seamless. My complaints are limited to the clip still being a problem if bent out even just a little, and the habit the shiny metal body (especially the polished clip) has of collecting scratches (some people might also be displeased about the grip being not-grippy enough for them, or the body feeling cold/heavy because of its metal construction). For the price, I’d say this is the best you could do for a ballpoint, and I might even go so far as to put it up as one of the best ballpoints I’ve ever used.

Speak Your Mind 161 #801-805


1. How do you feel when you are dancing?

2. Would you rather wear ear muff or a stocking cap?

3. When do you think it is OK for drivers to yell at other drivers?

4. Do you know how to play tennis?

5. Do you think it is a good idea for high school students to have part-time jobs?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. I’m not sure I ever really dance.

2. That depends on what I’m wearing, I usually go with the cap.

3. When they have done something so ludicrously stupid it endangered another person.

4. I know the jist.

5. Depends, it might keep them out of trouble, it might stress them out, it might make them more responsible people or responsible for the death of several people.


Speak Your Mind 151 #751-755


1. Will you be home before the sun sets tonight?

2. Do you have your own checking account?

3. Which professional baseball team do you like the best?

4. Do you like onions on your hamburger?

5. How do you feel when you go out on a balcony at the top of a high building?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. Yes I will be, I was.

2. Yes, but I only have a debit card associated with it.

3. I don’t really care.

4. No, I don’t like onions or tomato.

5. Sometimes my legs get wobbly and my hands get sweaty.

Speak Your Mind 80 #396-400


1. Have you ever seen a rainbow in the sky?

2.What should a person do if people are always spelling his/her name wrong?

3. Have you spent much time on a farm?

4. What is something that makes you feel good?

5. Think about this month last year. was your hair longer or shorter than it is now?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. Yes, I have seen lots of rainbows.

2. Correct them politely, and if some business does it ignore them.

3. Not much time to be honest.

4. Not very much honestly. I guess food and work are the only things that do now.

5. Probably about the same, I just got a hair cut so all my growth is for naught.

Speak Your Mind 35 #176-180


1. What color do you think ceilings should be?

2. How old were you when you first started to like boys (girls)?

3. Do you like taffy apples?

4. Do you ever feel lonely?

5. What is your locker number?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. White, but if it can be more than one color it should be a painting of the stars.

2. I liked girls as long as I can remember, so about five or six.

3. Yes, but they’re far from my favorite kind.

4. Unfortunately all the time.

5. I don’t have one, and even when I did I didn’t remember the number.