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Thread: Zebra V-301 review

  1. #1
    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Zebra V-301 review



    I was in Walgreens the other day and on a whim searched for, and actually found, a fountain pen for sale: a Zebra V-301.

    Zebra 301 pencils and ballpoints became my 'go to' writers some years ago, long before I discovered fountain pens. They're decent, low cost, and they've lasted awhile.

    As you might guess, I held similar, modest hopes for their $4 fountain pen. Alas, I have come away really disappointed.

    Hard starts, skipping, and insufficient volume of ink flow have made the pen unusable even in the most basic introductory testing.



    The design is modern and appealing, similar to its cousins, with stainless steel and black plastic. It features a hooded, cylindrical nib, vaugely reminiscent of mid-century American offerings whose names don't deserve to be tarnished by associating them in any way with this unfortunate attempt at a pen.



    The feed, however, is a wick, not ebonite or plastic. I have seen this type of feed on only one other cheap pen. That pen didn't work, either.

    I installed one of the supplied ink cartridges and immediately had severe hard starting problems. I attempted to remedy the misalignment between the nib slit and feed. And this seemed to help somewhat but it was no cure. Skipping and hard starting were still present.



    Eventually, after more fiddling, the pen was able to write nearly a full page in cursive non stop without skips or hard starts.

    That is, until it it seemed to run out of ink. Plenty was left in the cartridge so I suspect the wick feed cannot keep up with demand of cursive writing, despite the low volume of ink and fine line delivered to the page.

    Then I noticed the crack in the plastic "faux feed" that covers the wick. Maybe I broke it fiddling. Yikes.



    At any rate, I haven't bothered to test further as I don't see the point. I certainly am not going to try to use it for work.

    I may have gotten unlucky with this pen. I could try exercising the warranty.

    It's too bad they couldn't deliver the same acceptable level of performance that their other writing instruments do.

    Though, Ishould have seen this coming when reading the back of the package and Zebra welcomed me to the world of "temperamental" writing instruments.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member carlos.q's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    This is truly an awful pen. I remember many moons ago when Walgreens sold Parker Vectors. Oh well...

    Life is too short to use crappy pens...

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    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    Been there, done that. Probably the worst pen I've ever used.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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    Senior Member Sailor Kenshin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    I've had a few over the years. They were older, different versions, no semi-hooded nib, but with the same wick feed. Really hard starters, requiring repeated dipping in water or ink, BUT, once started, they wrote forever.

    My biggest complaint was the slippery section.
    My other pen is a Montblanc.

    And my other blog is a tumblr!


    Dr. Inkenstein--it was a dark and stormy write!

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    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    I had ONE that wrote, and that was only sometimes. Walgreen's gave me a new one when I demonstrated that the one I'd just bought didn't work at all. That new one wrote okay for a while once I got it started, but even then it would skip and once I put it away, it was hard to start it again. Plus it was scratchy. I really hated it, and took perverse pleasure in throwing it into a trash can while it still had ink in it.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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    FPG Donor ♕ KrazyIvan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    They are finicky pens but if you know what to do, they can be an okay knock around pen. I see thay have updated the section with a hood. Mine does not have the hood. It probably helps keep the nib wet while writing. I insert the cartridge and leave it nib down overnight. This gives the felt feed a chance to soak in some ink and it makes things much better. I also store it nib down. Mine has been inked for 2 years now. I think the last time I wrote with it was about 8 months ago. I just pulled it out and it wrote straight away. The cap is spring-loaded like the Platinum caps that seal the nib so the ink will not evaporate as easily. Living in the desert southwest, this is a bonus.
    Fountain Pen Sith Lord | Daakusaido | inktronics blog | Twitter | Instagram

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  11. #7
    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    Maybe if I see one with a hooded nib I'll pretend it's a $5 Parker 51, and pick it up just to see if the new design helps. Still, there are other $5 and under pens also made in China that work a lot better. But if I do fall for one again, at least now I know your nib-down trick!
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    I bought one on a whim years ago. It's garbage. I gave it to a student that wanted to try it - she ended up tossing it.

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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    I had one of these. Indeed, it has many issues. Many of them are due to the thick, perhaps intended for ballpoint, ink they provide. Using a different cartridge therefore solved some hard starting and other issues.

  16. #10
    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zebra V-301 review

    I really think that if I ever get enough of an attack of the stupids to buy another one of these, it will be so that I can place it on an anvil and smite it lustily with the biggest hammer I own.
    Last edited by calamus; January 7th, 2020 at 01:52 PM.
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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    Detman101 (August 26th, 2020)

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