Friday, August 24, 2012

Shoplet.com Review: Zebra Z-Mulsion EX & Z-Grip MAX Ballpoint Pens

Ooooh lucky me! This round of products are Zebra pens! p Zebra actually sent a wicked binder (and cute little plush zebra) with an assortment of items, but Shoplet has requested we only do the following two items - probably because they are the newest and coolest.
Zebra Pen Shipment
Zebra Pen Binder
Zebra Pen Binder
Zebra Z-Mulsion EX Ballpoint Pen - $22.45/dozen
Zebra ZMulsion EX
Features
  • Z-Mulsion writing instruments feature emulsion ink.
  • It's a revolutionary combination of oil, water and pigment that delivers an unbelivably smooth writing experience.
  • The Z-Mulsion is set in a trendy, solid contoured barrel designed for a comfortable writing experience.
Zebra ZMulsion EX
The Z-Mulsion EX pen is a retractable ballpoint pen with emulsion-type ink. The pen has a wider barrel than most ballpoint pens, and it is widest at the grip section. The grip is quite nice and has ridges for added hold. The barrel is black and the top is red to match the ink. The tip is a 1.0mm which is a medium according to Zebra. 

What do I like?
I am a fan of the appearance of this pen - it's a pretty cool looking design. When I took it for a test run - WOW! That Z-Mulsion is some seriously smooth ink. Like, extraordinarily smooth. So it certainly doesn't disappoint in that department. No hard starting, just a good, reliable writer.

The red ink is intense and vivid, much like a red gel ink pen would be. I think it's quite nice, especially because most ballpoint-type pens have boring red ink. I also love that this awesome red ink is not the only color available in the Z-Mulsion EX. There is a pretty pleasing variety - including orange and green! I love when really nice pens have colors available besides blue, black, and red. Thank you, Zebra!

It really offers an effortless writing experience. All you have to do is know what you want to write!
Zebra ZMulsion EX Writing Sample
Zebra ZMulsion EX Writing Sample Pens
Zebra ZMulsion EX Writing Sample
What don't I like?
Of course, with very smooth ink comes factors such as drying time and smudging that must be considered. The wetness of the ink results in a longer drying time than ballpoint pens (which are known for drying instantly and, assuming no blobs, for not smudging). If you are a lefty, you'll have to be careful with this pen, or avoid it altogether, because the extreme smooth ink means you're probably going to smear this ink as you write. Righties, you're good to go.

I also found that writing at certain angles (smaller angle to the page) resulted in blobby ink - much like the PaperMate InkJoy 700RT ballpoint pens. This can be a let down, depending how you write. I can write comfortably both ways, but I know others may not be able to or want to. So, be warned.

Zebra Z-Grip MAX Ballpoint Retractable Pen - $7.74/dozen
Zebra Z-Grip MAX
Features
  • Extra-large, soft rubber grip and wide-barrel design provide superior writing comfort and control.
  • Retractable pen means no more caps to lose.
  • Pen Style: Retractable Ink Colors: Blue.
Zebra Z-Grip MAX
The Z-Grip MAX is a little thicker than your average Zebra pen. It is retractable, and has grip that is color-matched to the ink for easy selection. The body itself is silvery and the big clip is chrome colored. The barrel widens at the grip section, which is firm but comfortable. It is somewhat rubbery but not squishy nor sticky. Zebra describes the 1.0mm as a medium tip though this usually qualifies as "bold" to me.

What do I like?
The rounded body and grip actually makes for a very comfortable hold and writing experience. I was surprised at how much I liked the rounded body. The ink is practical and consistent - no blobbing, no skipping, no hard starting, and no smudging.
Zebra Z-Grip MAX Writing Sample
Zebra Z-Grip MAX Writing Sample Pens
Zebra Z-Grip MAX Writing Sample
What don't I like?
Nothing, really. It's "just a ballpoint" but it's pretty decent.

Overall
In terms of design, I prefer the Z-Mulsion EX - it's sleek and cool. It also has more color options available than the Z-Grip MAX. I'm not thrilled about the Z-Mulsion EX for doodling, because the ink is just too inconsistent with blobbing and as a result, smudging. The Z-Grip MAX pen is pretty good for writing purposes, though not terribly exciting beyond this.

Full disclosure: These office supplies were sent for review by Shoplet. I was not paid to write this review, but I do get to keep these cool goodies!

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.gourmetpens.com.