Number 3 in the gift basket of penly delight from JetPens (for which I continue to give many thanks :D ), we have the Zebra Surari 4 Color Emulsion Ink Multi Pen. I own, but have not yet given much pen time to, a Zebra Surari emulsion ink pen in both 0.5mm and 1.0mm—this is no fault of the Surari, merely a reflection of the combined phenomena of “I probably have too many pens” and “the Jetstream has already won my heart.” But let’s see if we can’t get a little penfidelity going.
I want to say this jumped onto my wishlist when it was a hot new arrival, but I don’t remember. What I do know is that it appealed to my current obsession with blue/green/turquoise colors and my love of Zebra’s hinged pen clip. Also, I wanted to be able to try out several emulsion ink colors, but I’m too lazy to go through the rigmarole of wishlisting/buying four separate pens. I couldn’t ask for more.
The body of the pen is a great color. The only thing I might change there is make the white plastic of the clip hinge something more unobtrusive, like the like the darker-colored blue-green plastic above the grip, and make the odd metallic-periwinkle-lavender color used to pick out words on the clip be anything but that color. Just kidding, I think a plain silver, successfully used elsewhere on the barrel, would look much better here. I wouldn’t want to introduce a new and unrelated color on the clip; it would be visually incongruent.
I really like the silver ring in the middle of the barrel; it’s a nice accent, and it kind of goes along with the elements immediately above it: the rings formed by the plastic where the top of the barrel screws onto the bottom, and the silver springs of each pen component beneath the translucent blue-green plastic.
In the hand, the Surari multi pen is light but big; wider than the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Me 4 component body, but about the same weight. The grip is just a hard bit of matte rubber; I have spoiled myself into preferring extensively squishy/fancy/soft/ergonomic grips lately, so I find this grip a bit hard; its only function is to not be slick. Since the barrel is a bit bigger than most, I found my normal grip radius had me gripping too hard, but it was something I could adjust to, with practice. In spite of being mostly plastic, the body does feel well put together; nothing feels loose, nothing seems to rattle.
Right off the bat, one thing this pen excels at is the plungers. I’ve had several multi pens (Pilot Hi-Tec-C, Uni Style Fit) where components would get caught on one another or stuck in some way when switching from one component to another. Not always, but enough that it would be a notable pain. I have not once had any of the Surari plungers/components get stuck so far. Switching from one component to another always sends the last component up and leads the new one out without problem. This means that I can idly click through the plungers without having my mindless rhythm interrupted by something getting caught.
And let’s not forget that hinged clip.
You can’t use the hinge when that plunger is deployed, and it doesn’t open super-wide, but you can still clip it onto a decent amount of stuff. Far better than a non-hinged clip.
So how does it write? Well, quite well. The components themselves are very sturdy when deployed. It really is like having four pens in one body, instead of having one pen with four shaky and schizophrenic personalities. For drawing, the 0.7mm was just too thick for the small scale of doodling I like to work on, but I’m not really imagining this pen so much as a drawing-focused pen. It’s really a little writing workhorse, especially for people who like to color-code notes, who have to grade papers, or who can’t stand to write with the same color for more than two minutes at a time.
And the smoothness? I must say I’m quite impressed with the emulsion ink. The colors are all very bright and vibrant. All four inks are buttery-buttery smooth, I daresay on par with the Jetstream. The ink does have a tendency to leave little blobs in the writing occasionally, and especially in the drawing (which is very detrimental to small-scale sketches). I’ll have to compare it to the 0.5mm to see if this is a function of tip size, or a product of this particular ink. But in most of the writing, no blobbing is evident and the lines look nice and crisp. I had no smudge problems when writing, though I did get a little ink on the side of my hand, it never came from smearing anything, and it never ended up redistributed elsewhere on the page.
To get four colors in a Jetstream multi-pen, you have to pay almost 3 times as much. Now, I love me some Jetstreams, but this Surari is an exceptionally smooth-writing ballpoint pen, even if it weren’t at such a good price. And the Surari multi pen is cheaper than buying 4 individual Surari ink pens. I’d be thrilled to see 0.5mm refill options for the Surari multi pen, but for now, this is a great bargain for a great pen. Also, the ink smells nice, like ballpoint ink should. Odorless is boring. I love the scent of a bunch of ballpoint ink on a page. But then again, I’m weird.
Thanks again to JetPens for this sample! :)