I picked this up out of curiosity during some trip to one of the big box office supply stores. I forget which one. Do they really carry selections so different from one another? No.
The design seems evocative of, oh I don’t know, accountants and banking. Very sleek, you know, with the silver barrel looking like some kind of architectural column. Or like the legs of a robot’s pinstriped pants. Then there’s the dark, slick upper barrel looking like the soulless depths of some fat cat’s black obsidian desk…this metaphor is going to get away from me soon, so I’ll just drop it.
There’s a lot of metal in this pen, so it has a nice weight to it. Not super heavy, but good to hold. The size of the pen when compact is small enough to easily tuck into a pocket or clip unobtrusively to the side of a checkbook (or something like a checkbook, but not as obsolete), and when extended is the size of a regular ballpoint pen. Of course, if the size of a regular ballpoint pen isn’t your thing, then this is the pen for you. The silver barrel only needs to be pulled about 6 millimeters out for the tip of the refill inside to be fully exposed and ready to write, so you can extend the pen to any length between full extension and tip barely poking out for the pen to work. There’s nothing to snap or lock in place, just telescope it out as far as you like and then write (should I say telescope? It’s really only a two piece telescope, if we want to pretend it’s a telescope. I’m sorry, it’s not a telescope, it’s just telescopic. Moving on).
The ballpoint pen refill that the pen comes with is not particularly exciting. I had a lot fewer globbing problems with this ballpoint than with most ballpoints, but I think that’s because each individual line it lays down involves far less ink than is standard. If you look at the writing sample closely, you’ll note how most of the marks, especially single-pass marks, have a sort of grainy quality to them; this is because the surface of the page is not 100% smooth, and ink isn’t getting in the minuscule texture valleys of the paper. It gives the pen some good sketching potential, with easier control over lighter ranges of shading, but for writing, whatever.
What you should get excited about with this pen is that you can put Zebra’s Sharbo X refills in it. Ballpoint AND gel. I was first clued in to this Zebra trick in The Pen Addict’s review of the Zebra Penpod mini keychain pen, and I thought when I took this Tele-Scopic apart, I wonder if the same will work here too…
I was very excited to find that this actually works, especially since I am in the “kind-of-want-but-can’t-pay-that-much-money-for-it” camp regarding the Sharbo X. Now I can have 1/3 of the Sharbo X multipen writing experience, instead of what I had before, which was a bunch of refills I couldn’t use because the Penpod is nearly impossible to write with comfortably. But that’s another review.
So you’ve got a simple, classy, inexpensive, compact-for-travel-full-size-for-writing pen body AND the option of oodles of refills. I can’t find much to complain about here.
I can’t find a link online to this pen on any of the big box websites (neither Staples, Office Max, nor Office Depot), but I know I got mine from one of those, and it came in a two pack. Here’s the info, but no point of sale, on the Zebra website. I trust you guys can figure it out. Also, I’m not sure if this is in the stores or not, but Zebra’s Tele-Scopic line also has a series with brightly colored upper barrels, if the slick-black business pen look isn’t for you. Once you’ve got your pen body of choice, load it up with some Sharbo X Gel Ink refills or some Sharbo X ballpoint refills from JetPens, and you will be cooking with the metaphorical dynamite of excitement that is pen modification.