Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Black Body – Black Ink

9 11 2011

Are ballpoint pens the very best pens for sketching? I would suggest a hearty MAYBE!

Final goody from my most recently received bequeathment of complimentary pen-based joy from JetPens. Thanks again to Brad and JetPens! Now, let’s look at this little bugger.

And while we're at it, let's look at this dirty penny.

The nomenclaturally uninspired Zebra SL-F1 is a wonderfully, conveniently small pen. I’ve been keeping mine in a little zipper pouch/boombox (I will save that awesome item and its mini-arsenal for another post) that I keep on my keychain (because, like most people, I lose my keys unless there is a small boombox attached to them). It has a nice little weight to it, with the metal it’s packing, but isn’t actually that weighty, being so small.

Too bad this doesn't extend via high-powered spring-button, like an umbrella. That would be violent/awesome.

Fully extended, it ends up being slightly shorter than Zebra’s Telescopic (at least, as far as I can recall, since all of my Zebra Telescopic pens have buried themselves in the pen hordes and do not wish to be found at this time), and the barrel is definitely slimmer than the Telescopic / a standard pen.

Please ignore my terrible hand. Wait, did I say that was my hand? I mean please ignore the terrible hand of this random stranger, whom I paid in cheap ballpoints to be my hand model.

For me, even though it’s on the short side, it’s still long enough to be comfortable. I tend not to prefer thin pens, especially for extended writing, but for note-jotting (which I think is the primary niche a pen like this fills), it’s fine. If you have very big hands / are the ghost of André the Giant, then this pen might be too short for you.

Pause: can we take a moment to admire the matte finish? And the shiny accents? I'm pretty sure this is a textbook example of the scientific formula for classiness.

Maybe it is just hallucination on my part, but I think the refill that came in the SL-F1 has been the best so far in terms of all of Zebra’s mini pens I’ve tried. It takes the standard mini refill size that all other Zebra mini pens, Zebra Sharbo X multipens, Tombow Pfit, Marvy Petite pens, aaaand many others that I don’t own yet to have a chance to confirm if the refills are the same. I appreciate this refill size standardization, especially since the only refills JetPens lists on the same page as the SL-F1 are Black, Blue, Red, and Green 0.7mm ballpoints. I don’t want my wee pocket pens confined by conformist notions of color and line thickness and ink type. I WILL WRITE WITH WHAT I WANT!

And what I want is this

Back to the refill it comes with; I found it to be of decent smoothness, minimal blobbing in the sketches, almost no blobbing in the writing, and overall consistent. Another gold-star standard of what I think all typical pens should achieve.

The allure of a miniature pen at sunset on a leather notebook on top of the trunk of my car in the parking lot at work.

This is a good pen for keeping handy. As I mentioned, it now comes everywhere with me, [inside of something that is] attached to my keys, ever-ready. Should I need a pen, and find myself desperately trying to remember if I’m carrying anything that is not a fountain pen (which is now my standard reaction to “Can I borrow a pen?”), I know I’ve got this one stored for easy access. Plus, it looks attractive (/doesn’t look like a Doric column). It perfectly fills a niche for small, attractive, inexpensive, and accessible pens.

Once more, my thanks to Brad and JetPens! :)
Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Black Body – Black Ink at JetPens



11 responses

12 11 2011
ccorrada (@ccorrada)

this is my checkbook pen. i love it!

14 11 2011
Stephen Wright

This little pen fits in the fold of my wallet where it is always handy and out of the way. It writes well and I have used it for extensive note taking and letter writing without discomfort.

14 11 2011
Tom Lynch

I JUST put up a post about these Zebra pens on my blog!
Please don’t think I stole it from you! your review is much better!

hope you can check it out…

Tom, NYC

16 11 2011
No Pen Intended

Haha love it! The more reviews the merrier, I think. It’s hard to get a good idea of what a pen is like online from just one person’s opinion. Also your drawings and art are AMAZING! Wait, I feel like that doesn’t convey the depth of the amazingness. AMAZING. Makes me want to practice my art more, get better, and have drawings to post that might try to look half as good as your work!

2 12 2011
Tom Lynch

You are waaaay too kind!
And I appreciate you checking out WentSketching.

I really dig your blog… (dunno if you noticed you’ve been on my recommended link list since I launched in Sept)… and you can also be blamed for contributing to my present Jet Pens addiction…. it’s like CRACK!

Your sample pages are kick-ass! You should compile them all into one pdf… or better yet, an iBook…. it would be friggin sweet!

Tom, NYC

4 12 2011
No Pen Intended

:D I need to add you to my links. I am the worst at remembering to update my link list….I have updated it once since I added it? Shame on me. But negative shame for spreading JetPens, for they are the best kind of crack that money can buy (and that is not made of illegal substances).

I have been wondering what I should do with all my sample pages…especially with the entire journal they are currently in once I fill it up. I briefly contemplated selling off the sample pages individually, the better to buy more pens with, but I don’t know that I could bear to part with them! And it’s a very handy reference book.

Also…are you in New York City? I was just there in November visiting a friend! If you are in NYC, I could have met you in person and waved around a bag full of pens like a crazy person….in person! I did randomly encounter a pen-interested individual in a bar, and bequeathed one of my Sailor Ink Bar pens to him on the condition that he treasure it dearly and take utmost care of it…but the more pen-interested people I can meet in person, the better.

17 11 2011
Ink Drop Soup – Boombox Arsenal « No Pen Intended

[…] playing unit, to plug into the boombox; one matchbook of Writersblok perforated sticky notes; one Zebra mini-pen; 8GB of memory (one of the two flash drives I use to hold all my pictures for this blog). Optional, […]

21 11 2011

how do you change the refill for this pen? I’d tried unscrewing the body but it won’t come off. Thanks!

24 03 2012
SF Susan

To change the refill you unscrew the end piece at the tip of the pen. Then pull the refill straight out. This can be a little difficult. I usually use pliers, although I’ve occasionally done it without. It’s a great little pen and I love that the refills are interchangeable with my Sharbo. They make great gifts.

28 01 2013

I’ve had two of these go in the washer and the ink leaked inside the barrel. Any idea on how to take the pen apart completely to clean it?

9 04 2014
Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen Review | THE UNROYAL WARRANT

[…] No Pen Intended – Zebra SL-F1 Mini Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Black Body – Black Ink […]

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