Zebra Minna Mini Ballpoint Pen with Japanese Print – 0.7 mm – Wine Red Cap

29 06 2013
I have mixed emotions about this pen

I have mixed emotions about this pen

This is a story about a pen so small that I actually lost the first one I bought (you’re welcome, cleaning people in random motel in Asheville), but so adorable that I bought another one anyway (but not so cost-effective that that was necessarily a good idea).

The American penny was just too big. Like taking pictures of the coin more than the pen.

The American penny was just too big. Like taking pictures of the coin more than the pen.

I originally owned the silver one, but it was too much of an indignity to buy the exact same thing again, so I went with the “wine red” cap on repurchase (though I can’t say that the wine I drink ever looks this particular shade of red. I guess “fruit punch red” just doesn’t have the same classy ring to it). This pen is small. Your mind will not comprehend how small it is unless you’re holding it. You see it here, next to the 1 euro-cent, or on JetPens, next to an American quarter, and you THINK you have an idea of how small it is. You’re wrong. It’s smaller than that. You could probably swallow this pen whole and not even manage to choke on it (it’ll probably get stuck somewhere past your stomach though, so, maybe don’t do that).

You also may not realize how small one of these 1 euro cent coins is. I believe the mathematical size is referred to as "unbelievably adorable" sized.

You also may not realize how small one of these 1 euro cent coins is. I believe the mathematical size is referred to as “unbelievably adorable” sized.

It’s a lovely pen to look at. Slim, minimal, elegant, and well made (at its price, it had BETTER be well made). The metal cap is smooth, with a pearlescent sort of sparkle-sheen to it, and posts perfectly. The little Japanese print provides just the right amount of accent. It’s held up well so far, being tossed in at the bottom of a bag, which makes me hopeful for its potential as an everyday carry.

I think it is a universal requirement of standard ballpoints to have some crusty ink crud visible when I take its picture

I think it is a universal requirement of standard ballpoints to have some crusty ink crud visible when I take its picture

It writes. Not a particularly enjoyable experience for me, writing for the duration of the writing sample; I found the lovely silver accents around the print to be a bit of a pain in the base of my thumb, and the writing felt a bit cramped with such a small and slender barrel. But it does what I would need it to do, which would be write in a moment of necessity. The smaller your hands, the more you would probably like writing with this pen. The refill itself, a Zebra 4C-0.7 ballpoint pen refill, is nothing spectacular.

IT'S LIKE THEY'RE SWIMMING IN WATER BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES

IT’S LIKE THEY’RE SWIMMING IN WATER BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES

At time of writing, this wee little pen is only a dollar seventy-five shy of a full ten dollars, which seems like an awful lot of money to drop on something so little that isn’t a fountain pen. Spending absurd amounts of money on fountain pens is somehow more psychologically justifiable. It’s a pretty little pen, but if I lose it again, I probably won’t be buying a third.

Zebra Minna Mini Ballpoint Pen with Japanese Print – 0.7mm – Wine Red Cap at JetPens





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