From my Notebook

Zebra V-301 Fountain Pen Review

Above: Writers love them, but you can draw with fountain pens, too. Just airships though.

Every once in a while I purchase up a fountain pen just to see if my mind can be changed. I’m not a huge fan of fountain pens in general, but since the V-301 is marketed as a companion to the F-301 ballpoint and the M-301 mechanical pencil, and those are fun, cheap writing implements, I thought I would give it a try.

Verdict: This is also a fun, cheap pen. If you really like the 301 line, it’s worth a try. But it’s not a great pen, either.

If you like fountain pens, the price is low enough that the V-301 worth checking out. Here are my accompanying warnings:

  • The ink took a while to start flowing. As in, a few minutes. Make sure you push the ink cartridge in all the way, then be patient while you try some practice strokes on paper.
  • If you are using cheap paper, this ink will probably bleed through. I switched from my cheap test paper to a Mnemosyne notebook and got terrific results.
  • Don’t expect to be able to pick this pen up and immediately write with it. After letting it sit overnight (cap on, of course), I had to write the equivalent of about 4-5 letters before ink was flowing.

Of all the fountain pens I’ve tried, this one writes most like a non-fountain pen. It doesn’t make your writing look like something from an old manuscript, and the tip is just within the boundaries of what I would call “fine point.” Many of the off-the-shelf fountain pens you’ll find in stores put down a considerably thicker line.

I prefer this pen over the Pilot G-2, but it’s not nearly as good as the Uni 207.

While drawing, I noticed that the V-301 was not as forgiving of different angles as typical pens are. If you are a writer, this probably won’t be a problem. If you like to sketch, it might be a tiny bit annoying but in my experience it’s easy to remember.

I also noticed that when you post the cap (stick it on the non-writing end of the pen) it rolls around the pen axis freely. That is a pretty weird sensation, but I almost never post my caps, so it didn’t bother me. Cap sits on the paper? Fine. Cap held in opposite hand? Wonderful!

Thus ends this review.