Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: Zebra Z-Mulsion EX Pen

A couple of days ago I received a fantastic surprise in the mail from the good people at a sample of a Zebra Z-Mulsion EX ballpoint pen.  I was excited because I rarely receive these kinds of things in the mail, but then I was doubly excited when I started writing with this pen.

Where do I even start with a pen like this?  I'll start with the smoothness, which is obviously supposed to be a big selling point with this model.  It is REALLY smooth.  I mean, like velvet, gliding on ice, greased lightning smooth.  It's really kind of amazing.  Many pens aspire to this level of smoothness but this is one that really succeeds.  According to the pen's description on, the ink is an emulsion of oil, water, and pigment that is supposed to provide "an unbelievably smooth writing experience."  I am here to tell you that this is NOT hyperbole, folks.  It is noticeably smoother than lots of other pens in its class.  Plus, with the admittedly limited testing I have already put this pen through, it does not produce the typical ink blobs that many other smooth writers seem to produce.  [Edit: See the pic below.  In my enthusiasm, I spoke too soon.  This is such a wet writer that its "blobbiness" is in line with other pens like it.  But to me it's not an excessive blobbiness, certainly not along the messy lines of a PaperMate InkJoy pen, so I still recommend this pen highly.]  Because of its wet ink, as with most pens of this sort there is a small piece of plastic covering the tip to prevent drying out before the first use.

Added to this is the fact that its black ink (the model I got) is a true, dark black.  The 1.0 mm ballpoint is a perfect match for the fluidity of the ink and the density of the pigment.  I am eager to try out other colors in the line to see if they are in the same class ink-wise.  (Note that blue and red ink versions are also available on, but there are more colors shown on the promotional card I received.  I'll definitely be looking around for the green in particular.)

The styling of the pen is hard to see from my crappy pictures, but I will say that it looks very sophisticated, and feels good in the hand.   It is also very, very light (perhaps almost TOO light, but we won't quibble about things like that -- that will simply make it good to write with for long periods of time).

The only negative that I could possibly say about this pen (and I will say up front that this is VERY quibbly) is the click mechanism.  It's good and solid in terms of how it works, which is overall quite well, but when the plunger is pushed down and the pen is extended, the plunger tends to want to flop up and down and around with a cheap sound as you move the pen.  Like I said, this is just IMPOSSIBLY quibbly, and I realize this, but it is noticeable and it may be a deal-breaker for some people -- although I seriously doubt it.  This is such a great overall pen that the clicker sound is something I can definitely overlook.

Style: A
Ink: A+, black (at least) is dark and true
Writing: A+, very smooth and gliding
Blobbiness: B- (produces some typical ink blobs but they are bearable)
Chance that this will become a daily carry pen: 95%

You should definitely check out the Zebra Z-Mulsion EX Ballpoint Pen today!

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