The Sarasa R is Zebra’s entry into the “more saturated” gel ink color market. Like the Uni-ball One, this gel ink is formulated for brighter and deeper colors than Zebra’s standard gel ink. Also like the Uni-ball One, I have to ask: Why?
On paper (figuratively, not literally - we will get to that in a moment,) who wouldn’t want deeper, richer colors in their gel ink pens? Makes sense, right? Gel ink pens became popular in the 1980’s because the ink suspension allowed for better color representation than traditional ballpoint and rollerball pens. Because of that, gel ink pens became a playground for color.
Manufacturers have been in a good place over the past decade-plus with the quality of their gel ink products. They continue to be some of the most beloved pens on the market. I also appreciate the fact that the big players in the space want to push ink technology forward. For example, I’m glad Uni-ball invested in R&D for their Super Ink technology. More simply, I’m glad Zebra makes a quick-dry gel ink for those who tend to smudge their lines when writing.
But highly pigmented gel inks for brighter color? Let me ask this: Were you missing brighter gel ink colors from your writing arsenal already? Manufacturers have done a great job at this for a while. Again, I do appreciate the fact that they want to push their products further, but with the Sarasa R and Uni-ball One, I wonder if it is simply a marketing exercise. One look at the aesthetic of both products says a lot.
From a writing and performance perspective, the Zebra Sarasa R is a good pen. That’s the same descriptor I used for the Uni-ball One. If you like good gel ink pens, you will like this gel ink pen. But, are they better than other gel ink pens? Does the “27% more color density” make a big difference on the page? Not in my book.
The one thing I can say about the Sarasa R in comparison to the One, is that the Sarasa R feels like a standard gel ink pen, while the One had a bit of a different feel on the page. If I had my eyes closed, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the Sarasa R and Clip, while I would be able to tell the difference between the One and the DX or RT1.
For an 0.4 mm tip size, the Sarasa R writes a slightly wider line than the Sarasa Clip. I’m a little surprised, but the Clip is one of the sharpest lines out there, leading some people to say they are too scratchy. I love that feel on the Clip, and the R does not have that same crispness. That’s a positive or a negative, depending on your preference.
The ink colors look great on the page, but are they better/different enough to be the reason why these pens exist? I don’t see it. Maybe? Who knows. Any rainbow of gel inks is going to look awesome on the page, and these do just that. And, with what I see as a wider line than the standard 0.4 mm, they are going to look brighter and more saturated in a side-by-side comparison by default.
Should you buy the Zebra Sarasa R? Yes, and the price is right, too. $1.75 each, or $10.50 for the seven color set in this review (don’t ask me why the 14 color set price is out of line - I have no idea.) Just don’t expect something different or groundbreaking. They are another good product from Zebra, which is what they always deliver.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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