For the past few weeks, I've been testing out Zebra's Sharbo X multi pen, on loan from enabler-in-chief Mr. Hall. The Sharbo X is a well-built multi pen that clearly has been manufactured to appeal to the "upscale" market. The version I have is the LT3, which features metal construction (aluminum) and three slots that Thomas has outfitted with two D1 Jetstream Refills and a .5mm mechanical pencil. The blind cap unscrews to reveal an eraser.
What first struck me about this pen is the size. It's a small, slender pen that would fit perfectly into the loop of a paper planner (if you're a planner person). I immediately realized that this pen is probably too small for me to use to write for long periods of time, and therefore wouldn't have a place in my toolkit, since that's what my day job requires.
The Sharbo X also has an unusual mechanism for shifting between refills. There is no "retract" button or nock. Rather, you rotate the barrel to one of three positions, and leave it "in-between" in order to retract the pen from writing position. To be honest, it's not my favorite mechanism; I found it counterintuitive and somewhat confusing.
The major drawback to the Sharbo X is that it typically has a premium price to go along with those premium looks. Jetpens sells the Silver LT3 Model (the three-slot multi pen) for $32. You can find versions for as low as $7 through Japanese sellers on Amazon, but the shipping looks to be pretty slow and I'm not familiar with the seller. Where the Sharbo X will kill you, however, is on the gel refills, if that's your preference. This pen uses the small D1-size refill, which run around $2.75 each. You can mitigate that somewhat by opting for hybrid ballpoint refills, such as the Uniball Jetstream D1 refill, which typically last much longer.
I'm a fan of multi pens, and this is a good one, but it won't replace my four-slot Hi-Tec-C Coletos (starting at $3.30 for the pen body and $2.20 for the refills) anytime soon. The Hi-Tec-C refills may be finicky, but they last a long time for a multi pen and have a wide range of available colors. Due to the smaller than average refills, any multi pen is going to be more expensive in the long run because you will have to replace the refills more frequently. I've been satisfied with how long the Coleto refills last. And if I wanted a multi pen that accepts D1 refills, the Lamy 2000 multipen is at the top of my list, primarily due to the comfortable size.
A big thanks to Thomas for loaning me this pen for review. He was generous enough to send it to me to try out for a couple months, and now I can send it home.
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