The F-701 (sometimes written as the F701) is the top-of-the-line retractable ballpoint in Zebra’s Steel Series. It uses an 0.8mm ballpoint refill that is good on lots of surfaces, but is also compatible with the Fisher Space Pen PR pressurized refill. The F-701 is known for it’s rugged build quality and incredible value. It is considered by many to be the ultimate in “everyday carry” value.
The F-701 is part of the 7 series, the top of the line of Zebra’s Steel Series products. The Zebra V-301 fountain pen is an example of a more affordable (sub-$5) product from the 3 Series. An major differentiate between the two is the 7 Series uses and all-steel design while the 3 Series uses a number of prominent plastic parts, like the grip.
Evolution of the F-701
The F-701 pen has actually changed over time. Initially it was shipped with a plastic ring around the knock which is what spawned the popular F-701 hack. In this hack a steel component from the Zebra F-402 was swapped in place of the F-701’s plastic part. This made the F-701 a fully steel pen.
In 2018 the Zebra F-xMD was released outside of the US. This is an entirely steel pen that was basically the same thing as a modded F-701 with a different ink refill. The refill was almost interchangeable with that of the original F-701 but with the change of some internal components the fit of the internals changed slightly as well.
Then, on August 1, 2018 Zebra announced the release of the “All-Metal STEEL F-701.” This would be an entirely steel pen, like the F-xMD but priced for the US audience and without the need of importing. The pen is sold as the “F-701 ALL METAL Ballpoint Retractable” for $8.99.
It is very easy to differentiate between the old and new F-701s: the old versions with the plastic ring around the knock uses black plastic while the new ones use silver metal. The F-xMD use silver metal and say “F-xMD” on the clip.
Four variants of the pen were outlined in Unsharpen’s video below. They are:
- Zebra F-701 – Standard model sold in any big box store prior to late 2018
- Hacked F-701 – Make all-metal using parts from an F-402
- Zebra F-xMD – Technically another model primarily sold outside of the US, but essentially an updated F-701
- Zebra F-701 “ALL METAL” – Sold from late-2018 to present
In 2019 Zebra released the X-701 as an a rugged, outdoor-friendly pen. It was highly expected but failed to impress most buyers once it was released.
Zebra was slated to release the gel ink G-750 in the summer of 2020, but its launch seems to have been delayed. No formal announcement was made, so no official delay was released either.
Zebra F-701 Ballpoint Pen Information
|Street Price||Check Price|
|Country of Origin||Japan|
|Length Capped / Retracted (cm)||13.3|
|Weight (g)||21 grams|
|Ink Color Shipped||Black|
|Writing Sizes||0.8 mm|