Having been released in 2018, the X-701 is a relatively new addition to Zebra’s family of rugged pens. It’s the first “X” pen Zebra has released and it was the fourth addition to the top-tier “7” line of Zebra’s Steel Series.
The X-701 was not a replacement to the famous F-701 ballpoint but rather an alternative to it.
Zebra calls the X-701 their “tactical ballpoint” which relays the ruggedness of its build as well as the company’s intentions. This is an all-purpose, all-weather, all-temperature (-30 degrees F to 250 degrees F) pen that was designed for use in every scenario.
The classic F-701 is very tough but has shortcomings which the X-701 was designed to address. Specifically, the F-701 is very narrow so it’s hard to use with gloves and it does not use a pressurized ink refill so it cannot write upside down or underwater. The F-701 is also a shiny, polished metal which makes it both slippery and highly reflective.
The X-701 is considerably wider then the F line, it has an ink-pressure mechanism, and it has a non-reflective matte black paint job that gives it a tactical look and feel.
The X-701 has a few significant additions to the F-701 as well. This includes a lanyard clip at the top of the pen, so it can be hung around your neck or from a backpack, making it considerably harder to lose. The most notable upgrade though is the use of a non-pressurized ballpoint refill that is pressurized when the top is pressed. This is a patent pending technology that is very similar to that used in the TomBow Airpress pen. With the ink pressurized the pen can write at any angle, including upside down.
The X-701 was highly awaited by fans of “everyday carry” pens but it faced problems shortly after its August 2018 release. The pen was in very short supply initially and only sold directly from Zebra, where it sold out.
Post-release the pen was criticized for its use of plastic components — the grip section in particular which not only is made of plastic but has a plastic-y feel to it that F-701 fans disliked. People have also noted flaking paint on the coated steel body and the large amount of plastic used in the pen’s construction (both inside and out).
In summary, the X-701, in many ways, feels like a step backward from the F-701, not a more extreme version (as the “X” in the name would suggest).
Zebra X-701 Ballpoint Information
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|Length Capped / Retracted (cm)
|Ink Color Shipped