Zebra Arbez Eo Ballpoint Pen Review

 

 

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The Zebra Arbez Eo Ballpoint Pen 0.7 mm has an unusual body that is inspired by various modes of transport in London.  The Arbez series from Zebra (arbreZ…the name is Zebra spelled backwards) is the company’s designer series which features pens designed by winners of a competition aimed at young new designers.

The body of the pen has a toy-like look to it and has a weird half oval shape (one size is flat and the rest of the pen is rounded; think of an elongated “D”) which has been suggested is to resemble a Tube tunnel.  I have a normal grip but I generally don’t care pens that dictate how I should hold them.  Based on the design of the pen and where the branding is, this pen should be held with your index finger resting on the flat portion of the barrel.  I don’t find the barrel to be uncomfortable but I don’t want to waste brain cycles thinking about how to hold a ballpoint pen.

The ballpoint writes smoothly but is not as nice as some other less expensive ballpoints like the Pilot Acroball.  Also I don’t like that this pen has a cap.  Ballpoints don’t need a cap and I would prefer not to deal with one if I don’t have to.

If you love the design or simply want a conversation piece then it may be worth shelling out the $3.30 the Zebra Arbez Eo Ballpoint.

Here are a couple other reviews of the Zebra Arbez Eo Ballpoint Pen:

(I have no affiliation to the site linked below)

The Pen Addict – Zebra Arbez Eo Ballpoint Pen 0.7 mm Review

 

 

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop Review (Keyboard + Mouse)

I can’t say that I love keyboards as much as I love pens but I do believe that choosing the right keyboard is very important, especially when you interact with one as much as I do.

Microsoft has been making peripherals for decades now and their last ergonomic keyboard, the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Desktop Keyboard, has been around in one form or another since 2005.  I had two iterations of the the Natural Ergo and it was an okay keyboard but not great.  I had a couple issues with it: 1. the space bar was loud and too heavy and 2. the keyboard was enormous; it was so large that it left room for little else on my desk.  I actually destroyed both of my Natural Ergos by knocking beverages on them; I blame these mishaps on the keyboard’s vast size (and a bit on me being clumsy).  I have yet to spill a drink on any of my other keyboards of which I have had dozens.  So to sum up the old one had a crummy space bar and was too big.

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Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard + Mouse

To my delight, Microsoft’s new ergonomic keyboard, The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop, attempts to solve both of the Natural Ergo’s biggest problems.  The Sculpt Ergo has a split space bar and has a significantly trimmed down form-factor, going so far as to separate the 10-key from the main keyboard.  This is still a large keyboard at 15.4″ wide and 9″ deep but it is significantly smaller the Natural Ergo which was almost 20″ wide.

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The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop comes with a wireless mouse, keyboard, and 10-key at a retail price of approximately $130.   The keys are very light and resemble a laptop-style key with very little travel.  The wrist pad is nicely cushioned and appears to be good quality.  The keyboard also comes with a riser bar that lifts the bottom of the keyboard resulting in a higher wrist position for better ergonomics.  I personally didn’t find the keyboard comfortable with the raiser bar attached.

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Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard with magnetic riser attached.

I quickly adapted to the keyboard and found it to be quite comfortable.  I love the look of the keyboard, it looks futuristic and the cutout in the middle allows the keyboard to have less visual weight.  The keys are surrounded in a shiny black plastic which does show finger prints and with heavy use will likely show scratches as well.

My favorite part of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is the mouse.  The mouse is egg shaped and extremely comfortable to my hand, more so than the Goldtouch Ergonomic mouse I currently use.  For larger hands though I suspect the Sculpt mouse will feel a bit small.  Also this mouse is for right-handed people only as the rubberized thumb cutout is on the left of the mouse.  The top of the mouse and the primary left and right buttons are made of the same shiny black plastic as is on my keyboard.  There is a back button on the left in the rubberized thumb cutout.  I found this button to be a little bit too high and initially had trouble locating the button.  There is a bright blue Windows button on the top of the mouse.  I haven’t tested the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop on a Windows PC yet but it is my understanding that it brings up the Windows Start menu.  The scroll wheel is notched and features four way scrolling.

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Sculpt 10-key (I left the protective plastic on)

Pros:

  • Smaller form-factor than previous Microsoft ergonomic keyboards
  • Separate 10-key
  • Split space bar for easier actuation
  • Short key travel makes for fast typing
  • Great looking futuristic design
  • Very comfortable egg shaped mouse

Cons:

  • Keyboard and mouse run on AA batteries
  • Shiny black plastic attracts finger prints

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop is a big upgrade that is suitable for people who spend a lot time at their computer typing.  I don’t think that the Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard will replace my current Kinesis Freestyle 2 Ergonomic Keyboard (review to come) but I will definitely keep on using the mouse.

Here are some great reviews of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop:

(I have no affiliation to the sites linked below)

Uni Live Pigment Sign Pen XF Black Review

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The Uni Live Pigment Sign Pen is a decent porous tip pen with a simple black plastic body and a metal clip on the cap.  The pen puts down a nice bold black line, darker than that of the Stabilo Sensor I reviewed yesterday.  This pen writes relatively smooth but does not glide across the paper as easily as other porous tip pens like the Staedtler Triplus fineliner (review to come) and the Stabilo mentioned earlier. At $1.65 this pen is affordable but only comes in black, blue and red.   I like the Uni Live but I don’t think it is a pen I will be rushing out to buy more of them any time soon.

Here is a great review of the Uni Live Sign Pen:

(I have no affiliation to site linked below):

The Pen Addict – Uni Sign Pen Review

Stabilo Sensor Fineliner 0.3mm Black Review

I want to start off this post by saying that I love fineliners.  Fountain pens are my favorite but fineliners are a close second for their lovely feel, portability, and ease of use.  Now on to the review:

The Stabilo Sensor features a micro-cushioning “sensor” technology that is supposed to make long writing sessions more comfortable.  The fineliner tip retracts into the metal casing when pressure is applied. For me it feels a bit weird.  The pen feels bouncy on the paper and I don’t feel quite as in control as I do with other fineliners.  The tip is smooth and glides along the paper nicely. I am not really sure I care for the looks of this pen.  The “aluminum look” doesn’t look back but I don’t care for all of the big bold branding; to me it doesn’t have a professional look, it looks like a marker.  The Sensor comes in black, blue, red, and green.  For $1.60 this isn’t a bad pen but I can’t say I will be rushing out to buy another one.

Stabilo Sensor Review
The pros:

  • The tip being cased in metal is durable and works well with a ruler
  • No ink bleed on to the paper

The cons:

  • The black isn’t as dark as other fineliners like the Ohto Graphic Liner (review to come)
  • Ink is non-archival
  • Springy tip feels odd

Here are some great reviews of the Stabilo Sensor:

(I have no affiliation with any of the sites below)

The Pen Addict – Stabilo Sensor Review

Office Supply Geek – Stabilo Sensor Review

Tiger Pens – Stabilo Sensor Review

Aurora Optima Fountain Pen Review

Aurora Optima writing sample
Writing sample on a Maruman Report Pad P160 A5

The Optima is one of Aurora’s higher-end pens with a piston fill system and a 14k gold nib.  My Optima has a factory oblique-double-broad (OBB) nib and a burgundy “Auroloide” (celluloid) body.  The nib can be unscrewed for easy swapping.  Being a piston filler this pen holds a lot of ink and even has a “reserve tank”.  When the pen becomes low you simply twist the piston knob as far as it will go and this activates the special reserve tank which gives you another page or so of ink.  The Optima has the smoothest piston of all the pens in my collection, it is a real joy to use.

Aurora makes all of its nibs in house and the Optima’s nib is large and beautifully decorated.  This is my only OBB nib and I was surprised by how much I like it.  The nib glides effortlessly across the paper without being overly toothy like my other stub and oblique pens tend to be.   Aurora is famous for having nail-like nibs and the Optima’s is no exception.  If you are looking for some flex this definitely isn’t for you.  The nib features and ebonite feed with lots of fins.  This pen has been very reliable; it doesn’t skip and starts right away even after being uncapped for 15+ minutes.

Optima Nib

The Cassia ink appears green on the ebonite feed.
The Cassia ink appears green on the ebonite feed.

The Optima has a very nice weight and size.  It’s a shorter pen at 5.9 inches capped but is thicker than normal at slightly over half an inch at the widest point making it very comfortable to hold.  The Optima’s dimensions suit me very well.  The celluloid body is beautiful. The flat cap and engraving on the barrel which reads “AURORA ITALIA” and “FABBRICA ITALIANA DI PENNE A SERBATOIO” gives this pen a nice vintage feel.  The embellishments on the cap are nice quality but I am not in love with them.  The Greek keys to my eye are not as tasteful as those found pens by OMAS and Montegrappa.

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Optima barrel

I have had this pen for about six months and it has been in my regular rotation since purchase.  It’s a great workhorse.  The quality and attention to detail set this pen apart.

Here are some great reviews on the Optima:

(I have no affiliation to any of the sites linked below)

Best Fountain Pen – Aurora Optima Review

Gold Spot Pens – Aurora Optima Review

Welcome to The Unroyal Warrant!

This page is for those of us whom work at a desk, love pens and believe in retail therapy.  I work long hours in a grey cubical, a shared cubical, and I have found that the little things make all the difference.

By exploring combinations of pens, paper, and inks I have created a fantastic getaway for myself without having to leave my cube.  While I have deeply enjoyed keeping this little getaway to myself, it is time that I share this destination with others.

Please join me on an adventure into the world of pens…and whatever objects (shiny or otherwise) catch my eye along the way.