The Zebra f-701 pen is a solid stainless steel pen with one exception, the knock has a plastic ring around it. However, the F-402 has a solid stainless steel knock. This hack explains how to swap the knock out of the 402 and the 701. While I question the tactical effectiveness It’s a relatively easy process that I think really improves the look of an already nice pen.
The pen is smooth lightly brushed stainless steel with a knurled grip section. Notable is the absence of any printing. The clip has 701 pressed into it. The clip on the 402 is sturdier so I swapped them when I swapped the knock. The knurling is slight and unlike other deeply knurled grips doesn’t feel like I’m going to sandpaper my fingers off each time I grab hold. I prefer the simple 2-step tip on the 402 to the 5-step tip of the 701, sadly they are not swapable. The tip of the 402 is just a smidge too long to allow for the tip of the cart to deploy.
The refill that they arrive with is a smaller plastic refill than the Zebra refills that you can get. It will accept a Fisher Space Pen refill if you modify the plastic sleeve hiding in the tip. One modification is to take the sleeve out entirely, the other is to stretch it out by sliding it over the tip of the Space Pen cartridge. I like hack that keeps the plastic sleeve, as it stops any unwanted clicking and wiggle in the tip. the zebra refill is pretty good for sketching and general notetaking. It’s not super smooth but it’s not scratchy. It’s dark enough that you can get a good amount of light and dark out of it as you sketch. It is a nice fine point. I will dissent with the majority opinion and state flat out, I like the Zebra refill more than I like the Fisher Space pen refill.
The 701 is a great pen even if you don’t swap out the knock for the all metal knock of the 402. It just works. It now retails for around $8. the 402 comes in a 2 pack for about $9. The good thing with this pen is that it’s mostly metal construction means it can be dropped, kicked and knocked about and still write. Not many pens can make that claim.