Zebra Sharbo X ST3 Multi-Pen Review

I haven’t used a multi-tip pen on a long time, so when Brad at JetPens asked if I might like to review the  Zebra Sharbo X ST3 multi-tip pen, I was happy to say yes. The multi-tip pens from years gone by were usually bulky and not very sleek. People would never guess that the Sharbo X houses 3 separate tips because it looks no larger than a one tipped pen. Let’s see if it works as well as it looks.

Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.

The Zebra Sharbo X ST3 has a paint coated brass barrel and is available in 3 colors, which include Silver, White and Black. As you can see, I was sent the Silver version for this review. The finish has a brushed appearance and is smooth to the touch.

The pen has a length of 138.1 mm (5.5 inches with the tip retracted) and a diameter of 11.1 mm (.44 inches).

There were no English instructions included with the pen, but it’s easy to load the tips. The barrel unscrews to reveal 3 tip holders.

It’s important to note that you’ll be required to purchase the individual tips along with the pen. The Sharbo is compatible with mechanical pencil components in: 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm sizes. Pen refill components are available in a: 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm, and 0.7 mm sizes, in gel or ballpoint and in a variety of colors. A stylus (not for capacitive screens) component is also available. The prices for these tips vary from $1.35 to $5.00 each if you get them through JetPens.com.

To load the tips, you just slide them into each individual holder and seat them. The pencil holder is the only one that you have to pay attention to as it’s made differently to allow for the push lead advance mechanism.

Once the tips are loaded, you screw the barrel back on and start using the pen. Tips are selected by rotating the top section of the pen so that the selector line matches up with the 3 sets of lines on the lower barrel. In the image above, tip #3 is selected.

As you rotate the cap to each selection, it clicks in place. In the picture above, you can see that tip #2 is selected. FYI: tip #1 is always the mechanical pencil tip.

When you turn the cap to select a tip, it is automatically extended. The main problem with the Sharbo X ST3 is that there isn’t a selection for no tips. To leave the pen with no tips retracted, you’ll need to leave the cap rotated between two sets of marks.

Another oddity of this pen is that the cap has a rubber top that looks similar to an eraser. And interestingly enough, it works just like an eraser by leaving little eraser crumbs if you use it to erase something that you’ve written in pencil. The problem is, that the top is not an eraser at all. It’s just for looks.

To access the real eraser, you have to unscrew the cap… which is made of silver color plastic and not metal like the rest of the pen…

The Sharbo X has a bit of weight to it, while remaining well balanced. It feels like a quality pen and writes well. But of course this depends on the type of ink components that you install. I installed a black gel ink component and a red regular ink component along with a mechanical pencil component. I never had any problems with the tips getting jammed or other issues with the mechanics of the pen.

The only other thoughts that I have on the Sharbo X have to do with the fact that the tips are so small. That means they don’t hold that much ink or leads. I’ve not had an ink tips run out yet, but at $2.75 each, this could be turn into an expensive pen for a person that uses it heavily. The mechanical pencil tip can only accommodate 1 lead at a time, so having to load more could end up becoming a frequent activity.

I like the looks and feel of the Sharbo X ST3 Multi-pen. Carrying 3 pens in one sleek package does have its benefits. But at almost $50, it seems too expensive to me since you also are required to purchase 3 tips which can end up adding $10 to the price and even more as you replace the tips.

Are you a fan of multi-pens? If so, what is your favorite one to use?

 

Product Information

Price:$49.50
Manufacturer:Zebra
Retailer:JetPens
Pros:
  • Sleek
  • Nice looks and good feel
Cons:
  • No selection for no tips
  • Top cap can be mistaken for an eraser
Posted in: Gear, Reviews

19 comments… add one

  • Anson December 3, 2011, 5:25 pm

    I have the sharbo carbon-x… the only diff is that the barrel is carbon-fiber and JetPen sells it for 2x as much as your model- but boy is it sexy :)
    I bought my carbon model during my japan-vacation over the summer and tho not cheap, still costed about $80usd. In japan, you can also buy accessory “kits”. It looks like a very flat business-card holder, that springs open to reveal slots to house your extra refills. Locally, each refill retails for about 60-cents (i bought a boatload). In addition to the stylus tip, you can also purchase the pencil mechanism in .7 and .3.
    More locally, you can find them packaged in 2’s at Staples, but they only come in Black.

    I agree, the OFF mode is annoying because it floats between modes :(
    If you look online, you see some users modding the end-rubber with a blunt stylus tip so they can use it on an iPad- bonus!

    BTW, Nice Rhodia Webbie

    1
  • DStaal December 3, 2011, 5:27 pm

    Quick question: Can the rubber top erase *ink*? (Just a weird thought, that they might have two different erasers in there… It’d probably have to be ink from this pen.)

    2
  • Julie December 3, 2011, 5:46 pm

    @Anson I’ll have to check out the modded pens. That sounds very cool. I’m not sure how the stylus would work on an iPad though as the cap itself is plastic and doesn’t offer any connectivity…
    I have seen another model of the Sharbo X that comes in all sorts of different colors. I need an Orange one to go with the Rhodia Webbie! Do you use your carbon-x all the time? Are you going through refills often?

    @DStaal I asked Brad at JetPens if the cap was supposed to be an eraser and he said no. It’s just for looks… But the eraser under the cap looks like it’s made of exactly the same material.

    3
  • dapv December 3, 2011, 6:49 pm

    It’s no clear how the Zebra Sharbo X is any better than the Cross Tech 3. Anyone care to comment? Thanks.

    4
  • Blore40 December 3, 2011, 7:26 pm

    Hi Julie,

    I don’t believe a word of what you say. Send me that pen(drool) and I will test it for myself. :-)

    One can never have too many backpacks (13) or pens(tons).

    5
  • Anson December 3, 2011, 8:21 pm

    @julie:
    The stylus mod actually involves removing the existing nub and swapping with another tip.
    The zebra refills last as long as any other ballpen

    6
  • Anson December 3, 2011, 8:23 pm

    … But like I said. Try using black the most. Staples has them $2.99 for a 2-pack (black-only) as I recall. If you want blue, the cross-refills will fit, but costs more and I find the ink doesn’t flow as smooth ;(

    7
  • Julie December 3, 2011, 9:11 pm

    @dapv I’m not sure how they differ. I prefer the style of the Sharbo over the Cross though. That’s just a personal opinion after seeing a picture of the Cross… I’ve not actually tried one.

    @Blore40 I would send you this one, but I might need to hang on to it in case I do some more multi-pen reviews and need something to compare them to.

    @anson I really like the black gel refill that I got with the Sharbo.

    8
  • Ian Lim December 3, 2011, 9:23 pm

    Currently using the Fisher 3 in one with the hoopy gravity (?) Change for the nibs.

    9
  • anson December 3, 2011, 10:13 pm

    @Julie, i didnt realize there was a gel option. Didn’t see them when i bought my stash of refills.
    BTW, there IS a orange-version :) just saw it on their site!
    Model # is: SB16-CR

    http://www.sharbo-x.com/#information

    10
  • Julie December 3, 2011, 10:15 pm
    11
  • dapv December 4, 2011, 10:38 am

    Thank you, Julie. I encourage all others to weigh-in on Zebra Sharbo X (vs) Cross Tech 3.

    12
  • Anson December 4, 2011, 11:54 am

    @dapv
    I’ve only seen the cross in chrome and black. If they offered a carbon version id consider it.
    Tho, I have a ” made in Japan” bias- versus the made-in-china of the cross ;p
    Also, I prefer the smooth-writing refills over the cross. (they are interchangeable)

    13
  • dapv December 4, 2011, 3:58 pm

    @Anson: It’s my understanding the Tech 3 is “Made In Japan”. I can’t speak to the quality of the refills, but I believe that size is universally interchangeable. I find these straight cylindrical metal pens (including Lamy) uncomfortable for anything but the briefest of jotting thoughts, etc.

    14
  • anson December 4, 2011, 4:05 pm

    @dapv
    The cross tech 3 has the same cylindrical design ;p
    Most multi-pens are not meant for endurance writing- but a perfect compromise to carrying 3 different writing utensils.
    I do have a Lamy-logo multipen (black/blue/red) which I do prefer writing with because there are grooves cut-in for better grip. However it doesn’t have a pencil option ;(

    15
  • Ken December 5, 2011, 10:46 am

    I don’t have a multi pen, but if I did I would want 2 options, a pen and capacitive stylus. I don’t like the stylus tips that are big, my finger is big and works when I can get by with something bug. This tip looks nice, how well does it work in smaller areas?
    I also think this is big, in diameter. How does it feel?

    16
  • Julie December 5, 2011, 11:46 am

    @Ken Unfortunately there isn’t a capacitive stylus tip option for the Sharbo X. The diameter of the Sharbo X is 11.1 mm (.44 inches). It’s larger than a standard Bic pen and an ordinary lead pencil, but I found it comfortable to write with.

    17
  • Anson December 5, 2011, 12:41 pm
    18
  • Tenebrous January 27, 2014, 11:11 am

    “The mechanical pencil tip can only accommodate 1 lead at a time”

    Actually that’s not entirely true – you can put 3-4 leads in the metal tube of the pen itself.

    19

Leave a Comment