Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen and Pencil – Purple

15 04 2014
Someone hand me some failing tests, that red is just itching to give out a big glowing F minus minus

Someone hand me some failing tests, that red is just itching to give out a big glowing F minus minus to some poor sap not smart enough to be using a Jetstream

What’s better that a Jetstream? Several Jetstreams rolled into one. Thank you to JetPens for providing this sample!

It comes it several colors, but obviously dark purple is the superior choice

It comes it several colors, but obviously dark purple is the superior choice

The body is simple and professional, with tasteful silver accents. The markings to denote refill colors are unobtrusive—quite appreciable, as multipens are ever in danger of looking like rainbow vomit with their many-colored plungers.

I like how the pencil is referred to as "0.5mm SHARP"...it makes a mechanical pencil sound so much more dangerous and exciting

I like how the pencil is referred to as “0.5mm SHARP”…it makes a mechanical pencil sound so much more dangerous and exciting

The sticker on the body was easily removable and left no residue. Coupled with the subtle branding imprinted on the clip, you’ve got a pen that looks good and keeps distractions low key.

Things I was not expecting to find in here: metal. Things that all of in here consists of: metal.

Things I was not expecting to find in here: metal. Things that all of in here consists of: metal.

The pen itself is nicely balanced, with the majority of its light weight focused lower, in the grip. The grip section is metal, with a nice grippy rubber on top (though it would be PHENOMENAL to have the grip be Alpha Gel instead, that would probably make the pen unbearably wide, and would collect more debris than this grip does). The upper half is mostly plastic (excepting the clip), and the overall composition of the pen makes it pretty comfortable for a longer writing session.

In the event of a graphite emergency, break the snap seal located on the top of your multi pen and apply eraser directly to the emergency

In the event of a graphite emergency, break the snap seal located on the top of your multi pen and apply eraser directly to the emergency

Normally I’m not a fan of easily-lost caps covering uselessly tiny erasers, but this cap hold surprisingly firm to the pen. It’s not going to get lost unless you set it down and forget to put it back on. The eraser itself isn’t much to speak of—more of an emergency provision. The pencil component is deployed by pressing down on the clip, and lead is advanced by pressing the deployed clip down again. It’s a wise design choice, providing a larger plunger for easy use of the pencil while concealing it design-wise in the clip. The only improvement I’d like to see here is for Uni to find a way to shrink the Kuru Toga mechanism into the size of a multi pen refill. A multi pen made of Jetstreams and a Kuru Toga would be unstoppable.

If you need more colors than this, be sure to give yourself a stern lecture about how back in my day we didn't have any newfangled ink colors. Pens were also used uphill both ways. In the snow.

If you need more colors than this, be sure to give yourself a stern lecture about how back in my day we didn’t have any newfangled ink colors. Pens were also used uphill both ways. In the snow.

I’ve had some problems recently with certain Jetstream color models not living up to the Jetstream name—consider this pen redemption. All colors perform smooth and vibrant, as a Jetstream should. The 0.5mm provides crisp lines that glide onto the page with almost no pressure whatsoever. The barrel is a bit wide, as almost all multipens are, but it’s not unwieldy—only if you really prefer a slim pen will it be something that might bother you. And, after handwriting out this whole review, the side of my hand is clean. This is the Jetstream I know and love.

If someone at Uni isn't feverishly working right now on adapting the Kuru Toga mechanism for multi pen use, then they don't know good money

If someone at Uni isn’t feverishly working right now on adapting the Kuru Toga mechanism for multi pen use, then they don’t know good money

If you use red, blue, green, and black ballpoints on a regular basis, you’ve got to give one of these a try. I’m thinking especially professionals and students in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, plus anyone who needs to mark up papers, or just likes having access to all the traditional pen colors at once. The refills are smooth, the mechanisms solid, and the pen looks good. Classic Jetstream goodness!

Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen and Pencil – Purple at JetPens





Pentel Jolt Mechanical Pencil – 0.5mm

26 02 2014
It comes with normal lead, but what's the fun in leaving a writing utensil unaltered? Gotta make it yours, though sometimes all that means is just putting in a different color lead

It comes with normal lead, but what’s the fun in leaving a writing utensil unaltered? Gotta make it yours, though sometimes all that means is just putting in a different color lead

Ever since the Kuru Toga came into my life, I haven’t tended to give much thought to mechanical pencils. But the Pentel Jolt has kept a stylish place in my heart, and it’s high time I got around to reviewing it.

Especially since I first mentioned the Jolt almost 3 years ago

Especially since I first mentioned the Jolt almost 3 years ago

Style style style style STYLE. I love the look. I love every part of the look. I love the faceted nosecone (and I love that it allows the tip to be retracted).

It's a pretty subtle faceting until you get right up onit

It’s a pretty subtle faceting until you get right up on it. Minus 2 points for me not having fully retracted the lead/tip in this picture

I love the zigzags indented in the grip, which is a nice grippy black rubber that doesn’t grab up a bunch of debris. And that shaker mechanism window, bright white spring popping against the black tube—

I could stare at this all day

I could stare at this all day

Just a solid YES. Even the branding looks good.

Probably named as a nod to Jolt Cola, that highly caffeinated beverage of my youth; consuming Jolt Cola will aid and amplify in the use of the shaker mechanism

Probably named as a nod to Jolt Cola, that highly caffeinated beverage of my youth; consuming Jolt Cola will aid and amplify in the use of the shaker mechanism

A++ on this design, Pentel. Please call up whoever worked on this design and remind them of what a good job they did.

This is a real eraser. None of those useless little crumbs that companies like hiding under an easily lost plastic cap

This is a real eraser. None of those useless little crumbs that companies like hiding under an easily lost plastic cap

Not content with mere aesthetic mastery, the Jolt hits as many functional points as it can. Number one in my heart is this extra large, wide black eraser. The only improvement there would be for Pentel to make it out of their hi-polymer black eraser material.

I don’t have many shaker pencils, so I don’t know exactly how to evaluate them. You shake the pencil, and like you’re some kind of wizard having a fit, lead magically advances from your flailings. Or, if you’re more traditionally inclined, you can advance the lead by pressing down on the eraser.

Strong lead for a strong pencil

Strong lead for a strong pencil

I forget what kind of lead it came with; I loaded it with Pentel’s Ain Stein enhanced 0.5mm blue lead. It’s smear resistant, with a reinforced silica core. Plus it makes all your drawings look cool.

Also comes in a lime green body for the 0.5mm; pink and orange bodies with white accents are for the 0.7mm

Also comes in a lime green body for the 0.5mm; pink and orange bodies with white accents are for the 0.7mm

At a little under $3 and widely available in regular office supply stores, the Pentel Jolt is probably one of the best-looking mechanical pencils you can get out in the wilds of the American market.

Pentel Jolt Mechanical Pencil 0.5mm at Pentel

Pentel Stein Enhanced Silica Pencil Lead – 0.5mm – Blue at JetPens





Zebra Prefill 3 Color Multi Pen

29 01 2014
In honor of the fast-approaching Valentine's Day, this scan has decided it wants its magenta-purple ink to appear pink instead. I give up

In honor of the fast-approaching Valentine’s Day, this scan has decided it wants its magenta-purple ink to appear pink instead. I give up

These names for multi pens get unwieldy. This is technically the Zebra Prefill 3 Color Multi Pen – Light Blue Body Component / 0.3mm Mechanical Pencil Component / 0.4mm Sarasa Gel Ink Components – Black and Purple. There, that’s everything.

In the world of budget-priced, customizable multi pens, there’s no perfection—only some pretty good options. The Prefill (‘preferred’ + ‘refill’) is Zebra’s pretty good option.

Simple and clean. Like that song. This will now be the soundtrack for the Zebra Prefill.

Simple and clean. Like that song. This will now be the soundtrack for the Zebra Prefill.

The body is hard plastic, and comes in a range of colors and patters (you can get a 3 component body or a 4 component body). Like the original Uni Style Fit, we’ve got a see-through grip to easily identify which components are loaded. Advantage over the original Style Fit: lead advances when a pencil component is deployed by pressing down on the top knock button. Disadvantage: the Prefill has no eraser (also, the Style Fit fixed that problem in another body). That’s right: no eraser; not on top, useless and tiny but still existent, nor as an optional in-body component, like the glorious Hi-Tec-C Coleto line.

Help me I'm still listening to the song. Hold me, Zebra Prefill, whatever lies beyond this morning....

Help me I’m still listening to the song. Hold me, Zebra Prefill, whatever lies beyond this morning….

Biggest thing going for the Zebra Prefill is probably this clip. Cribbed from their Sarasa Push Clip, Airfit Jell, and Surari 4C multi pen, its hinged clips pinch right on my heartstrings. Love a hinged clip.

I SWEAR IT'S MAGENTA PURPLE. NOT PINK. WHY. DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING. WITH THE SARASA PURPLE.

I SWEAR IT’S MAGENTA PURPLE. NOT PINK. WHY. DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING. WITH THE SARASA PURPLE.

A lack of eraser is a serious negative if the Prefill ever hopes to be a strong multipencil, buuuut among the Prefill, Style Fit, and Coleto systems, the Prefill is the only one with three size options (0.3mm, 0.5mm, and 0.7mm) for the mechanical pencil. The Coleto has 0.3mm and 0.5mm, and the Style Fit only has 0.5mm for its pencil component. It all depends on what your priorities might be in building an affordable multipencil.

Fine, I give up. Whatever. It's pink.

Fine, I give up. Whatever. It’s pink now.

If you’re a Zebra fan (think Sarasa gels and Surari super smooth ballpoints), then the Prefill is a good way to bring your loves together in one body, with some caveats. First, there’s only one size option listed for your various gel pen colors (0.4mm) and one size option for your ballpoints (0.5mm)—though the 0.7mm Surari ballpoint refill from my Surari 4C fits in the Prefill, making that 2 ballpoint size options. Second, it seems like individual Sarasa Pens write better than the components in the multi pen. Sometimes a little sacrifice is in order when you want compact convenience. But it’s like there are these times when the gel ball tip feels a little odd while writing…not so consistently nor terrible as to render the pen totally annoyingly unusable, but know that this may come up for you, and you may not like it.

Here's where an eraser would go...IF THE PREFILL HAD ONE.

Here’s where an eraser would go…IF THE PREFILL HAD ONE.

Zebra may be a little late to the low-end game, with not as many gel size options, but the Prefill is a comfortable start. I don’t think it’s enough to unseat the Style Fit or the Coleto, but it should at least pique the interest of Zebra’s Sarasa and Surari fans.

Zebra Prefill Multi Pen System at JetPens






Pentel Graphgear 1000 Drafting Pencil – 0.5 mm

16 10 2013
If I knew any drafting, I would have done that for the drawing sample. Should've drawn some hex nuts and bolts, but it's too late now.

If I knew any drafting, I would have done that for the drawing sample. Should’ve drawn some hex nuts and bolts, but it’s too late now.

I love the look of drafting pencils. They’re always so fancy—far beyond what I ever need in a pencil.

Is drafting still a thing that's done by hand?

Is drafting still a thing that’s done by hand?

In appearance, the Pentel Graphgear 1000 clocks in somewhere between futuristic and Art Deco. Where to start on these features? You’ve got a secure metal cap hiding an adjustable emergency eraser, with a sticker on top conveniently indicating lead size. You’ve got a little window to indicate lead hardness, from 2H to 2B. And you’ve got this sweet grip—

Adjustable emergency eraser! Better than your standard shoddy crumblet-sized eraser

Adjustable emergency eraser! Better than your standard shoddy crumblet-sized eraser

Which combines the grippability of a knurled grip with the comfort of a rubbery grip. The little ovals go down when you press on them. I don’t know how useful that is, but it’s insanely fun to play with.

A stronger clip is not yet known to man in the pencil world

A stronger clip is not yet known to man in the pencil world

The big deal with this Graphgear is the retractable lead sleeve. To deploy, push down on the eraser knock, and the lead sleeve clicks neatly into place. To retract, open up the clip—the whole mechanism retracts violently. Time has not reduced the forcefulness of this retraction.

Pencil lead, as would be expected

Pencil lead, as would be expected

The lead sleeve is very sturdy. The lead in the sleeve is sturdy. The pencil is solid, the weight, well balanced.

Pretend that I drew a building for you

Pretend that I drew a building for you

The Graphgear 1000 is a classy, well-made pencil. I don’t know much about drafting pencils to compare it to, but the GraphGear seems to me like quite the fine utensil.

Thanks to Pentel for providing this sample for review!

 

Pentel Graphgear 1000 at Pentel.com

Pentel Graphgear 1000 at JetPens

Pentel Graphgear 1000 at Amazon, thru Pentel, cheaper than Pentel’s own website?!?





Ink Drop Soup: Category Killers

3 08 2013

I want to do a brief lineup, a shout-out and nod to products so exceptional that it becomes almost impossible to review anything in their category without mentioning them, without adding a disclaimer acknowledging that the product under review certainly isn’t a so-and-so. Compared to the category killer, everything else lags behind in a competition for second place.

Mechanical Pencil: Uni Kuru Toga

Alpha gel grip for bonus points

Alpha gel grip for bonus points

It rotates the lead as you write. There’s an Alpha Gel grip model. All other mechanical pencils can go home because for me, this pencil reigns supreme.

Ballpoint Pen: Uni Jetstream

As close as a ballpoint can get to perfection

As close as a ballpoint can get to perfection

Your mileage may vary. I’ve heard some people complain that the Jetstream is too smooth, in what I assume is much the same tone that rich people use when they complain that they just have too much money. There may be good competition in the super smooth world, tolerable substitutes even, but a ballpoint pen can’t fall in my hand without being measured against the Jetstream.

Convenient Fountain Pen: Pilot Vanishing Point

  CLICK click CLICK click

CLICK click CLICK click

I love a lot of different fountain pens, but when it comes to convenience, the Vanishing Point is the undisputed champ. I own three now. Send help.

There are still categories out there where a single winner hasn’t seized my heart. Gel pens, rollerball pens, felt-tip pens, hardcase wooden pencils (though the Palomino Blackwing is pretty strong), lead holders (though I have a soft spot for the Ohto Comfort Sharp), highlighters … I don’t yet know the end-all champion in those realms (gel pens may never be settled, as there are many good gel pens). But now, henceforth, you all know when I review a mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, or fountain pen touting its convenience, unless that product is the new category killer, it will go without saying that it isn’t in the same league as these fantastic writing utensils.





OfficeMax Private Brand Writing Products – Review & GIVEAWAY!

27 07 2013
It's impressively difficult to accurately capture the neon vibrancy of those highlighters. Scans didn't work, and even pictures don't do it justice

It’s impressively difficult to accurately capture the neon vibrancy of those highlighters. Scans didn’t work, and even pictures don’t do it justice

A massive review, what madness! OfficeMax approached me to do a review of some of their new private brand products—they’re expanding their offerings, and sent me the trifecta of office supply supply basics to take for a spin. Thank you to OfficeMax for the free samples! We’ve got here the OfficeMax Retractable Gel Pens, Mechanical Pencils with Grip, and Pen Style Highlighters.

Blister pack of 0.7mm retractable gel pens comes with 2 black, 1 red, 1 blue, I just didn't photograph the redundant items

Blister pack of 0.7mm retractable gel pens comes with 2 black, 1 red, 1 blue, I just didn’t photograph the redundant items

I’ll start with the gel pens, since they’re my favorite of the lot. The design is clearly in the same vein as other basic level gel pens—simple, similar, and safely within that particular standard.

And as per usual, the G2 craps out. Ladies and gentlemen, can there be a pen worse for your office than the Pilot G2?

And as per usual, the G2 craps out. Ladies and gentlemen, can there be a pen worse for your office than the Pilot G2?

The ink colors are intense. I’d like to see more colors roll out with equal vibrancy, just as I’d like to see 0.5mm and perhaps even—dare I dream?—something like 0.38mm tip size. The ink flows well; no skipping or start-up problems. And though there hasn’t been blobbing, the strong ink flow is leading to some thicker lines in some of the curves. This ink also isn’t quick drying. Lefties beware. I can easily see this pen replacing Pilot’s G2 in an office (and very much hope any misguided offices that still use the G2 as their basic supply stock STOP DOING THAT), but for me the slow dry time is probably going to keep this pen out of my regular personal rotation.

Box comes with 12 assorted color #2 mechanical pencils, 0.7mm, top advancing

Box comes with 12 assorted color #2 mechanical pencils, 0.7mm, top advancing

These are the kind of mechanical pencils just made for giveaways. They aren’t fancy, but the matching eraser and grip is just the sort of touch that endears you to a freebie. I could see businesses ordering mass quantities of this pencil, getting their own company logo added on it, and giving them out to promote their company. I could see parents getting a couple boxes and throwing one of these pencils in a color-themed party favor. They are perfectly reasonable pencils (we all know that the Uni Kuru Toga has pretty much ended all competition in the pencil area, and everything else is just vying for lower tiers; this is obviously no Kuru Toga). The lead sleeve retracts, the better to protect it when thrown in a bag. The lead is held firmly in place when in use. The grip is very grippy, though it smells remarkably like a bag of cheap balloons.

Pen style chisel-tip highlighters come in a pack of 10: 3 yellow, 2 each of orange and pink, and 1 each of green, blue, and purple

Pen style chisel-tip highlighters come in a pack of 10: 3 yellow, 2 each of orange and pink, and 1 each of green, blue, and purple

There’s really not much I know to say about highlighters. Do they highlight? Yes. We’re done. The neon colors pop, in a way my mere pictures cannot capture, and you can read text beneath all the colors. The spring loaded cap reminds me of the Pilot Preppy cap, though I worry that, like the Preppy, the cap may be prone to cracking. Time will tell. The highlighter lays down a solid, juicy line with no skipping—though there is some concern with the dry time needed for such a wet line. Don’t use it to highlight in a glossy textbook unless you want to risk a mess.

Not pictured: 1 gel pen, 4 highlighters, and about 7 additional pencils.

Not pictured: 1 gel pen, 4 highlighters, and about 7 additional pencils.

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THE GIVEAWAY RULES!

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Now for the part you’ve been looking forward to: the giveaway! OfficeMax is generously providing a sample package (set of retractable gel pens, pen style highlighters, and mechanical pencils with grip) directly to one lucky reader here. Your rules as follows:

  1. To enter, just leave one comment on this post explaining why you’re excited to try OfficeMax’s new private brand writing products—any time between now and Monday, August 12th 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Sadly, this contest is only open to U.S. residents.
  2. One winner will be picked at random from the comments section of this post. Only one comment per person! Comments in excess of one shall be deleted. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. Because my blog doesn’t seem to number the comments on its own yet, and I STILL don’t have time/the willpower to fix it, I will probably just hand-number all the entries in Photoshop like I did here because this is the kind of solution that sane people come up with. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.
  3. I’ll post the contest winner on Tuesday, August 13th. Winners will have one week to email me. There’s a link to my email at the top of the right sidebar. I’ll forward your info to OfficeMax so they can send you your pens, pencils, and highlighters!

Good luck, and thanks again to OfficeMax!

Disclaimer: I received the OfficeMax products mentioned in this post from OfficeMax in order to facilitate my review. The items featured in this giveaway are also provided by OfficeMax and will be sent to the winner directly. Opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way.

 





Pentel Libretto Pen & Pencil Set — and GIVEAWAY!

20 12 2012
Pens AND pencils---TOGETHER?!?!?

Pens AND pencils—TOGETHER?!?!?

You know how these things start. I get an email that begins with “do you want—” and I’m already shouting YES PLEASE as I reply with my mailing address before they can even get out the words “free pen sample.”

Does this desk look dimly lit to you? Or do I need to change my contacts?

Does this desk look dimly lit to you? Or do I need to change my contacts?

Usually I’m skeptical of gift sets when it comes to the world of writing utensils. No good reason for it, really. If I don’t like something, there’s usually a good reason. Gift pen and pencil sets are the exception. I distrust them without any justification.

The subtle accents somehow seem festively appropriate. Or maybe that's the red felt. Maybe the accents really indicate the number of times the pen was distilled. 150-proof pen, ladies and gents.

The subtle accents somehow seem festively appropriate. Or maybe that’s the red felt. Maybe the accents really indicate the number of times the pen was distilled. 150-proof pen, ladies and gents.

But I’m glad I gave these a shot. They’re simple yet elegant, with classy accents and a nice feel in the hand. I’d take them to a dinner party; wouldn’t you?

Pencil? Bueno. Rollerball? Not so bueno.

Pencil? Bueno. Rollerball? Not so bueno.

The pencil I found myself reaching for time and again on recent craft / notebook-making projects. The pen, however, is a bit of a let-down. It doesn’t apply well over pencil, meaning it’s a no-go for art use, and I had some occasional skipping. Not to fear though.

I doubt Pentel appreciates me kicking their refill out for a Uni-ball Jetstream refill, but maybe I wouldn't have to if they'd stock the Vicuna in American retail stores.

I doubt Pentel appreciates me kicking their refill out for a Uni-ball Jetstream refill, but maybe I wouldn’t have to if they’d stock the VIcuna in American retail stores.

Joyous wonder, the Jetstream refill fits in this body. So you can have a fancy all-fine-occasions pen with a delicious Jetstream center (and if you love the person you’d be giving this to, you WILL open it up and put a Jetstream refill in the pen).

 

For all your favorite gift-based holidays!

For all your favorite gift-based holidays!

Now, on to the good stuff.

 

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THE GIVEAWAY RULES!

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  1. To enter, just leave one comment on this post any time between now and Thursday, December 27th 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Since I’ll be sending this myself, and I’m not made of loot and dough, I’m limiting this contest to U.S. residents only. Sorry!
  2. One winner will be picked at random from the comments section of this post. Make any kind of comment—but only one comment! Comments in excess of one shall be deleted. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. Because my blog doesn’t seem to number the comments on its own yet, and I STILL don’t will probably never have time/the willpower to fix it, I will again hand-number all the entries in Photoshop like I did here. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.
  3. I’ll post the contest winner on Friday, December 28th. Winner will have one week to email me. There’s a link to my email at the top of the right sidebar.

Good luck everyone!

Many thanks to Pentel for providing these sets for me to review and for the extra to give away!

Pentel Libretto Pen & Pencil Set

 

 





Pilot AirBlanc Mechanical Pencil – 0.3 mm – Green

21 09 2012

I DON’T REALLY KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MECHANICAL PENCILS I’M SO SORRY

A pencil is a pencil is a pencil. As far as I can tell, they’re all going to work about the same when it comes to standard mechanical pencils. There are rare, exceptional cases, but for the most part the pencil will be judged on aesthetics and comfort, with writing sample factoring in as a strong WHATEVER. But I’m not a pencil aficionado, so maybe I’m just missing something.

When a pen doesn’t write, it’s probably crappy ink. When a pencil doesn’t write, it’s probably out of lead.

The AirBlanc is a peaceful-looking pencil. Very fresh. Very springtime. The kind of pencil a clucking rabbit might hatch. All that green, plus the translucent-pearlescent upper casing…just lovely. The clip especially is a nice piece of design work.

Try to act like that isn’t neat. YOU CAN’T

Unfortunately, I don’t have a heat chamber where I can test the alleged cooling properties of the grip, and the typically sweltering Southern weather in these parts has begun its autumnal temperature descent. I will assume that if it’s hot enough for me to desire a specially aerated grip, it will be too hot for me to want to do any writing.

Though JetPens assures me that I do have a constant hothand problem that this pencil will fix.

As for writing, well, it writes. What else can I say?

HOORAY IT WRITES!

The lead it comes with sufficiently transfers itself onto the paper when applied. Nothing particularly phenomenal, nothing problematic presenting when used. Maybe one day I’ll learn pencil nuance.

Until then I’ll just keep buying pencils and probably underappreciating them

All in all, a neat little pencil. Be sure to keep it in mind when your favorite springtime gift excuse holiday rolls around.

Thanks to JetPens for providing this sample!

Pilot AirBlanc Mechanical Pencil – 0.3 mm – Green at JetPens





Tombow Olno Body Knock Pencil – 0.5 mm – Clear White

29 06 2012

The ever elusive pencil review!

The only need I have for mechanical pencils anymore is when I want to psych myself into thinking I want to take a bunch of scan-tron tests. When I need pencils for drawing, I’ve been going for lead holders and wooden pencils, and I have no normal need to write with something so irredeemably smudgy as graphite. It takes something truly peculiar to make me want to go get my hands on a mechanical pencil.

Truly, something peculiar

This is the first and only grip I’ve encountered that covers every point where my hand touches the pencil. It looks a bit unbalanced, but it feels great. And inside this grip of exceptional dimensions you’ll find the most fantastic little innovation this side of the Kuru Toga.

According to JetPens, ‘OLNO’ is a play on the Japanese word “oru”, or to fold/bend. I will generously assume the pun is much more enjoyable if you know Japanese.

In addition to the snoreatorium standard method of lead advancement (a.k.a. clicking on the eraser end), the Olno allows lead access by applying pressure toward the upper part of the grip.

IT MAY BEND, BUT IT WILL NEVER BREAK! Actually don’t lay down the violence too harshly—I’m sure it will eventually break.

At first it seems unnatural, as if you’re violating the sacred trust between you and a $5 writing utensil that you shouldn’t be manipulating as if to snap in half. But once you get over that feeling and realize you’re not manhandling the pencil to pieces, it’s a pretty efficient maneuver. It’s just a slight upward squeeze of the thumb for me, and it doesn’t disrupt my grip of the pencil—intuitive stuff.

Also includes non-intuitive stuff

The only thing that doesn’t make sense here is the eraser. The semi-circle clip-like object doesn’t keep the pencil from rolling away if it has any momentum going. And you can’t really clip it to anything because it pops right off—that’s where the eraser is hiding.

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

Standard mechanical pencil-sized eraser, but in a less than convenient format. You can smush it in upside down, and it will stay put—as long as you don’t actually use it. Then it pops right out. Pretty sure this is bad for the plastic.

One day I will learn how to make fine, snobbish distinctions so as to be like a wine connoisseur of pencil leads. For now it’s pretty much THIS WRITES or THIS DOESN’T WRITE WHICH MAKES NO SENSE BECAUSE LEAD ALWAYS WRITES

Just leave the eraser secured in the top (for emergencies) and use a separate eraser. Otherwise you’ve got an unwieldy little choking hazard on your hands. Eraser aside (or capside), it’s a neat little treat to write with. No problems with the lead or general use of the pencil.

Public Service Announcement: the lead goes in here

For your general reference, to refill the lead, pinch at the top of the grip and the bottom of the clear part and twist the two apart. Don’t worry—the pencil is designed so that the little red-orange bit doesn’t fall out.

Without opposable thumbs or a written system of language, Tobi has a hard time using the Tombow Olno pencil.

Many thanks to JetPens for providing this sample to review!

Tombow Olno Body Knock Pencil – 0.5 mm – Clear White at JetPens

Tombow Olno Body Knock Pencil – 0.5 mm – All the other exciting colors at JetPens








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