So the title was going to get all kinds of unruly; here’s your full title: Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 5 Color Multi Pen – Pen Body – Clear Black with Three 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil Components, 0.5mm Black Multi Pen Ink Cartridge, and ERASER COMPONENT.
I’d been collecting some Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen(cil) components before in my quest for the perfect multi pencil, but previously I was unimpressed by the ink cartridges (also, negatively impressed on several occasions, but let’s stay positive), and the mechanical pencil components didn’t swing my opinion one way or another since the additional ink components couldn’t carry me away from my previous multi-pen(cil) love. The body options for the Pilot Hi-Tec-C multi pen, I admit, are much more extensive and much nicer than what’s available for the Uni-ball Style Fit (which has recently added a few bizarre polka dotted options in a misguided attempt to bring something interesting to the table), but the pencil components were close enough to identical that the presence of a Jetstream component kept my loyalty with the Style Fit. Not anymore.
Ladies, gentlemen, individuals not constricted by societally prescribed gender, THAT IS AN ERASER. It is an eraser, and it is coming out of that multi pencil. We have seen the promised land. Our hopes, prayers, and animal sacrifices have been answered.
The addition of an eraser, in spite of a lack of a satisfying pen component, puts the Coleto multi pen line in front running for Best Multipencil. Let’s take it from the top.
I decided to go with the 5 component body—I wanted 3 pencils, the eraser, and figured it might be worthwhile to throw a pen in the mix (it wasn’t).
Unlike the Style Fit, disassembling the Coleto mechanical pencil component was not an esoteric challenge of obscure pentuition—just pull the long silver tube away from the plastic. Ta-da.
It doesn’t fall apart, but it comes apart as easily as I think a component should. The eraser comes already in the metal sleeve. I haven’t gone through it yet, but we’ll see how long the eraser lasts and how easy refilling ends up being. The ink component is totally discardable—ok, maybe I’m being too harsh, but for me it ranks far below the Signo DX style ink cartridge and the Jetstream cartridge. If I can find a way to shove one of those in here instead, I’ll do it. We will henceforth refrain from commentary on the lowly ink cartridge and my infinitesimally low opinion of it.
The components drop down into spring-loaded tubes, then the lid snaps shut on top, securing the components in place. It’s very easy to rearrange components, swap them in and out of different bodies, and devise new orderings to try to get around the aesthetic nightmare all those plastic wings create. Score one point for convenience.
Even though the plastic wings look odd and unpleasant, they are kinder on the thumbs than the wings of the Style-Fit, and advancing the lead seems much easier. Switching between deployed components isn’t always as smooth as I’d like; it doesn’t seem like pushing down on a new component always automatically makes the other component pop back up, and I’ve occasionally had trouble getting the component to stay down after I first push it (but once it’s in place, I haven’t had one retract while in use). I haven’t had any problems with the lead slipping back into the barrel, or at least haven’t had any vague hallucinations of such being a problem (one of which had to be the issue I was having with the Style Fit mechanical pencil components).
I am especially pleased with the performance of the eraser—I wouldn’t use it to clear out big areas, but it’s perfect for fixing lines in a quick sketch. The only drawback is having to overcome the learned urge to flip the entire unit around when I want to erase something. Once I learn to not do that, I think use of this multi pencil will be even easier, since I won’t be wasting time flipping the unit constantly (we will assume I’m going to be making a lot of little mistakes).
The only mark against this multi pencil set up is that all these pencil and eraser components rattle around for some reason. When I fill the barrel with all these colorful, sleek little pen components I don’t get the rattling. And the only mark against the five-body model in particular that I have is that, unless I want to put another pencil in, I have no need for 5 component slots. This particular 0.5 mm black pen had no redeeming features that made it worth keeping in the mix, and it detracted from the otherwise uniformly wonky visual set-up the pencils and eraser provided. I found the grips on the barrel unobtrusive but …useful? I don’t know; I don’t really tend to have a particular need for a grip, but for those of you that do, this model does have a grip where the Uni Style Fit does not.
In going for a pure multi pencil, the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto line has everything I’ve been looking for: convenience, ease of use, comfort, nicer component bodies, and above all, AN ERASER. If you’ve been trying to put a bunch of pencils together in a single house of plastic, jump on the Coleto; it’s the best option I’ve seen so far.