A More Efficient Pencil? Perhaps!

Feb 24, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Lead seems to break less, nice looking, writes pretty good!

Cons:A bit expensive for what it is.

The Bottom Line: If you want to try something new, give it a whirl! Very nice pencil that seems to make the lead last a long time!


Introduction
I came across these Pentel e-Sharp Mechanical pencils the other day and figured I'd give them a try. While I'm not usually a huge pencil fan, I figured it fit all my criteria for a good writing implement. Not to narrow grip, functional pocket clip and not overly light in weight. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised! (It also helps that they were free in the office supply cabinet.)

Another interesting thing about these pencils. They claim to maximize lead usage through Pentel's new Lead Maximizer system. We'll get more into that later.

Design
These pencils are pretty common for mechanical pencils. You have a plastic body with an end cap that you press to advance the lead. Unlike many other refillable mechanical pencils, you do not remove the entire endcap to add more lead. Instead, you remove the eraser (Which is covered by a plastic cap I might add) and you can simply slide more 0.5mm lead down the exposed hole.

Another nice thing to note is that the barrel of the pencil is clear. This allows the user to see exactly how much lead is left in the pencil without having to shake the pencil and listen for a rattle.

I like to write with fine lines, so I picked up a 0.5mm version. It has a nice rubber grip which isn't too grippy but does seem to provide adequate traction for your fingers. The lead advance mechanism is touted as allowing maximum usage from a stick of lead. This seems to hold true. Instead of getting to a point where you have about 3/4" of un-useable lead, this pencil seems to make that closer to 1/4". Other than that, not much noteworthy about the pencil itself.

Writeability
Being that I'm not a huge fan of pencils in the first place (I'd much rather grab a pen), I found the Pentel e-Sharp to write quite well. Lead advancement was smooth and seemed to advance the proper amount per click to be useful. The quality of lead supplied was sufficient not to be too scratchy and the rubber grip seemed to do its job.

Surprisingly, I noticed that I tend to break my lead a lot less often with this pencil than others?! I'm not sure why but I'm not going to complain! I also noticed that the eraser on this pencil does a very good job. Pentel seems to have good erasers and this one was no exception. As long as you don't write with excessive pressure, the lead marks can be erased with little effort.

On the other hand, the eraser cap can be a nuisance. It's nice for storage as you don't get any smudges of lead remains from the eraser on your shirt or in your bag. However, while writing, you have to take the cap off before you erase that offending word. Not a terrible nuisance, but I find myself leaving the cap off and then it tends to get lost. Granted, the pencil functions the same with or without it so I guess it's no big deal, but it is something to keep in mind.

The weight of this pencil is greater than most and for me it's a good thing. I like substantial writing instruments and the Pentel e-Sharp is just heavy enough for me. Not as nice as some, but better by far than most.

Conclusion
This isn't the best pencil in the world. However, it seems to be efficient and the Lead Maximizer technology does indeed work. Couple that with the fact that my lead breaks less than normal and I'm a pretty satisfied customer. Given its listed price is close to $2.00, I do however feel it's a bit pricey for what it is. You could get a decent mechanical pencil for less that would do just as well. But hey -- it does look pretty nice!


If you liked this review, check out my other office supply reviews:
Stanley Bostitch B515 Stapler
Pentel RSVP BK90-C Ballpoint Pen
Zebra F-402 Retractable Ballpoint Pen
Sanford Uni-Ball Rollerball Micro Pen


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