Friday, April 23, 2010

Pentel Forte A55

I visited my neighborhood staples store last week and picked up a pack of the Pentel Forte A55. Mine is the black barrel but they also have this in blue. A pack contains 4 Pentel Forte pencils and is very cheap at under $10.00. Pentel makes some of the most affordable and best looking mechanical pencils. I liked the shiny smooth black barrel very much and the diameter also felt just right. The 3mm non-retractable tip and pocket clip are made of metal which is always nice.

For the grip, they cut the barrel where you grip it into 12 sides, half smooth and half having lines cut along the barrel. It doesn’t really provide that much good a grip and was painful after a long time writing.

The wide wrap around metallic pocket clip with the word Pentel nicely engraved on the side was easy to slide into my breast shirt pocket.

To advance lead, you simply click the top of the barrel. The top can be pulled off to access the lead compartment. About 6 additional leads could fit inside.

A small rubber eraser sits on the top cap. Pentel didn’t include an eraser cover so field work is a no no for this pencil where grimy fingers could easily leave the eraser unusable when you click forward. You may also want to replace the eraser as usage nears halfway because the other half is inside and you might not be able to take the remaining half out. The package didn’t include spare erasers so you have to purchase those separately.

There are a couple of reasons why I don’t like this pencil. First is that it is a little short so the balance isn’t good even though the overall weight is fine. Second and most important is that the hard plastic grip can be a pain for longer writing on the finger where you grip it. Third is that half of the eraser is unusable. You would have to remove the eraser to use the other half. Fourth is that they didn’t include an eraser cover which can be useful when on the field. Lastly, there are times when clicking that the lead would not advance.

Use this as your scribble pencil but not for longer writing and definitely don't use the eraser. You're better off using the Pentel Clic Eraser.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pentel Twist-Erase III

I stopped by my neighborhood Staples store the other day to grab a pack of the Pentel Twist-Erase III mechanical pencils. They sell these in black and blue colors and in .5, .7 and .9mm lead diameters. Mine is the .5mm black. The package contains 2 Twist Erase pencils with 2 extra erasers. The model number on it says QE515BP2-K6. I’ve been trying to hold off buying one for the past couple of months now for the simple reason that it didn’t appeal visually to me. The design looks a lot like the Logo 4 pencils from Papermate.

As I start to write with it, I could tell that it felt a little out of balance. The weight of it is fine but for its weight, I would have liked it if they made the barrel a little longer. The clip and the 3mm non retractable tip are made of metal which fits perfectly in my collection. The wrap around removable clip has 3 holes on it which kind of reminds me of the papermate hearts logo. I had a little difficulty trying to clip it in my shirt pocket as you sort of have to open the clip a little bit for it to go in. Anyway, since it has the non-retractable tip, it’s not pocket safe anyways so you’d want to carry this around in your bag or pencil case.

It has a smooth rubber grip which had no ridges but it kept my fingers in place and is very comfortable when writing.

It’s a click pencil so you push the entire upper barrel to get the lead out as you write. The good thing about the eraser is that its completely inside the barrel unlike the Logo series where part of the eraser sticks out.

The twist action to use the eraser hence the model name is sadly not very smooth as I had to put a little effort in twisting the eraser out. I don’t know if it’s just because my pencil was new or what. Anyway the eraser is quite big, unlike those puny erasers on some cheap mechanical pencils. However, the eraser itself leaves a lot of residue which I personally have no problem with as long as it has a big eraser.

Adding more lead to it is the easiest part as you just smoothly and effortlessly pull the upper barrel off to get to the big lead chamber could easily fit 24 leads. Two extra leads are included with each pencil which uses the Super Hi-Polymer Lead.