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.