Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pilot Dr. Grip Ltd

I was at my neighborhood Staples a couple of weeks ago and chanced upon a Pilot Dr. Grip package hanging on the Pencil aisle. I was looking for one in black for a long time and after several visits, they finally came out with one. Mine was a Dr. Grip 0.5 Ltd. I opened it up after a week and started using it at the office.

For starters, this pencil belongs to the fat/husky pencil category. I’ve owned 2 other fat/husky pencils before (Pentel Clarius and Uni Alpha Gel) and I always find them to be a bit heavy and uncomfortable to write with for longer periods.

This one is no exception, for as soon as I started writing whole pages of notes that my hand started feeling uncomfortable holding it. The grip which is a soft clear white rubber was quite good though although the Uni Alpha has a better Gel grip.

I wouldn’t recommend that you put it on your shirt pocket even though it comes with a very nice steel pocket clip that has the word Pilot and its logo engraved on it because the point is non retractable. I’ve noticed my shirt pocket pull forward when the pencil is there and the non retractable tip might poke a hole in your shirt or even worse your chest. It happened to me once when a heavy pencil is pulling the shirt pocket forward and I went under the table. When I came back up, the pencil got caught by the table end and ripped the left side of the shirt pocket as well as leaving a scratch on my chest.

It does have a shaker advance system which is quite useful when writing for long periods of time. Just shake it up and down once and a small lead will come out. The steel cap still functions as the regular click advance and holds a small white eraser underneath.

You can add more leads by pulling the cap and the eraser out or you can also twist the barrel open into 2 to reveal the plastic lead holder inside.

Use for – General writing. Good for arthritis sufferers as it is commended by the Arthritis foundation for ease of use.
Like it? – Not really a fan of fat/husky pens and this one is no different.
Design suggestion – Retractable tip.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Zebra Tect 2Way Light Frisha

Wow! This is one cool looking pencil. I really got lucky on a visit to the Tokyo Tokyo gift shop featuring items ranging from toys to stationery items. My son goes there to look at their cool Pokemon and Mario Bros toys while I have bought my first shaker pencil there. This time around, I chanced upon the Zebra Tect 2way light. It was in a simple plastic packaging with a free Zebra eraser. I’ve had a couple of mechanical pencils that both advance leads using both clicking and shaking mechanisms but the Zebra Tect 2way goes further by putting in a lock on the barrel that depending on the setting will enable or disable the shaker system.

The barrel is made of shiny black plastic and is complemented by chrome tip, pocket clip and band around barrel. Very classy.

The grip has 3 thin concentric rubber rings followed by 2 circular impressions on the barrel where there could have been 2 more rubber rings. The 3 rubber rings make quite an effective grip without making the entire grip out of rubber.

The lock twists to the right to enable the shaker and does not disable the clicker on top. Twisting it to the left disables the shaker.

The wrap around pocket clip has Japan engraved on it and is shorter compared to most mechanical pencils. Here is a picture comparison with the Pentel P205.

Having a 4mm non-retractable tip makes it ideal for drafting purposes but is actually even good for normal everyday writing. I’ve used it for a couple of weeks and other than the shaky cap, it is one of the best all around drafting/writing mechanical pencils I’ve used. The diameter and length is just perfect for writing.

The eraser as expected is small and is under the cap. The lead is refilled by pulling off the eraser.

Use for – Drafting and general writing.
Like it? – Yes, the concept of having a lock on the shaker system is really nice.
Design suggestion – Modify the cap so as it is not so shaky.