Sunday, November 24, 2013
My friends at JetPens.com recently reached out to me for the opportunity to review this Kaweco Special AL Mini Mechanical Pencil
The Special arrived in a small tin box and included 2 pencil leads and one eraser.
Pencil dimensions: Approximately 4.1 inches (10.5 cm) long, and 0.4 inches (10 mm) in diameter. (The width of my palm is 3 1/8")
Versus the Zebra Drafix at 14.3cm.
I have developed a love/hate relationship with this pencil. I love it first and foremost because it's perfectly weighted and balanced for my hand. Secondly, I love the way it feels between the tips of my fingers. Super comfortable and not slippery. (Which I had feared due to the aluminum construction.) The pencil looks good in black with its simple design and its small size is great for portability.
The things I don't like about this pencil center around the knock (The piece at the end of the pencil that you push to advance the lead) and also the top edge of the pencil under the knock. First, depending on the position you hold the pencil when you write, either the outside of the knock with its ridged edges or the top edge of the pencil's body can dig into your hand. Observe below:
This is me, consciously holding the pencil in a more upright position than I usually use.
A little more relaxed of a hand position, you can now see the top edge of the body resting on my hand.
This is how I write when I'm not thinking about it, in which case every potential rough edge of this pencil is pushing against the fleshy part of my hand.
The second most annoying thing about this pencil is the rattling sound the knock makes as you write or move the pencil which you can observe in the video below:
For what initially appears to be a solidly built mechanical pencil with a $39 price tag, you'd think they could have designed a way to keep it quiet.
The tiny little eraser under the knock makes me giggle. I'd rather just cross out my errors than risk losing the knock which requires a bit of a tug to remove. (I could just see it go flying...)
Leads are inserted by first removing the knock and then eraser. In the 0.7 model, you can only have 2 leads inserted at a time. (3 leads fit in the 0.5 version and 1 in the 0.9)
I really want to like this pencil, but I have a feeling that it's going to end up in my "occasional use only" pile. If you have more of an upright grip and don't mind the rattle from the knock, you might just fall in love with it.
Handwritten review on a Rhodia dotPad.
Disassembled. *Note that the knock advances the lead smoothly and holds it in place firmly.
Though I've tried a variety of hi-end leads, my favorite are still these 2B .99 cent Pentel Hi-Polymer leads that I buy at Blick.
The Kaweco pencil was provided to me by JetPens with no additional compensation was received in exchange for this review. Various Clairefontaine and Rhodia products are courtesy of Exaclair. (I write the Rhodia Drive blog for Exaclair.) Pentel leads purchased at Blick.