tl;dr: Rugged and stylish...
September 19, 2014
tl;dr: Rugged and stylish P200-like body with clever and fool-proof mechanism
that allows you to use a 3mm length of lead per click while protecting it with
the sliding lead sleeve. Affordable pencil that brings you the best of both
worlds, a thin line with none of the inconvenients typically associated with
As of writing this, I've got this pencil clipped to my shirt pocket and I just
completed a small series of test with it. As always Pentel puts out a very
practical and solid-feeling product that features well-executed innovative
The first thing you notice about the Orenz is the solid plastic body similar in
feel to the P200 series we all know and love. The only differences with the P200
series is that the clip is a little more stylized and rounded, and the tip of
the pencil is also tapered and stylized. The ridges are more spaced and less
deep than on the P200 series, so while it's not as grippy as the P200's, it's
smoother yet not outright slippery because of the type of plastic.
Before really putting the lead support system to any tests, I changed the
provided HB lead with some Pentel Ain Stein B lead. I don't know if that HB lead
is the same stuff as Pentel Ain Stein, and it might be, but it's worth swapping
out the leads just to use a softer grade, since it will produce darker, more
visible lines while still not smearing.
It is a bit strange to write without seeing the lead at first. Seeing only the
tube, I had a very slight "lag" impression the first time I wrote, but you get
used to it in seconds. The important thing is that writing with this is very
very smooth. The difference between that and naked 0.35mm lead is pretty much
The next test I did was to hand it to my dad, an extremely heavy-handed and
left-handed writer who is used to blunt wood pencils (!!) and cheap ballpoint
pens (!!!!!). He had a breakage or two at first, but he was able to write a
whole sentence without it breaking. And the lead sleeve is still intact, which I
think is a testament to this system's reliability. It won't just fall apart as
soon as you put too much pressure. In fact, upon further testing myself, I found
that I can confidently put down pressure I would hesitate to put on a 0.9mm!
It's not unbreakable by any means, you can't bang it on a table or anything, but
it resists to every stress it could reasonably experience.
Next I tried writing with it until the lead runs out. When it does run out,
which takes a while because the system allows you to start writing with a full 3
millimeters of lead extended, it doesn't scratch the paper, it just stops
writing, and with a single click you've got the full length of the sleeve full
of lead again and ready to write. This system truly does everything it could
possibly do to minimize the number of clicks you have to make, which is often a
criticism of mechanical pencils with extremely tiny leads.
The way I think it works is that the tip of the pencil contains the free-sliding
lead sleeve unit, while the lead extender is exactly 3mm behind the sliding
sleeve's furthest position. When you click once, the lead extender kisses the
back of the sleeve unit and lets the lead drop down to exactly that 3mm length.
Further clicks extend a variable amount of lead, between 0.5mm and 1mm, which is
the behavior of a lead extender with nothing in front of it to limit it (like
most 2mm lead holders).
When people hear about sub-0.5mm lead, they think it's brittle (which is partly
due to their poor choice of lead, I think), and they think they'll have to click
out lead after every sentence. This pencil shatters those stereotypes, allowing
you to use the same pressure you'd put on a really thick lead, and truly
maximizing the writing length per click to a degree most thicker-leaded pencils
can only dream of.
This is an extremely appealing and affordable option for small writers or STEM
students. It blows everything under its price out of the water with its simple
and ingenious mechanism, and it compares well to everything above its price
thanks to its timeless rugged plastic P200-like body design.
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