1) Let's get the obvious out of the way; the alpha gel grip is superb, but it is
VERY soft, keep this in mind. It feels closer to a thick cloud than the "squish"
I was expecting. The grip on the 207 premier, a pen I also HIGHLY recommend btw,
is more what I had in mind when I ordered this, though the difference between
them is marginal.
That being said, I have a pencil-snapping, pen-shattering vice grip, especially
when writing intently, and the Shaka's grip is supportive enough and body sturdy
enough to enable my bad habits, unlike so many unfortunate Ticonderogas and BIC
Atlantises before it.
2) The shaker function. As an American, it's the first time I'm using one and
its pretty handy. i.e. mid-sentence when a thought may escape me if I pick up
the pencil for too long, SHAKESHAKE and back to it. For the erratic memory or
fast note-taking, it's surprisingly helpful.
3) The feature to disengage the shaker mechanism and lead clutch by fully
depressing the clicker (as opposed to just part way to release more lead, like a
camera shutter release) is intuitive and really an "extra mile" feature. As
useful as the shaker is, it could definitely be obtrusive when you're not using
the pencil and lead comes out every time you move your arms quickly, like during
the all-too-frequent heated, violent, passionate or otherwise physically
demanding Excel/PowerPoint presentation. The folks at Mitsu foresaw this, and
gave the option of retracting the lead and not allowing the shaker mechanism to
release any more until manually reengaged. Brilliant.
4) Everything else seems of solid build and it looks nice too, it has a heavier
feel than most mechanical pencils, though this may just be the additional shaker
mechanism, grip, and sheer size :x
5) To further illustrate the ergonomic triumph of the Shaka, its balance point
can be found right at the juncture between the chrome middle piece and the
"black" (see CONS below) upper shaft, aka the fulcrum where it will rest against
most people's hands. This understated anatomical feature makes for an even
smoother writing experience.
1) Like all soft grips, the alpha suffers from swiffer syndrome; it collects
dust and grime better than most of my vacuums. I actually roll it across my desk
to get all the dust up, then wipe it off into my garbage. No joke.
2) The tip (nib piece, not sure what it's called on a pencil) does not retract
into the pencil, leaving a fairly sharp point floating around in a bag or pants
3) The lead that comes with it is a little soft, but pshht.
4) The colors of both the body and the grip are less black, more dark grey but,
5) The shaker, even when disengaged from releasing more lead, can still move
inside the pen when shaken firmly, though not as freely. For example, it doesn't
move when the pencil is just tipped over end-on-end, but when shaken a bit
harder, whatever is holding the shaker in place lets go. It's definitely odd,
and makes me a little concerned about the durability of whatever is disengaging
it. But, and I promise this is the last one, pshht :)
The first two cons, in addition to the price, will keep this gem on my desk. But
for 10 bucks, it's a steal for someone with bad form who does a lot of writing.
p.s. I would recommend buying this with some other things to make free shipping.
Get a second one or better lead or maybe the 207 premier with some refills. I
had to pay six dollars to get this to NJ, which is nearly the price of the 207
premier, and you're going to need to refill it some time :) Hope this little
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