Being new to the colored lead fad I decided to buy the three biggest brands of
0.5mm lead. Staedtler Mars MIcro (blue), UNI-ball (red), and Pentel Stein (red).
I wanted to buy each brand in red but mars was only offered in blue.
Erasability: Both the Pentel and Mars leads were impossible to erase and act
like an indelible pencil. The UNI however erased as easy as normal graphite. (I
tried using both normal pencil erasers as well as the premium hi-polymer
Durability: Both the Pentel Stein and the UNI appeared to be fairly comparable
in their durability (the UNI may be slightly stronger). The MARS lead reminded
me of those 2 foot long rubber pencils that you use to play with as a kid (huge
The left handed smudge: writing more like an indelible pencil both the MARS and
Pentel appeared to be resistant to smudging. Although the UNI smudged noticeably
less than a standard graphite lead it could not compete with the other two.
Color and depth: Both the Mars and UNI appear to write with a deeper and smooth
feel while the Pentel offers a slightly more crisp feel.
Overall I am most impressed with the UNI however will be investing in the Pentel
because I need an indelible pencil for work.
Works ok in my Pentel Twist-Erase III, no lead breakage problems. In my opinion
the red color isn't dark enough to use it for writing but it is good for
underlining or drawing. Most of this red lead is erasable with the eraser on my
pencil but it's not a perfect erase like it is with AIN 2B graphite lead.
Waxy, off-red, more of a dirty burgundy that's not very rich in pigment and
deflects graphite over-drawing. Better for a toothier paper for rough sketching,
would not use as an under-drawing tool for finished lineart though.
Color wise this is a pretty strong red. It writes well and even but it's not the
easiest to erase. My real problem is with durability. I had this loaded in a
Lamy mechanical pencil and was CONSTANTLY breaking the tip, even on simple
underlines this lead was breaking way more than it should especially given that
I'm not using a heavy hand.
I have these leads in non-repro blue, blue, green and red with the lead the same
color as the pencil. For the price they are excellent leads, produce a
consistent line, and perform flawlessly. My only complaint is that it appears
that UNI is discontinuing the red, green, blue and non-repro blue leads. I can
get them in 0.7 mm leads but that is too wide a line.