After reading some of Alberto's reviews about the Uni, praising it compared to
the Staedtler, Faber-Castell, Koh-I-Noor, etc. alternatives, I decided to give
them a shot, since I hoped for a dark, smooth lead that would compare with my
high-end pencils (Hi-Uni, Palomino, Craft Design Technology).
I was a bit reluctant at first since Mitsubishi also had marketed a Hi-Uni lead
alongside the standard Uni, and also for a brief time sold a variety called the
"Uni Artis". Both were higher-priced and supposedly came with correspondingly
higher performance, but now both are discontinued and becoming rare. I lucked
out and sourced some of all three offerings, and spent some time comparing them
to discern differences.
While there were some slight differences between the leads, I think that much of
it is negated through the use of a substantial leadholder (I use a Staedtler
925-25). The Uni holds its own pretty well, and in HB is quite good. This was a
bit of a relief, since I don't know how my luck will be in sourcing the
That said, I would still prefer the Hi-Uni or Uni Artis leads if they were
readily available and cheaper, but since the Uni is much cheaper, much easier to
get, and very very nearly as good as the "premium" versions, it seems to be a
no-brainer for anyone who wants to use high-end tools without fear of suddenly
running out (Blackwing 602 lovers know what I'm talking about).
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