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  I'd really give the 800..., January 14, 2014
By rca...
I'd really give the 800 2.5 stars. I really wanted to like this pencil (I collect mechanical drafting pencils) and I'm a big Rotring fan, but the problem with the 800 is it frequently breaks leads internally (w/i the shaft/feed mechanism). The broken lead rotates around in the shaft so you have to pull it out and toss it to regain control of the lead position as you write, or it always rotates to the flat side and you get thicker lines than you want. It's an excellent concept, but the lead breakage problem is a major issue. Mine is a 0.5 mm. My guess is the lead breakage problem would be far worse w/ a 0.35 (0.3) lead. It might be OK w/ a 0.7 mm lead, but I don't write with 0.7's anymore; I only use 0.7's for drafting lines. A friend of mine has a 0.5 mm 800 and his has the same lead breakage problem, too. The 800 mechanism feels a little rattly, particularly when compared to a Rotring Rapid Pro or even a Kuru Toga Roulette. If you want a retractable tube mechanical pencil, go for a Rotring Rapid Pro (which feels much more solid, doesn't rattle as you write, and it's cheaper) or a Pentel Graphgear 1000 (also cheaper). The retraction mechanism of the RapidPro is different (not spring loaded) and has much more solid feeling. The Graphgear 1000 has a sprung retraction mechanism as does the 800, but the Graphgear 1000 is different and doesn't break leads internally like the 800 does. If you want a good writing pencil and don't mind a non-retractable tube, go for a Rotring 600 or a Kuru Toga Roulette. I'm keeping the 800, but I wouldn't buy any more, not even to flesh out a collection. I might try a 0.7 mm 800 if I had a need for it, but I have a feeling the 0.35 would be a total disaster. The 800 is a great concept, but execution is poor. Too bad. The 800 needs a look at redesign, IMHO.
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