I was at a grocery store that I don’t normally go to and noticed this interesting styled Pentel that I had never even heard of. It looked to have a lot of good features and it was cheap, so I bit.
Pentel Side FX
Well, it’s big. The overall appearance is very unique compared to most pencils. I didn’t find it incredibly comfortable to write with, but it grew on me a little. The grip is slightly concave, medium-hardness plastic. The lead sleeve is fixed and kicks out a “usual” amount of lead for a Pentel, which is a Pentel strength.
The body of the pencil is divided into two sections. The bottom section has a side advance mechanism. Normally I do not care for side advance mechanisms. I like this one because the button is really pronounced. I could see how a large advance button would be a bother to some, but I prefer it. The top section all comes out as one giant piece at the seam. The pocket clip is plastic and is molded into the body. I could see it snapping off with enough pressure, so I would recommend only clipping the pencil to something where you know it wouldn’t experience a lot of pressure.
The eraser has the Twist Erase mechanism with a thin ring that needs to be turned to advance the eraser. There is no play in the mechanism when you erase, which is a must-have for me. The more I investigate pencils the more I am convinced that the entire eraser assembly of the Uni Kuru Toga is its big Achilles’s Heel. I get it. The Kuru Toga has a really revolutionary writing experience with the special engine. Given that it isn’t difficult to “twirl” a pencil to straighten the lead tip, I just can’t see how the wobbly play in that tiny little eraser can be overlooked. Sorry Kuru Toga fans.
It came with an extra eraser for the rock bottom price of 3 USD.
Pros: Solid eraser mechanism with huge eraser, pronounced side click button, solid Pentel click functionality, interesting styling
Cons: Weak pocket clip, grip not comfortable, fixed lead sleeve
That list might sound a little damning, but I’m being particularly hard in this review and this pencil is definitely better than the Twist Erase III. Yes, I am clearly not a fan of the Twist Erase III, because I keep hating on it. It just seems to be the most ubiquitously marketed Pentel here in the US and I think that Pentel has far better instruments within the same price range. To each their own!
Does it make the Top Ten? Nah. The grip is the tipping point for the overall experience. It isn’t a bad pencil, by any stretch, but grip matters a lot for the writing experience.