Pentel PS315 Mechanical Pencil Review

I never thought it would be possible that I’d be disappointed with a Pentel pencil.  I’m sad to say I was wrong, but it isn’t a total disaster.

wpid-20150619_180413.jpgThe Pentel PS315 is the example of a product bait and switch.  It is essentially a P200 series pencil (awesome), with the promise of a sliding sleeve.  The problem is, although there is technically a sliding sleeve present, and it does shrink as you write, it is not pocket safe.  What?  First, some pictures:

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If you look closely at the last picture, you’ll notice that the lead sleeve is shorter than a classic sleeve.  Ya know what’s funny?  That is as short as it gets.  The pencil is not pocket safe.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why someone would make a pencil with a sliding sleeve that is not fully retractable.  What is the point?  It does retract as you write, and that’s the real purpose.  It gets shorter and shorter, from 5mm to 3mm, like a true sliding sleeve should, to reduce lead breakage.  That’s all well and good, but why would someone pay double the price for a P200 series to get that one feature?

It is, in my mind, a bait and switch on the part of Pentel and I can see why this one is hard to find.  Still, it writes like a Pentel P200 series, which is in the top pencils, so it isn’t a disaster by any means.  Just completely different from what it is advertised as.  I feel a little duped.

Pros:  P200 quality and writing experience

Cons:  Sliding sleeve is only good from a sleeve retraction lead break avoidance purpose.

Writing experience: Superb

Quality: Good

Features: HULK ANGRY!!!! ;P

Price: Moderate (Retail about 12 USD, I got it for 10 USD on Amazon, shipped.)

It doesn’t even get an honorable mention, in my mind.  Not because its inherently a bad pencil, but because a slick outfit like Pentel needs to have higher standards that includes a fully retractable sleeve.

The Top Ten:

1) Pentel Sharp Kerry

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Great, Features: Great, Price: Moderate

2) Pilot S20

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Great, Features: Good, Price: Expensive

3) Rotring Rapid Pro

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Superb, Features: Good+, Price: Expensive

4) Tombow Zoom 505sh

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Good, Features: Good, Price: Expensive

5) Pentel Sharp P205

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Good, Features: Good, Price: Cheap

6) Pentel Twist Erase GT

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Good, Features: Great, Price: Cheap

7) Tombow Mono Graph Shaker

Writing Experience: Good, Quality: Good, Features: Good, Price: Cheap

8) Pentel Graphgear 1000

Writing Experience: OK, Quality: Good+, Features: Great, Price: Moderate

9) Uni Shift Pipe-lock

Writing Experience: Good, Quality: Good, Features: OK, Price: Moderate

10) Alvin Draft/Matic

Writing Experience: Good, Quality: Good, Features: Good, Price: Moderate

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order):  Pilot S3, Rotring Tikky, Staedtler Triplus Micro 774, Uni Kuru Toga, Zebra M-301

Coming up:  DND NPC for a game I’ll run at Tacticon in September.

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