Uni Shalaku S Mechanical Pencil Review

The Uni Shalaku S is a side click pencil that appears to (mostly) be available at retail in the UK.  So I appreciate being sent this pencil that would be difficult for me to obtain in the US!

wpid-20150808_165141.jpgThis 0.5 mm pencil is in Blue (although it looks more violet to me, except the pocket clip).  A little searching online reveals that it comes in 0.7 mm lead size and a wide variety of colors.  These include, pink, lime green, aquamarine, black, and red.

The Shalaku S reminds me most of the classic Pentel Quicker Clicker in its form and function.  A key difference is that the barrel has more contour on the Shalaku S.  I actually don’t have a Quicker Clicker in my collection right now as I’ve been waiting for the best back-to-school sales.  I would be comparing the modern Quicker Clicker as they recently changed the classic one.  This bothers a lot of people and collectors pay extra for “classic” Quicker Clickers.  This pencil is also comparable to the Pentel Twist Erase Click, which is a modern-release side advance mechanism but includes an extendable eraser.  Both the Shalaku and the Quicker Clicker have standard oversized erasers.  They are not twist, but they are larger than drafting erasers.

wpid-wp-1439070863212.jpgLike the Quicker Clicker, the Uni Shalaku S has an eraser cap that many people don’t care for because they just get lost.  I’m one of them.

I find the pocket clip, made of pliable plastic, to be on the flimsy side.  It may not grip paper and it may very well break if you treat it roughly.  Both the Quicker Clicker and Twist Erase Click have steel pocket clips.

wpid-20150808_165306.jpg

The real surprise for me on this one was the lead sleeve and mechanism.  Both the Pentel Quicker Clicker and Twist Erase Click have hypodermic lead sleeves, making them completely pocket-unsafe.  The Uni Shalaku S has a very tapered conical lead sleeve which has a couple advantages.

The short conical lead sleeves of Faber-Castell mechanical pencils suffer from increased lead breakage, in my experience, from very short conical lead sleeves.  The Uni Shalaku S is an improvement in that I expect less lead breakage with a longer conical sleeve.  This also makes the Uni Shalaku S quasi-pocket safe in a shirt with a thick enough cloth.  Try at your own risk.

I find the click mechanism of the Shalaku S to have a very satisfying, non-tinny click sound and the mechanism appears to be pretty solid.  Its hard to describe but Pentel pencils have a higher-pitched click and this is lower-pitched.  I kinda like that.  Its more of a “clunk” than a “ping” and I don’t find that a bad thing.  LOL

Ten clicks dispenses about 5 mm of lead.  This is less than most “standard” drafting pencils which usually dispense 6 to 7 mm.  If you like even more control over lead advancement, but also don’t mind clicking a few more times to start writing, this could be the pencil for you!

Pros:  Satisfying click with precise lead advancement control, handy side click advance, long conical lead sleeve is quasi-pocket safe

Cons:  Flimsy pocket clip, overall cheap construction, small eraser that is likely difficult to replace outside the UK.

Writing Experience: Good (no complaints here, but not in the top echelon either)

Quality: OK (see cons)

Features: OK (pretty basic, slide click isn’t a game changer for me, but I can’t deny that it’s more convenient)

Price: Cheap (Cult pens: £1.87 (excl. VAT) ~3 USD + shipping from UK(!),  Amazon US has mixed set packs of six of them for 21 USD, shipping included.  They are clearly shipped from either the UK or Japan, I can’t tell which, with 5 week+ shipping.)

Does it make the Top Ten or an Honorable Mention?  No, but I do recommend it if you have easy access to it.

It was very interesting to try this out for comparison to familiar side click pencils!  If you live in the US, you’re probably better off buying a Quicker Clicker.  If you are in the UK, do check them out if you’re looking for a solid pencil on a budget.  I haven’t tried a newer Quicker Clicker and its been a long time since I held the classic.  It might be time to check it out again!  The Pentel Twist Erase Side Click seems like an upgrade on both to me, and those are ubiquitous in the US at ~5-6 USD.  So, not exactly the same price point.

The Top Ten and Honorable Mentions:

1) Rotring Rapid Pro

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

2) TWSBI Precision

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

3) Pentel Sharp Kerry

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

4) Pilot S20

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

5) Lamy 2000

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Great, Features: OK, Price: Expensive/Luxury

6) Tombow Zoom 505sh

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

7) Pentel Sharp P20X

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

8) Pentel Twist Erase GT

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

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 RexGripPilot S3Tombow Mono Graph ShakerUni Kuru Toga, Zebra Delguard

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