Now, I’m a cartoonist, and when I am penciling and there is no wood pencil to be found (as there unfortunately often isn’t these days), I do use a mechanical pencil. But which one do I use? There are many “alright” and “good” mechanical pencils out there for very cheap prices. Well, I was looking for one a little better, and I found the Pentel GraphGear 500. Let’s check it out.
The top of the pencil is rather bland, with a simple metal button and a clipped-on metal clip (interesting). Down from that there is a thin hexagonal black plastic barrel with all necessary information printed on it, and then printed again on a sticker that it will all rub off of. The sticker also has some other, less-necessary info and a barcode, and has the benefit of being removable. The grip section is a very interesting knurled metal that holds quite well in the hand, isn’t sharp, and doesn’t leave one’s fingers smelling like metal as some pen/pencils do. There is then a smooth step-down/tapering tip all the way down to the lead, which in this particular model is 0.5 HB (#2).
The lead is standard HB and writes quite smoothly, it feels a bit harder than many other #2’s I’ve used, which may just be a feeling in my hand. The entire thing feels very sturdy in the hand and is great for both technical drawings and sketches. The lead is “hi-polymer”, whatever that means, but it is good, and since there is no shock absorber it has to be good at not breaking, which it also is.
There are several packages, and the one that I got has no spare erasers and only one spare piece of lead, ensuring that I have to go back and get more.
Overall the pencil is great. It works very well and is very nice to hold. It’s sturdy and keeps up with minimal wear. It’s easy to hold, easy to write (or draw) with, and stays well in the pocket. It doesn’t have any fancy features, which one could get in the higher end models, but it does cover all of the basic features and does them really well. If you want a good pencil without all the bells and whistles, I’d definitely check out the Pentel GraphGear 500.