Monday, June 05, 2006

Artline Click-it 7150 Mechanical Pencil Review

I could hardly believe my eyes when I first saw the Artline Click-it 7150 mechanical pencil. This thing was obviously way down at the end of the line when they were handing out good-looks. The colour, the rubber grip, that big mutant growth on the side, urghhhh… it’s just awful. Now even though I live in the city, I spend a lot of my spare time hanging out in the swamp. (Not just right now though because its duck hunting season, far too many itchy trigger fingers for my liking.) So out in the swamp a lot of things go quack, and I’ve seen my fair share of ugly ducklings, but I need to fess up and say I was wrong - the Artline 7150 looks like the ugly duckling, but actually it’s more of a swan.

Artline is the brand name of the Japanese Shachihata company, who are a reasonably large sized company in the stamp and marker field, and they have a couple of mechanical pencils.

The 7150 is a button ratchet mechanism pencil, and what a side button! They obviously decided to make it a feature of the pencil, like some shark fin sticking out of the creatures back. It operates on a simple sliding-wedge type principle to convert the inwards motion into a lengthwise action. It works OK, but the clicker button has a lot of free play and so it rattles around when you are writing and is annoyingly noisy. I definitely did have some trouble with the clicker button getting in the way when I was holding the pencil - sometimes I had to twist the pencil around so the button and pocket clip were facing in appropriate directions.

The small metal lead sleeve is a writing style only. It does retract back into the body, but it’s a little more difficult to achieve with the side button than it is with a normal push top ratchet pencil. The moulded pocket clip is functional in a basic way. The whole top section of the pencil pulls off to allow access to the lead magazine.

The eraser is a feature of this mechanical pencil. It is about 7mm (1/4 in) diameter with 15mm of usable length, and advances as you wind the top section around. Whilst it has reasonable erasing power, the waste doesn’t twist up into strands so it’s a bit messy. But it’s an awful lot better than most mechanical pencil erasers!

The grip section is a rubber compound of hexagonal cross-section. It is a little softer than many other rubber grips, but still basically hard. On the other hand, it is actually “grippy”. Yes, I admit it; this rubber grip really does improve your grip on the pencil. Unlike many economy / low price range pencils this one has a fairly large diameter body so the grip section is a decent 10 to 11mm across the flats. This is definitely for those who like a wider bodied writing instrument. The only negative about the grip is that the peaks of the hexagon are a bit sharp, they could be rounded off a bit more. They’re not uncomfortable, just not ideal.

So, overall this pencil definitely surprised me – and that’s in a good way.
  • Best Points – A decent eraser, and a rubber grip that actually improves your grip.
  • Not So Good Points – The clicker rattles, and when the eraser wears down if looks a bit funny in its housing.
  • Price Range – Economy / Low.

Dimensions – Length 140mm, width 10 – 11mm across the flats of the grip section. Balance point about 80mm up from the tip.

PS - My advice, watch out for swans! Nasty vicious creatures who will knock you down and steal your lunch any chance they get. Well if you're about 5 years old they will. You could end up scarred for life, with a phobia of swans, or birds in general.

3 comments:

Phil said...

Hi Dave! Second post from the rubber grip guy. I'm kind of new at this blogging thing, so I'm not sure where else to post unrelated comments. Anyway, great reviews! I found another pencil that you might like to try! It's the Pentel Graphgear 1000. I've been using it for about a month and a half now and I LOVE it! It feels like it's made out of heavy-duty aluminum, it has a unique lead advancing mechanism and feels great to the touch. The weight is probably the second most noticeable characteristic next to the lead advancement. The metal sleeve that fits right against the lead at the tip of the pencil retracts into the pencil when you push on the pocket clip. When you want to write, you push on the top of the pencil once to unsheathe the lead sleeve and then click again to advance the lead to your desired length. This is a very nice feature for people who carry their mechanical pencils at all times in their pocket. The clip is spring loaded and great for easily clipping onto any thickness of pants pocket or notebook (up to a point), and there is a very functional eraser under the cap.
You have mentioned before that you are a big Pentel fan, and this is the Opus of the Pentel line of mechanical pencils, well worth a try!
Have a great day!
Phil

kiwi-d said...

Phil - Thanks for the comments. I guess I need to establish a Guestbook or Wishlist page for generalised comments and discussion, as you are not alone in wanting to post "unrelated comments". I'll get onto it shortly.
The Graphgear 1000 certainly does seem to have a band of loyal followers!

Anonymous said...

I have that artline mechanical pencil the blue one. Yes its looks may not be good. But its function is indespensible.
I dont like the style but sure can pass my quality.