To be honest I’ve never really paid much attention to Zebra’s products. In my part of the world only a small number of their pens and other products, including 2 cheaper models of mechanical pencils, are readily available. I had a few packs of their refill leads because their pencils are usually sold as a set including a pack of refill leads, and so I included them in The Lead Cup. To my surprise they performed quite credibly, so I thought I’d better take another look at their mechanical pencils.
The Zebra Jimnie KRM-100 is a fairly standard looking plastic mechanical pencil. It’s a simple colour scheme, basically a black rubber grip and the rest of the body is dark grey tinted transparent plastic. It’s a lightweight pencil, as you would expect with such construction. The pocket clip is an integral moulding and it’s reasonably functional.
The black rubber grip has a definite ‘rubber’ feel to it, and you know how I’m not very keen on that. The compound is a medium hardness so there is a bit of give under normal finger pressure. Putting on my objective reviewer hat, I will admit that this rubber does improve the grip properties versus normal plastic.
There is a small eraser under the somewhat unusual bullet shaped top cap. The cap reminds me of a robot head from those B-grade 1950’s science fiction films. It sort of has ventilation slits in it, and looks like it’s a two-piece construction with a clear base or body and a tinted U-piece insert. The eraser itself is a rubber compound, and as usual I’m a bit disappointed in it. You can’t put the cap back on without activating the lead advance mechanism.
The lead advance mechanism is a standard push-top ratchet. It has a very good solid positive feel to it when you push the top cap. The 4mm metal slightly conical lead sleeve is fully retractable so its pocket safe. Its also a sliding sleeve so will retract whilst writing as the lead wears down. However I wouldn’t recommend that, as it has a terribly scratchy feel across the paper. Push the top cap and advance the lead straight away!
- Best Points – The rubber grip is good, and for some reason I really like the robot head top cap.
- Not So Good Points – Nothing much considering the price range, except for those like me who aren’t really rubber grip people.
- Price Range – Low, but you usually get a pack of Drafix lead refills as well so its quite a good deal.
Dimensions – Length 146mm, diameter 9mm across rubber grip. Balance point about 80mm up from the tip.
Note: I haven’t seen one, but if you search the web for Zebra Jimnie you basically get the Jimnie Clip which appears to be a similar model but with a document or binder clip. Perhaps the Jimnie has been re-designed and mine is an out-dated variant, even though it’s still on sale down-under?