The Grip Plus is a 0.7mm “Made in Japan” pencil that Faber-Castell offer worldwide. It comes in four different body colours, but only in 0.7mm lead, presumably as part of Faber-Castells assertion that the general public prefer 0.7mm lead due to breakages with 0.5mm leads. It is arguably Faber-Castells flagship pencil, as it’s the featured pencil on their websites mechanical pencil main page. I have always found the name ‘Grip Plus’ a little confusing as they also have the Grip 2011 pencil.
The Grip Plus has two prominent features – the grip as implied by its name, and its eraser. Firstly, let’s deal with the grip. The grip is a triangular rubber section. The section narrows slightly towards the tip, before flaring out at the bottom and stopping your fingers going any lower down. The compound is fairly hard with only minimal give under normal finger pressure. There are horizontal grooves cut into the rubber which definitely do further enhance the grip. Overall it’s reasonably successful. I imagine this grip would score fairly well in a test poll of the general public.
Next then we have the eraser. It appears to be a vinyl compound, about 7mm diameter and 27mm long, and is mounted in a fairly standard screw cartridge. I must admit that the screw out eraser is a welcome distraction in a boring business meeting! Twist out, twist in, twist out, twist in...how much longer is this going to drag on? The eraser compound is fairly good, erasing about as well as you would expect of a vinyl eraser.
You pull the entire eraser cartridge out to access the lead refill chamber underneath. The lead advance mechanism is a standard push top ratchet, 10 clicks advances 7mm of lead. The tip is a small cone so it’s suitable for general writing but not draughting. It is retractable for pocket safety. The lead is spring loaded to further reduce breakages. Some spring loaded or cushioned leads are rather hard to notice, but this one you can really feel the cushioning as you write. Overall, this is a very smooth-writing pencil. Personally I don’t really like the look of this pencil, but it feels OK in the hand and writes well. As I mentioned above, I imagine it would do fairly well in a test against similar competition.
- Best Points – Good cushioning to the lead, good eraser cartridge.
- Not So Good Points – Well, not much really, except personally I just don’t like the look of it.
- Price Range – Low.
Dimensions – Length 139mm, diameter 13mm body. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.