Papermate Write Bros. Mechanical Pencil Review
Over the course of this blog quite a few readers have very generously sent me pencils, leads, erasers and other stuff because they liked them and thought I might too. In turn I’ve tried to do my bit, by passing on some of the random kindness. Recently though I received a slightly different sort of gift. A reader, “Barrel of a Pencil” contacted me, offering to send “the worst mechanical pencil in the world”. Normally I would not have contemplated such a thing, but how could I refuse such temptation, just what sort of shocking abomination would arrive in my letterbox? Well, the pencil was soon entrusted to the postal services, but they must have been effected by bad mojo from the parcel. Week, after week, after week went by, until finally when all had been given up, … Normally my pencil reviews are written about pencils I like or thought had something to offer. I am not in the habit of deliberately choosing a piece of junk as my review pencil. However, I felt some obligation to test and review this claim of The Worst Mechanical Pencil in the World. I hoped to give it fair hearing, but I must confess to some bias. I like mechanical pencils and I look for the good aspects, but this time I was starting from the opposite end of the spectrum. This pencil was expected to be bad, not good. Anyway, I tried to give it a shot at a fair review, so... The Papermate Write Bros. is a lightweight all-plastic pencil, clearly made as an economy grade item.My first few minutes of use were bad. The tip wobbled, squeaked and carried on. It appeared to be loose, but didn’t really want to tighten. So, I unscrewed it fully and then screwed it back up good and tight which made an immediate improvement. I am assured by the sender that the pencil was like this straight out of the pack, although on further inspection the others seemed correctly tightened.Putting that bad start aside, it is still fair to say that the body of this pencil is not particularly rigid and does flex under hand pressure. You can actually see the tip flex when you press hard. From comments and contacts I’ve had with readers, I know that many of you out there have some rather extreme ideas of lead positioning precision. Well, this pencil is your worst nightmare.
The lead diameter is 0.7mm, and the lead supplied is functional but not particularly good. It is rather coarse to write with, almost as if they use a rough coarse grade of graphite in its manufacture. It is not as pleasant and smooth a glide as that of a good quality Japanese HB polymer lead. Having said that, the lead is very strong. Bearing in mind that this is an economy grade pencil, opting for lead strength at the expense of smoothness is an understandable compromise. The leads supplied are standard 60mm length sticks, unlike some economy grade pencils which come fitted with extra long leads.
Up at the other end of the pencil there is an eraser. It is a shocker. The pictures below show the result of erasing two words under firm hand pressure. To be fair, it did a semi-reasonable job at erasing, but utterly mutilated itself in the process.
This mutilation was such that the torn abraded parts of the eraser then continued to shed eraser dust like a bad case of dandruff, e.g. when it was touched to activate the lead advance.
The lead advance mechanism is a standard push top ratchet. You push on the eraser and the whole black top section moves, including the pocket-clip, which can be a bit annoying. The pocket clip is a rather weak piece of plastic, and I wouldn’t rely on it. Ten clicks of the mechanism will get you about 10mm of lead. The lead refill chamber is accessed by removing the eraser from its housing.The grip zone of the body it a series of moulded concentric bumps which are reasonably successful.
Printed in white on the barrel is “Papermate, 0.7mm”. This is very hard to read on the yellow background. I am always annoyed by pencils that don’t give their model details when they so easily could. Other solid colours and translucent barrels are also available.
Comparisons with the recently reviewed BIC Matic Classic and other economy range mechanical pencils like the Pentel EZ#2 are inevitable. It is not fair to expect too much from an economy price range pencil, but for the price that I see the Write Bros. advertised on many online sites, I would say choose another pencil.
Anyone who has wandered the aisles of the $1 Shop and its ilk knows that the title of “The Worst Mechanical Pencil in the World” is hotly contested. So many vie for that crown, and I’m not interested in picking the winner, but despite not being impressed by the Write Bros you can find worse. It would after all be surprising if Papermate, one of the giants of stationery supplies, was crowned the Worlds Worst. So, the final verdict is...it's not much of an MP, but it ain’t the worst.
- Best Points – Ummm….?
- Not So Good Points – The flexing, the eraser.
- Price Range – Economy.
- Does This Pencil Make It Into The Top 5? – I think not.
Dimensions – Length 154mm, diameter 8mm. Balance point about 90mm up from the tip, although that is rather irrelevant with such a lightweight pencil.