Saturday, February 14, 2009

You & Me Jedo 3000 Mechanical Pencil Review

You & Me Jedo 3000 Mechanical Pencil Review

(clickable for high res photo)

I bought this pencil from a Morning Glory shop a few years ago, and it has been languishing in storage ever since. The Japanese writing instrument companies are great exporters and they have a global presence, but their Korean competitors are much lesser known. Recently I was contacted by a couple of young Korean collectors and had the opportunity to learn some things from them.

I had always thought that Jedo was a Korean brand of mechanical pencils, but apparently I’m completely wrong. I’m told that in Korean, Jedo can be used as a noun or a verb, "Je" means make something, and "do" means graph, thus Jedo translates as graph work. Many technical or drafting style pencils are labelled Jedo, and it appears the word is not trademarked or brand registered so basically anyone can call their pencil a Jedo this or that. Websites of European companies often divide their mechanical pencils into two categories – drafting and office (non-drafting). Similarly some Korean websites have two mechanical pencil sections – Jedo and non-Jedo.

You & Me Corp are a reasonably well-known Korean stationery company and “Feel Luck” is one of their main brands. I don’t know if they manufacture their own mechanical pencils or buy from another manufacturer, but there seems too be a lot of Jedo variants and clones so I suspect a small number of manufacturers and many brand distributors.
The You & Me Corp ‘Feel Luck’ Jedo 3000 Sharp 0.5mm mechanical pencil comes in a little vacuum formed plastic clamshell which is itself inside a cardboard package. This is really all just retail display material, not the sort of thing you would be likely to keep after you have started to use the pencil. In western markets many might consider it excessive packaging. A tube of You & Me ‘Komet’ refill leads is also supplied as part of the deal. Although the small print specifically states “Made In Korea”, the wording “R & D Japan” is prominent on the packaging and the products themselves. It seems that a Japanese association is highly valued by at least some Korean marketers.
At first glance this pencil is reasonably appealing. Black body, chrome trims, fairly classical proportions. The only thing I have against it stylistically is the size and font of the printing on the barrel. It just doesn’t look right to my eyes.

The pencil is quite lightweight, much lighter in the hand than I expected. For some unknown reason I expected a rather substantial weight. The grip section is plain black smooth rubber. The compound has a very small amount of give under hand pressure, and is not particularly ‘grippy’. I don’t really think it enhances your grip much.

The tip section is a classical set of step-downs culminating in a 4mm thin pipe lead sleeve. Obviously intended for graph work and drafting as all Jedos should be. The lead sleeve is not retractable so equally obviously it will wreak havoc in your pocket.
In the middle of the body there is a lead hardness indicator, which is a simple twist ring without any detent system. The marked hardness grades are 2B to 4H including F.The printing of some of the hardness grades is not quite correctly aligned with the centre of the viewing window. It is only a minor imperfection, but one that top end manufacturers should not make. Also, the colour of the hardness ring seems a little washed out and cheap. I’m sure they could do better.

The pocket clip is springy steel and perfectly functional.
The lead advance mechanism is a push top ratchet. Ten clicks of the top button will get you 7mm of lead. The mechanism feels like it is good quality - smooth yet firm and positive. There is a small eraser beneath the push top button, and access to the lead refill chamber is beneath the eraser.
Despite all the marking on the body, the specific model number ‘3000’ is not marked on the pencil. That’s one of the reasons why I previously thought Jedo was the brand name. The ‘R & D Japan’ might lead some to believe this pencil was of Japanese manufacture.
Overall then this pencil seems perfectly reasonable, although as with all my reviews I can’t comment on its long term durability.
  • Best Points – I like the look of the tip section. Mechanism feels good.
  • Not So Good Points – Lead hardness indicator ring – its functional but not so pretty.
  • Price Range – Low.
  • Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? – No.

Dimensions – Length 139mm, diameter 9mm at main body. Balance point about 70mm up from the tip.


Ralrara said...

I`think monami Gripix is better
than this.
but You&me Jedo is...well..... good.

Anonymous said...

Your photos make the Jedo look pretty darned good for an inexpensive MP. The chrome trim appears well done and you say it has smooth lead-advancing action. I think if this one were available to me I would give it a go. Dave, I don't quite understand your comment about the color of the lead hardness ring being faded unless you mean the saturation of the pigment is low. The color is reasonably vivid in your pictures. What I object to While it is unreasonable at its price point to expect anything more I also don't care for the exposed presumably sharp edges of the clip although it does look far more substantial and functional than most as you say. I suppose from the manufacturer's viewpoint the only thing worse than voluminous cheap packaging is less voluminous cheap packaging. Despite its boast about Japanese R & D, the maker has a few things to learn about presentation of which the Japanese are undisputed masters.

Jim (Barrel Of A Pencil)

kiwi-d said...

Hello Barrel
Yes indeed the saturation of the pigment in the hardness indicator is low. It almost has a touch of translucency rather than being opaque. The colour choice is not good. A proper red would have been better. The pocket clip is fairly similar to those on many Pentels, Pilots, etc so no sharper.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,
Don't know if you noticed, but on the front page of the You&Me website, they're selling what look a lot like the Pentel P203/5/7/9.
R&D in Japan indeed.

Anonymous said...

Teah, the "feel luck" logo bears a striking similarity to the Pentel logo. Well, in its sincerest form at least...

Anonymous said...

Dave, love the High Res Photo and the background pebbles. Great addition to your site.

kiwi-d said...

Mindstorm81 - There are quite a few P205 copies in Korea, some are apparently even legally licensed from Pentel.

Anonymous - Thank you very much for the comment regarding the high res photo. I've been putting some high res on the blog now for a little while and you are the first to comment on it. It does actually take a bit longer to do high res as I have to edit the HTML to position them - they aren't "drag-and-dropable" like low res. A known blogger issue but one that seems to left on the too-hard pile.