Sunday, May 10, 2009

Staedtler graphite 771 Mechanical Pencil Review

Staedtler graphite 771 Mechanical Pencil Review

Large diameter and ergonomic style mechanical pencils for learner writers seem to be a popular theme these days, with manufacturers offering an increasing array of products. The Staedtler graphite 771 has been around for a while now, and is Staedtler’s main offering in this market segment, although they do not target it exclusively at children, noting it is also for those (adults) who like a larger chunky grip. It is currently called the ‘graphite 771’ (that’s graphite with a lower case ‘g’) on the Staedtler website, but I feel sure that earlier on it was the Noris 771. Still, maybe I was dreaming. Noris is still mentioned in relation to the 771, as it is in the ‘Noris design’ which I take to mean the Noris yellow and black colour scheme. Despite being the sporting colours of an opposing province to mine, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Noris yellow and black scheme as it makes me think of industrious bees, and how much I enjoy the fruits of their labours. I imagine the bright yellow and black red-topped colour scheme would appeal to many younger users too.

Being all-plastic, the 771 isn’t a heavy pencil, despite its size. The first thing I noticed about the 771 when I picked it up was the size of the grip. It is a triangular bodied pencil, and in the grip zone the sides of the triangle are about 15mm long. Now that’s big. To be honest, too big for me. Here are a few shots showing the 771 and a couple of average size Pentels.

The grip itself is black rubber with grooves moulded into it. Its shape is tapering as it transitions from the triangular body down to the round tip section. The rubber compound is quite hard but does have some grip to it, so overall it does improve the grip.I personally found the grip tended to fit better in my fingers when the pencil was sloped down at a low angle to the paper, rather than a more upright stance. Of course holding it at a low angle accentuates the chisel point worn on the lead, and being triangular you have limited options for rotating the pencil in your grip. These are further limited by the large pocket clip getting in the way a bit. The pocket clip is plastic and reasonably functional, although it might not last that long at school.

The large chucky body also meant it was generally too large for me to comfortably hold in my fingers whilst doing something else like punching a few keys on a calculator or keyboard. Of course, for children and learner writers my comments about the body size maybe irrelevant.

The 771 uses 1.3mm lead which is obviously tailored for the child writer - large enough diameter to give it plenty of strength, but thin enough so that it doesn’t need sharpening for their general writing purposes.There is a small short metal lead sleeve, which is retractable for pocket safety. I quite liked the lead. Claimed as HB grade, it was nice and smooth and dark, and I would not have thought twice if it was claimed as B rather than HB.The lead advance is a standard push top ratchet mechanism. Ten clicks will get you about 8mm of lead. The mechanism has a good positive feel.

At the top end of the pencil is a large twist out eraser. The collar of the eraser cartridge is a red rubber compound and quite grippy, which is good. The eraser twists out and back in smoothly and easily. Mine certainly got a good workout in a few meetings – twisting the eraser in and out certainly helps time pass, and isn’t noisy. The eraser is about 7mm diameter with 28mm of useable length. It is a PVC-free compound and erases quite well.You pull the whole eraser cartridge out of the body to access the lead refill chamber.The only obvious markings on the pencil are the large Staedtler name and logo on the pocket clip. The stick on barcode and ID label includes the wording “Made in Japan”.

Overall then, not a bad pencil, just not really one for me personally.
  • Best Points – the twist out eraser.
  • Not So Good Points – nothing I care to reiterate.
  • Price Range – Low.
  • Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.

Dimensions – Length 142mm, body sides 15mm. Balance point about 80mm up from the tip.

19 comments:

B2-kun said...

Looks like a fun addition a collection, but not like a practical drawing tool for an adult.

Anonymous said...

Mine gets good use as a bold lined sketching tool but thats about as far as it goes.

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Love yr website KD, but why do you insist on constantly reviewing these toy pencils?

:(

AJ

kiwi-d said...

Hello AJ. Well I'm glad you love the website, but before I reply properly, could you define "toy pencils" for me please.

Anonymous said...

- Staedtler graphite 77
- Staedtler Noris 763
- Stabilo ‘s move easyergo
- The Bat
- Zebra Tect 2way
- Papermate Write Bros

Don't get me wrong - I wasn't trying to rain on yr parade or anything. I was just thinking that if you are going to take the time to do decent reviews for pencil fans, why not chose something that someone might possibly aspire to own, not something marketed to people who wouldn't know a mechanical pencil if you stuck them in the eye with it...

If you get my drift?

AJ

Peter said...

AJ,

I think your phrasing is slightly out there. If I may, this is what I seem to be reading of your comment;
You don't want to see reviews of basic "economy" pencils, novelty items and pencils aimed at children.

Now, while that's fair enough, I would say this;
Many of these economy pencils are under appreciated gems.
While I'm sure Dave would love to be reviewing serious drafting equipment or expensive luxury items, these more basic items have a wider appeal!
For most users, a Parker Duofold pencil, for example, is pie-in-the-sky material. A dream. Information on a more basic pencil like this Staedtler is useful consumer information.
I appreciate that you'd like to see the higher end stuff out there, but bear in mind that Dave actually has to pay for these himself more often than not, and given the value of some of the items we've seen to date from him, I think we're doing quite well on luxury pencil reviews!
Have a look through the lists of pencil reviews in the sidebar, I'm sure you'll find something to your liking!

Anonymous said...

Not sure how a Zebra Tect2Way qualifies as a toy pencil - I have two of these and they are serious drafting pencils. I think it's worth considering that the pencil community is pretty small and Dave is catering to a World Wide readership here - something I also forget on occasion. 2 1/2p

Sapphire said...

Apart from anything else what's wrong with a little fun now and then?

kiwi-d said...

Hello AJ
No worries, my parade is still sunny and dry. I think Peter and 2 1/2P have said most of what I would have said. The only things I would add are that I try to cover all types of pencils as from time to time I struggle for inspiration and the mixture helps. Also a lot of people are interested in novelty pencils. Finally, the majority of people who declare pencil XYZ as the best ever are usually talking about an economy item. Anyway, hopefully there will be more to your liking in the future.

Anonymous said...

Where can I buy one of these? I like it.

Anonymous said...

Guys

Yr right, of course. Great to get all the feedback & points of view.

If there's one though left in my head, it would be for Dave to get some sponsorship so he can get his hands on more product!

:)

AJ

kiwi-d said...

Ahhh, AJ, I live in hope that one day soon the CEO of Mont Blanc will trip across this blog, be enraged that there is no Mont Blanc to compete with Parker Duofold or ST DuPont or Caran d'Ache and thus swamp me with his finest offerings, all no obligation free samples.

In the meantime though, I must once again state my gratitude to those of you who have sent me a pencil or two, no matter how modestly priced, truely, it is the thought that counts.

Finally, there will actually be some more luxury item reviews in the not too distant future. I do have a few more luxury items getting dusty down there in the basement, and its time they saw the light and received their reward or brick-bat.

Anonymous said...

Sponsorship of course is always a double edged sword - the word itself explains the problem - lack of neutrality. 2 1/2p

kiwi-d said...

For sure buddy, thats why I added the "all no obligation free samples" bit. Ahh, but to dream of actually being offered sponsorship. Glory days!

Anonymous said...

Maybe there's an online pen store (cult pens, jet pens etc.) that could use your expertise?

AJ

Anonymous said...

The one thing about Staedtler (and Lamy too, unfortunately) is that they often offer pencils with a very limited range of lead sizes. For instance this pencil only seems to be offered in 1.3mm-although I've used one and liked the grip, I wouldn't buy it because of the lead size. Another example is the Lamy Scribble.. why only .7 and 1.3? Okay I know why, but it would make such a fantastic every day writing pencil if only it was offered in a lead diameter I'm interested in.

Anonymous said...

I've used this pencil for a month now and think that it's a great college pencil. My past semesters consisted of me constantly breaking leads of .7 and .5 mm pencils, but the 1.3mm has yet to break and lasts a long time. It's kind of bulky, though. If you hate breaking lead all the time, get this pencil! (I think the reason I break so much lead is that I used to write very sloppily and quickly. When I write neater, I put more pressure down I guess...maybe to slow my flow? Anyways, yeah.)

Anonymous said...

Dude......or rather, Mr Dave, Thank You! I have been searching for a Big XXX pencil that would fit my large hand, and this is it...Note taking and writing homework assignments tends to cramp the hand, and I hope this will help. Best Regards, Rob St. Louis, MO

Kiwi-d said...

Rob, glad to be of service. There are several other similarly large "learner" pencils.

Dude, Mr Dave, or Dave are all fine by me :-) Good luck buddy.