Low cost ballpoint pens with caps aren’t particularly common in my part of the world, but they used to be reasonably common back when I was in school. Perhaps that is why the Caplet has a somewhat retro and nostalgic feel about it for me. The Pentel Caplet is clearly a rather simple basic pencil, its point of difference being its cap. The cap covers the tip when not in use, providing total pocket safety. When you are ready to write, the cap can be posted onto the end of the pencil so you are les likely to forget and lose the cap. Posting the cap does have two disadvantages. Firstly it fits over the eraser so that with the cap on, if you want to use the eraser you have to take the cap off, and then the eraser also has its own eraser cover to remove as well. Secondly posting the cap on the end activates the lead advance mechanism, which may not always be what you want. Personally I always chose to post the cap as without it the top end of the pencil looked somehow incomplete, I worried about losing the cap, and I preferred the little extra weight and top-heavy feel obtained with the cap on. The grip zone of the Caplet is a fairly narrow diameter and consists of a series of raised rings or waves. It is quite functional and successful.
The lead advance mechanism is a standard push top button ratchet system. Ten clicks will get you 7mm of 0.5mm lead. With my clear transparent Caplet I quite like seeing the internal mechanism operate and advance and the lead as I click away. Rotating the body around gives various optical distortions of the leads inside the refill chamber making then change in diameter and even appearing square rather then round. In keeping with this clear theme the lead retaining ring in the tip is moulded from clear rubber. The eraser can be pulled out to refill the lead chamber. The eraser is 13mm long, but only about 3mm can be used as 10mm is inside the housing that holds it. Personally I dislike seeing a dirty eraser stuck on the end of my pencil so the clear eraser cover is another reason I wouldn’t use the eraser except in emergencies.The cap has an integrally moulded pocket clip which is quite functional compared to many similar clips. A barcode is printed on a transparent label stuck on the cap and it is rather unsightly. You can of course remove the label, but the printing appears to be non-permanent as it scratches or rubs off easily. Rather strange. Overall then the Pentel Caplet is a good choice amongst the economy grade pencils.
- Best Points – The cap is something different for a change.
- Not So Good Points – Posting the cap advances the lead.
- Price Range – Economy.
- Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.
Dimensions – Length 155mm with cap posted, diameter 8mmmm. Balance point about 85mm up from the tip with cap posted.
The Final Word - Thanks to 'Redds' from Malaysia for sending me this pencil.