Tuesday, February 16, 2010

5 Star Premier Mechanical Pencil Review

5 Star Premier Mechanical Pencil Review

Regular readers of this blog will have deduced that late last year I made an arrangement with Euroffice in the UK to review some mechanical pencils that they sell. Well, this review is the fourth and last resulting from that agreement.

Prior to contact with Euroffice I had never heard of 5 Star brand office supplies but their website tells me that, “From pens and pencils, to computer supplies and screens as well as everything in between, 5 Star is the UKs leading value-for-money, quality office product range.”

I must admit that I approached the 5 Star Premier mechanical pencil with some trepidation, and that I wasn’t expecting a fantastic experience.
5 Star Premier mechanical pencil
The 5 Star Premier seems to have some visual cues that always make me start thinking of certain Staedtler and Faber-Castell mechanical pencils. I suppose that may well have been the designers intention - invoking thoughts of premium brands.

mechanical pencil rubber grip
In the hand the Premier is a lightweight pencil and neutrally balanced. The rubber grip has a series of grooves in it which combine with the concave shape and the rubber compound to give a good secure grip. The rubber grip is about 10mm diameter in the centre of the concave depression, but the grip is slightly loose over the main body underneath so there is a little bit of flex (and stick) as it depresses under finger pressure. Overall though, this is quite a good rubber grip.

The chrome top button conceals a small eraser. The top button has a hole in it, which I think looks quite good, and presumably it also has a practical purpose - to help reduce breathing obstruction if accidentally swallowed by a small child. The top button is rather a loose fit on the eraser holder so I wouldn’t be surprised if it came off and was lost after a while.

mechanical pencil top section
The eraser push fits into its holder, and that whole section in turn push fits onto the plastic tube that is the lead refill chamber. As always, I have my doubts about the long term security of this arrangement, although this one is a tighter press fit than many others. The lead refill chamber is quite a narrow diameter so it will only take a small quantity of leads.

The lead advance mechanism is a standard push top ratchet. Ten clicks will get you about 6mm of the 0.5mm lead. I believe 0.5mm is the only lead option available. There is no 0.7mm or other versions. The lead sleeve is a 3mm thin metal pipe so this possibly qualifies as a draughting mechanical pencil. The lead sleeve is fully retractable for pocket safety.
mechanical pencil tip
The main body has a rather unusual round to octagonal to round transition just above the rubber grip.

mechanical pencil body transition
The pocket clip is a good strong springy metal clip.
5 Star Premier mechanical pencil markings
Neither the packaging nor the pencil carry any indication of country of manufacture.

I don’t usually comment on the lead that a mechanical pencil comes pre-loaded with, but in this case I will. The lead was quite good, reinforcing the overall impression that this is not a cheap and nasty pencil.

Overall then it’s fair to say my misgivings about the 5 Star Premier mechanical pencil were unfounded. It’s nothing particularly fancy or noteworthy, but they have a made a pretty good fist of it. As always though, I cannot comment about durability, although I imagine it would be acceptable considering it’s cost.
5 Star Pemier mechanical pencil closing

• Best Points – The rubber grip’s not bad.
• Not So Good Points – Top button is a bit on the loose side.
• Price Range – Low.
• Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.

Dimensions – Length 147mm, diameter 9mm at main body. Balance point about 70mm up from the tip.

This 5 Star Premier mechanical pencil was supplied to me by Euroffice, an office supplies specialist in the UK, in exchange for putting it on this blog and an acknowledgement.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
You're writing:"The 5 Star Premier seems to have some visual cues that always make me start thinking of certain Staedtler and Faber-Castell mechanical pencils. I suppose that may well have been the designers intention - invoking thoughts of premium brands."
Yes, pretty close, however I don't think at 5 Stars they have designers at all because the exact match of this 5 Star Premier came out much earlier as Aristo WD1 and as a Koh-I-Noor model too. They're not just look similar, the are identical.
I got photos of both, I don't know how to post it on yor site but I'll mail it to you.

2nd_astronaut said...

Nick is right: http://img2s2.schaefer-shop.de/produkte/10/05/36/43/ssat10053643ar1.jpg

Kiwi-d said...

Thanks Nick and 2nd.
I'm not familiar with the Ariston and KIN, but these days I'm never surprised at finding clones here, there or anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I can also see quite some resemblance between the clip, associated mounting and the eraser cap of this and those of the Pacer Executive- Modular componentry is a bit insidious isn't it?

The Pen Warrior said...

5 Star is a brand name that the wholesalers who supply Euroffice use for their discount range of products.

The wholesalers don't actully manufacture anything themselves they just buy their products in from various manufacturers with the 5 Star logo / branding on.

The chances are that the pencil is made by Scheafer for them with the 5 Star branding on.

Kiwi-d said...

Thanks folks. Just to clarify, my comment about "the designers" wasn't meant to imply that 5 Star were the designers, or manufacturers. Like Pen Warrior says, 5 Star are clearly wholesalers not manufacturers

Anonymous said...

It's just same as the Schneider Graffix.