Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monami Gripix-T Lead Review

Monami Gripix-T Lead Review

I recently reviewed the Monami Gripix mechanical pencil, so now it’s time to check out their companion leads. Firstly then, the brand name is not entirely the same. For some reason the mechanical pencil and the eraser are Gripix, whereas the leads are Gripix-T.
monami gripix-t lead refills

According to the Monami website, Gripix-T leads are only available in 0.5mm HB and B grade. No other grades or diameters are available. The HB is supplied in a white container and the B in a black container. So, no chance of mixing those up, which is good.
2 containers

Of the two, I prefer the black container, it looks good and professional.
gripix-t b grade lead refill container

The container has a push down section to open and dispense leads through a small hole.
showing open container

The cardboard packages of 12 containers of leads have a lot of information on them.
boxes of 12 containers

As you might expect the larger print is advertising stuff to entice the consumer… front of monami gripix-t lead refill package

(translation courtesy of Kent)
그리픽스-티 : Gripix T
더! 선명하게 부드럽게 단단하게 : More! Dark, Smooth, Hard
진한심 : Darker lead
12본입 : 12 containers are enclosed.

…whilst the finer print is the boring stuff like manufacturers name, address and contact details, quality assurance and consumer legal rights information, etc. There is also a specific “Made in Korea” statement.
side of gripix-t package

My leads were all recently purchased at retail, but Monami have at some stage increased the length of their Gripix-T leads from 60mm length to their current 70mm, and from 24 leads per container to 30, as shown below.
change in container information

So, lets put these “HIGH POLYMER Technology for Professional” 0.5mm leads to the test, lining them up against Pentel Ain 0.5mm. First then lets compare darkness. Well, both Ain and Gripix-T HB grade were fairly similar but Gripix-T B is noticeably darker, and definitely felt “softer and smoother” in use. That’s good, because I sometime find there’s not enough difference between the grades of a brand of lead.
lead darkness test results

Now for erasing with a Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser. Not much difference, although with Gripix-T HB there was a very slight tendency to smear, and this was a little more pronounced with B. The B lead also left a very faint line behind, it didn’t erase 100%, but nothing to get too concerned about.
erase test results

As for smearability when being rubbed over by hand, then Ain HB was the least susceptible to smearing, Gripix-T smeared just a fraction more than Ain HB, and Gripix-T B smeared a fraction more again. Overall I’d say Gripix-T is fairly smear resistant. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your requirements.
smearability test results

Lastly then the strength test. It was no contest, all over in the blink of an eye. Pentel Ain HB is significantly stronger than Monami Gripix-T HB, which in turn is possibly slightly stronger than Gripix-T B grade.

I’ve got to admit the strength test disappointed me, because up to this final test I thought Gripix-T was doing quite well. I believe that when it comes to lead strength more is always better, but that doesn’t mean that some mid-strength leads aren’t actually strong enough to generally do the job. Well, I think Monami Gripix-T is generally strong enough, it’s just Ain is stronger still.

NOTE: This is article Number 2 on the Monami Gripix range, the first being the Gripix mechanical pencil. Article 3 will be the Gripix eraser.


Time Waster said...

Koreans have alot of pride they make their own lead =)

Time Waster said...

Nevermind I guess MonAmi is French or something.

Kiwi-d said...

Well Monami are Korean, founded 1960, but yes, I believe they take their name from the French 'mon ami'.

Kevin said...

Where'd you get these leads? I want the cool dispenser. . .

Kiwi-d said...

Kevin - they were sent to me by a friend from Korea.