Tombow Zoom 505sh Mechanical Pencil ReviewMost of my shopping for mechanical pencils is done online, so I don’t usually have any opportunity to try before I buy. Of course this inevitably leads to surprises, and sometimes you get what you expected and sometimes you don’t.
With the cap off you can use the Zoom unposted, but personally I find that look a little short, stubby and incomplete.
The cap has a definite push-fit click into position as it engages with that rounded button on the end of the barrel. Unposted, you can click on that button to advance the lead, but with the cap posted, the cap becomes the push top button.
The pocket clip is a sturdy metal clip, unlikely to slip off anything you clip it to. The cap push fits on quite securely to either end of the main body so it’s unlikely you will end up with just your cap clipped to your ‘something’ and the main body nowhere to be found.
With its aluminium body, the Tombow Zoom is not a super-heavyweight mechanical pencil, but with the cap posted it is certainly heavier than most, weighing in at 37 grams. Of course posting the cap significantly alters the centre of balance, but even then the Zoom is not top heavy.
The grip zone is made from the same hard matt smooth rubber as the centre ring. The grip has a slight concave contour and the flange of the tip section produces a slightly bulbous end stop to the grip. The positioning of the grip doesn’t entirely suit me, it is about 10mm to too low down for my liking. Alternatively it is perhaps about 10mm too short in overall length. As mentioned the grip itself is made from hard black smooth surfaced rubber, and is just under 11mm diameter at its narrowest point. There is no give in the rubber under normal hand pressure, and the rubber certainly doesn’t add any extra grip factor. This then is the aspect of the Zoom 505sh that I don’t like. I can live with it, but it’s not my ideal.
The lead sleeve of the Zoom is a fixed short thin pipe. The cap of course makes this pocket-safe. Ten clicks of the mechanism will get you 7mm of the 0.5mm lead. To refill the lead magazine you unscrew the top part of the body and…hey there’s an eraser!
Well it’s only a small emergency use one, but better than nothing. You then pull the eraser out (note the lead clearance rod) to refill the magazine.
Markings on the mechanical pencil are “ZOOM, 505 sh” on the front of the cap and “Tombow, Japan 0.5” on the back of the cap. The lead size “0.5” is moulded into the black rubber insert in the end of the cap.
As I said back at the beginning, sometimes your expectations are exceeded and sometimes they are not. For many years I never purchased a Zoom 505sh because the rubber grip put me off, and nothing about its appearance leapt out and grabbed me. So, when I bought one by mistake I wasn’t expecting much, but luckily for me my expectations were far exceeded. The Zoom 505sh is a very nice mechanical pencil, a class act and my only gripe involves the grip.
• Best Points – the cap system.
• Not So Good Points – The grip. I’m positive they could do better.
• Price Range – Mid.
• Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - Hmmmm, No.
Dimensions – Length 135mm with cap closed on tip and 146mm with cap posted on end, diameter 13mm at widest point. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip with cap posted.
(Sorry, the photos aren't so good in this article but with winter lighting and a dark pencil...well I did what I could)