Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rotring Rapid Pro Mechanical Pencil Review

Rotring Rapid Pro Mechanical Pencil Review

The Rotring 600 mechanical pencil is a classic icon in the pantheon of writing instruments. In recent times Rotring released a new pencil which has some similarities to the venerable 600. I refer of course to the Rotring Rapid Pro mechanical pencil. Back in June last year I held a giveaway on this blog for a Rapid Pro, and now it’s time for a review…well actually more than one review, and all three of them are guest reviews…a trifecta of Rotring champions, if you like.

So, here we have the Rotring Rapid Pro family of mechanical pencils - 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 2.0mm, all stylistically the same. The 2mm is a ratchet advance mechanical pencil just like the others. It’s not a clutch pencil.
rotring rapid pro pencil family

The winners of my giveaway were Spuddybuddy and Rhonda Eudaly so I present their two reviews here, and the third triumvir is none other than Ovidiu who previously reviewed the mighty Rotring 600 here on this blog. We shall see what he has to say about its new brother, the Rapid Pro.

We will start the tri-review with Spuddybuddy, and in a first for DMP we have a video review.
rotring rapid pro at the movies
Yep, no more reading, just sit back, get comortable and enjoy the Spuddybuddy Rotring Rapid Pro Movie below.


Well then, now for a more traditional review, here we have Ovidiu's written review.
**************
Rotring Rapid Pro Mechanical Pencil Review - words and images by Ovidiu

rotring rapid pro mechanical pencil

The Rotring Rapid Pro is the newest release from the Hamburg based company, part of Sanford, who is also part of Newell Rubbermaid Company. And unlike the Rotring 600 or Rotring 800, officially available only in Japan, the Rapid Pro seems to have worldwide availability and also can be seen on Rotring homepage and also Rotring Catalog from 2010. I really commend Rotring for this bold decision to release, after so many years, a high quality mechanical pencil, that is, as they say, “the perfect professional tool for all sketching, writing and drawing applications”. We really needed a comeback from Rotring. There are three versions of Rotring Rapid Pro available, the 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 2mm and there is only one color available so far, silver, for all of them. The nice thing about the 2mm model is that it features an automatic mechanical pencil mechanism, rather than the standard clutch mechanism usually found in the classic leadholders.
rotring rapid pro packaging


The packaging consists from a grey cardboard box that slides into another which has the word “Rotring” embossed on it. You receive a lot more “package” than with the Rotring 600 for example. Of course, no true professional mechanical pencil comes without the mandatory user manual, in fact a folded sheet of paper, which, in this case, doesn’t refer to the Rapid Pro at all, but to it’s Japanese relatives, Rotring 800 and 600. This could be to the fact the pencil was bought from Japan and it’s quite possible that this manual could differ for other countries.
rotring rapid pro instructions


For sure, the Rotring Rapid Pro is a very nice pencil. Almost all the body is made of brushed metal, with some shiny polished surfaces on the tip of the pencil and the pocket clip. I usually don’t like shiny surfaces on pencils, especially on drafting pencils that I always consider should look more “serious” than the regular ones, but on the Rapid Pro, those touches really look good.
rotring rapid pro and rapid mechanical pencils
Side by side : Rotring Rapid Pro and Rotring Rapid
The name alone suggests a resemblance with the Rotring Rapid, an interesting, plastic body / rubber grip pencil with a “vanishing point” mechanism and a very long eraser hidden under the cap.


But in the end, these two pencils don’t have too much in common, besides the fact that both are pocket safe. The Rapid Pro looks more like a Rotring 600 relative than Rapid’s one.
rotring 600 and rapid pro mechanicals
Rotring Rapid Pro flanked by two nice Rotring 600
The Rapid Pro is a very solid, well-made pencil. Writing with it I didn’t fell any play in the parts of the mechanism, which is quite rare these days, even with “pro” pencils. The grip is standard for a drafting pencil with a laser cut diamond like pattern. As you can see from the picture, the grip’s texture is much denser than the one from Rotring 600 and this really feels in use, especially if your fingers get a little sweaty, the Rapid Pro tends to slip much easier. Unlike the Rotring 600, Rapid Pro uses a so called sliding sleeve, which can be hidden inside the body for pocket safety, when the pencil is not in use. This is in fact not the only advantage of this kind of mechanism, because on long writing sessions the sleeve cushions inside the body while the lead consumes itself so this way you don’t need to push the pencil’s cap that often to advance the lead. The sleeve’s length is around 3mm and seems pretty sturdy, without too much play.
rapid pro grip section
The grip texture difference between Rotring 600 and Rotring Rapid Pro
The body is hexagonal, finely brushed, but where the 600’s edges were quite sharp, here are a little rounded. As with the grip, I also find the barrel to be a little too slippery for my liking and since this isn’t a very light pencil, it’s quite a challenge to keep it stable in hand after you write with it for some time. The Rotring trademark, the red ring, is positioned this time between the grip and the barrel. Also, on the barrel the text “Rotring Rapid Pro 0.5” is written in black. There is no indication about the country where it was made anywhere on the pencil.
The shiny things : pocket clip, eraser, the cap, and the lead magazine
The pocket clip looks the same as the one found in Rotring 600, only this time it is polished and shiny. It is also removable.

The cap is also polished and has a small hole on top of it. The eraser is probably identical to the one in Rotring 600… small but functional if you have nothing else on hand. It sits on top of the lead magazine, which is made of metal.
disassembled mechanism


The mechanism is a standard, automatic one, pushing the button the lead is advancing in small steps. The click is a quiet but audible one. Ten clicks will give you around 7mm of lead, just like with the Rotring 600. As you can see there is a fair amount of plastic used.


I was writing with the Rapid Pro for about one month and the impressions are mostly positive, but this should be expected since it resembles in many ways the Rotring 600. The grip is just a little thicker which is good, the sliding sleeve is a very nice and useful addition, since it helps you keep up in long writing sessions without the need to push the button to advance the lead. The build quality is as expected – very good, as it should be on an instrument of this kind.


In the end, probably the greatest thing is that Rotring finally re-opened to the world and decided to continue their rich tradition in producing high quality writing instruments.


Best points : Classic design, very good built quality, sliding sleeve
Not so good points : Rotring was a little overzealous with the grip and barrel, a little too slippery for my liking.


Dimensions :
Length : 145mm
Thickness : 8mm (the barrel – between the points), 8mm for the grip.
Price Range : Medium.

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Last then, but not least, we have the third part of our tri-review. It's by Rhonda Eudaly and is posted on her own blog. So, no point in duplicating here, this is the link to Rhonda’s Rotring Rapid Pro mechanical pencil review. Head over for a browse.

Well, that’s about it. I think we are all Rotring Rapid Pro’d out. It’s a fine pencil, a worthy addition to the Rotring stable…but will it reach the status of the 600…time will tell.

Please join with me in thanking all three guest reviewers for their sterling efforts, and wish them many years of Rapid Pro enjoyment.

Follow up article on Rotring Rapid Pro 2mm mechanical pencil.

40 comments:

Ralrara said...

Rapid is cheap, but Rapid pro is little expensive I think.

Mark said...

Hooray for video review! What a great supplement to text and images. Now, if the video had included writing and/or drawing as well...Still, brilliant addition.

Rot Ring said...

Great reviews!

To add to Ovidiu's infos:

the weights are
24.3g - 0.5mm
24.6g - 0.7mm
25.5g - 2.0mm

there is no user manual at all when bought in Germany,
but a very little message in 3 pt(!) height on the grey sticker on the boxes backs - see yourself:
http://www.airplaneupload.de/archiv.php?bild=2424&bild_name=rrrapidpro07mmpackungsaufkQW65L.jpg

this is no error nor Photoshopped!

-Arne
:)

QPH said...

Excellent review!!! Thanks a lot!

Jack said...

Those tool-tips you put on Ovidiu's Rotring review pictures... Really do make me laugh :)

Anonymous said...

I need one of these. Seems like there are no US suppliers. Amazon UK has them. Ebay has them. I may bite the bullet and shell out the $45 plus shipping. I love the Pentel GraphGear 1000. The retacting point is the missing link to carrying a drafting pencil. I wonder if JetPens will get them? They seem like a great company.

By the way I also needed an Ohto Super P until I saw this! Hummmm. Can you say COMPULSION? At least I use a pencil everyday.

I'm going to try to wait for some more comments from the people. Maybe not.

RPB

Kiwi-d said...

Thanks for noticing Jack. I sometimes wonder if tool tips are becoming redundant with with less and less people "reading with a mouse". Still, even though Ovidiu is such a brave guy I had to ask the question :-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry I am a bit computer challenged - What tool tips??
Great review and vid. Ovidiu. I am more than happy with my series 1 Rotring 600 and the chrome highlights don't work as well as a matt finish IMO. Still tossing up about the Rotring 800 though. I also dont like the tapering front tip of the rapid pro -its just not as techy as a cylindrical style R600 or Pentel Graph1000. But congratulations to Rotring for providing yet another high quality instrument.

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

not bad but no 600!!!

Keir

Kiwi-d said...

Hi 2 1/2P.
A tool tip is some pop-up text put in so that if you hover your mouse pointer over it will become visible. I put in a tool tip on the image of the disassembeld Rapid Pro. It should show with all browsers. Various browsers and versions will also show alt tag text on images so you may also see that pop-up text on lots of other images as I usually take the time to put it in, but thats just usually image name information for text browsers, audio readers, etc.

Matt said...

I would like to see a review on the 2mm variant. Does the larger lead work well with the ratchet design? Does it compare well with similarly sized clutches?

Rot Ring said...

Ok - for all who didn't click on/processed my picture link, it reads:

NewellRubbermaid
Brands That Matter

Distrusted By: (not Distributed!)
Sanford GmbH
D-22510 Hamburg • Germany

www.rotring com

I like this decent protest against company take over(s)

-Arne
:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave but the tool tips dont work with my version of Mozilla Firefox 3.6.15 - as Seargeant Schulz says - I hear nossing, I see nossing.

Anonymous said...

edit last comment: signed 2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Re Tooltips and Mozilla Firefox.I am playing out of my league a bit here but note comments 29 to 31 at this link http://www.petefreitag.com/item/266.cfm. It definitely seems like there is a problem with Tooltips and Mozilla Firefox. Whether this link helps I'm not sure.

2 1/2p

Kiwi-d said...

Hmmm, my Firefox is displaying title tag text tooltip either. I'll look into it at some stage. I guess its a reason for you to change browsers to the much maligned IE :-)

Kiwi-d said...

Grrrr, above comment should say "...Firefox isn't displaying..."

Kiwi-d said...

2 1/2P - try now. Hover on the last image.

It appears Firefox is rather fussy. In order to dispaly title tag text it requires there is also alt tag text. IE is far less fussy, and will display title without alt.

Anonymous said...

When I mouse from outside the picture to inside the picture I get - "Yes, but will it ever work again". This message comes up from any direction mousing from outside the picture to inside. I got the impression from Jack above that there were more messages (tooltips)??. When I hover within the picture area I get zilch - is this just technique??.

2 1/2p

Kiwi-d said...

Thats how it works. The tooltip will display when you enter the image and then disappear after a short while. Ti display again you have to move out then back in.

There's only 1 tooltip in this review, some others in others, including Ovidius 600 review as I recall. Other browsers may also show different text from alt tags, etc.

Sapphire said...

It works in Google Chrome.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your explanation Dave - didn't mean to take up your time with naive questions. I'm learning every day.

2 1/2p

Kiwi-d said...

Hi 2 1/2p.
No problem, and I learned something too, that Firefox requires alt tag for title tag to work, but IE doesn't.

Kiwi-d said...

Rot Ring
Sorry I didn't mention before. I viewed your picture but didn't notice the distrusted until your second comment. Fantastic stuff! Well spotted. For the record, I can confirm that my Rapid Pro boxes are also untrustworthy, so it's it widespread :-)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this pencil is still in the “test” phase. Its older siblings have achieved icon status. I've decided not to buy more drafting pencils, for now, unless they are pocket safe. As much for protection of the instrument as personal safety. I want to be able to show them off. This one catches my attention. I love the portability of my GraphGear 1000 and have ordered a Promecha 1000 (help please with pronunciation) to compliment it. This one seems to be a Cadillac. I'd like to hear a little more about it from the owners who have given it a test drive. It is not widely available so there are not many reviews to read. Please help me justify spending $50 for a pencil. Some of the nick-knacks in my office cost more, so I don't mind the money. In other words, what is the bang for the buck? What others are in the class of this tool? Tell me it is OK to order one!

RPB

Ovidiu said...

Hi Anonymous,
First of all, the Rapid Pro is a high quality writing instrument. You pay for the quality, you also pay for the brand, for the all-metal construction. I used it for months and I am very happy with it, it's a very solid instrument. It is in the same class with Rotring 600 for example and the Rapid Pro has the advantage of pocket safety.
$50 is a little too much, it can be found at around $30-$35.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ovidiu,

I'll keep looking. $45 is the cheapest I saw. (plus shipping) I'm not sure if we are supposed to talk shopping here. Any suggestions where to look. At that price I would probably jump.

I have a few of the medium priced $15 -20, drafting pencils. GraphGear, Staedtler, Platinum, Ohto. They are all great. One gets what one pays for. Day to day I carry a P207. I thought $5 was too much when I bought a few of those. They are a bargain. Something like the Rotring would probably stay on my desk at home, where I do a lot of daily writing.

RPB



RPB

Ovidiu said...

Hi RPB,

I guess you're right. The yen is strong so even the prices from Japan for a Rapid Pro are above $40. And you have the add the shipping costs. If you ask me, this pencil is worth the money. I'll search more and let you know if I find a good price.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. I'm going to keep looking as well. I am intrigued by the RapidPro because it seems to have a balanced weighting due to the all metal construction. I will need to look at the reviews again to confirm. I'm not real happy with the heavy tip ends of the Ohto Promecha and the Uni-Shift, although I like them both. My favorite so far is the GraphGear 1000 because the weight is more evenly distributed. It is also a tad bit longer which brings more weight to the top end. The Staedtler is also comfortable for the same reason. It is too dangerous to carry, for personal safety and potential damage. It is a very very fine quality tool. I picked up some orthodontic elastics and they soften the metal grip just enough for extended writing.

RPB

Anonymous said...

Too dangerous to carry?
Did you ever thought of the use of a leather etui? From rotring?
They could protect fine cigars too...

Anonymous said...

I bought it because I thought it had the same safety mechanism as the former plastic rapid. Very disappointing... Seems the good Rotring years are really over !

PointFour said...

Anyone noticed the TWSBI Precision RT Pipe Pencil, see e.g. eBay http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/TWSBI-Precision-RT-Pipe-Pencil-0-5mm-MATT-SILVER-/120666288422?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c18457126 ? Looks *very* like a Rotring Rapid Pro.

Rot Ring said...

I bought the 4 silver models in 0.5 / 0.7mm in the fixed/retractable variants to compare.

Unfortunately I got doubles of the retractable ones instead of the set of fixed ones. I have to send them back, an extra situation I hate to spend time and handling on.

There will be more to tell..

Anonymous said...

I was quite disappointed with the rapid pro range as it has no extendable rubber like the older rapid range and missing the .35 version, guess i stick with the older rapid range even though they are plastic.

Rot Ring said...

Ok, meanwhile the right pencils arrived very fast (USA-Germany packages take some time up to weeks at the customs in Frankfurt) - the doubles are sent back.
When I find the time beside shooting new A380s at XFW, I'll take some shots of the TWSBIs to compare with the Rapid Pros and old rotring 600s.

-Arne
:)

George said...

Can someone confirm the construction of the Rapid Pro ISN'T all metal? The internals look plastic to me.

I should probably stick to the 800 then eh?

George said...

Scratch that, I'm an idiot. But I've still read complaints at JetPens about build quality versus the 600 and 800. Does anyone have input before I shell out 50?

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the TWSBI Precision mechanical pencil? It seems similar to this Rotring. A review would be great.

Anonymous said...

I got them.
Nice to have for that reason but I didn't use them (for collection only)
-Arne
:)

Paul F. Sehorne said...

Great reviews. Thanks.

I just bought a Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0 mm. It does not fit in my Staedler rotray pointer. Do any of you have the 2.0 mm version? What pointer do you use successfully?

Thanks,