Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Schneider iD Mechanical Pencil Review

Schneider iD Mechanical Pencil Review

In recent times Keir from Scotland has slung his bagpipes over his shoulder, hitched up his kilt and gone exploring through the bazaars of the United Arab Emirates, and it is fair to say he has found many bargains to haggle over with the mechanical pencil merchants of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Keir has been feeding his strange and growing Rotring obsession, finding such delights as brand new dusty old Rotring 900’s still sitting on shelves…neglected…just waiting for a pencil person to recognise and rescue them. Keir took pity on poor me, far from the bazaars and sent a package of goodies my way. Amongst the exotic contents of the package was a strange looking little pencil which immediately caught my eye…the Schneider iD mechanical pencil... that short, sharp, tapering yet fat body, the very antithesis of many a long sleek drafting instrument. Vast expanse of shiny chrome on matt black rubber body, fluorescent end cap, this pencil is making a statement and it certainly looks interesting, sitting on a desk.

Right time to pick up the iD. As expected it is rather weighty, 32 grams according to my kitchen scales. The body tapers so you can hold it fairly low down or high up as suits you, and it also has a large scallop taken out of it as part of the ergonomic design.

I’ve got to say the body scallop and general size of the iD just didn’t suit me for long term writing. The scallop just didn’t seem to be of any particular use or relevance to me. The thickness of the body meant I wanted to try and grip the iD fairly low down and the body scallop contour appeared to be too high up for me. Even gripping the body low down it was basically still too wide for me, long term.

However, having said that it didn’t suit me for long term writing, I feel completely the opposite when it comes to short term use – like writing a shopping list, writing down a phone number, a couple of quick notes during a telephone conversation, jotting the notes for this review in my notebook and so forth. As a pencil to have lying around to grab for short term use, the iD is well worth consideration, a definite competitor to the Lamy Scribble. Whilst I generally prefer thinner leads, the 0.9mm of the iD is acceptable for quick notes and doodles.

Take a look at that pocket clip. It is chrome plated steel, surprisingly springy and very unusually shaped. On the one hand it works quite well, but because the clip is so wide and wraps around the body it needs to bend whatever it is clipped to. So, it’s not so good on thick papers, etc.

Note the lanyard eye at the top of the pocket clip. A rather rare thing these days.

Neither the pocket clip nor the body scallop effectively stops the pencil from rolling on your desk, although they do try and partially succeed.

The lead advance mechanism is a twist top ratchet. The coloured end cap twists about ¼ turn to advance the lead. Naturally it springs back of its own accord. Ten activations will get you about 5mm of the 0.9mm lead. Although it is possible to do it one-handed, advancing the lead on this mechanical pencil is really a two handed job and thus a definite interruption to the writing process.

The lead sleeve is a short tapering cone and retractable for pocket safety.

Refilling the leads is a little unusual too. I certainly expected that big end cap to pull off, but it doesn’t. To refill the lead magazine you unscrew the tip section from the main body and pull the whole mechanism out.

Of course since the end cap doesn’t come off, there is no eraser beneath it, or anywhere else for that matter.
Markings on the mechanical pencil are “iD” printed on the body near the tip of the pocket clip, and “Schneider Germany” is moulded into the black rubber body at the top of the body. Now, the use of the word “Germany” does not necessarily mean ‘Made in Germany’, which I find rather misleading at times but there's no subterfuge or hidden origin here as the Schneider iD webpage states “Writing comfort and quality ‘Made in Germany’ ”.

Overall then, the Schneider iD as a very interesting mechanical pencil, and I’m very grateful to Keir for sending it my way. Thanks buddy.

• Best Points – The looks.
• Not So Good Points – personally the body is too wide for prolonged use.
• Price Range – Low/Mid.
• Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.

Dimensions – Length 123mm, diameter 21mm at widest point. Balance point about 60mm up from the tip.


Anonymous said...

Great backgrounds! :-D

Matthias said...

What a monster of a pencil...
Thanks for the review.

John the Monkey said...

Ha! The lanyard eye background is beautifully chosen!

Thanks for this review - I've been on the point of buying *something* from the iD range several times. (I'm a big fan of the Schneider "Base" fountain pen). The ergonomics certainly don't suit everyone, but I've found the Base to be a soild, dependable pen. The unusual design of the iD cries out to be tried, at least... Food for thought here!

Anonymous said...

I think the Staedtler Graphite 771 that I own is more than enough to convince me I'm not a Fat barrel guy.

2 1/2p

2nd_astronaut said...

Ok, the pencil was a present, so that's kind. But I must say I don't really like the optics of the iD pencil. Lamy scribble is a different design class (for me).

*note to self* order fat Tombow oceanic, last survivor of "la nave" family (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_vMSO1Jv7Hk4/TA72adPPZwI/AAAAAAAAA5w/c5GsS7WRenU/s1600/09.jpg)

Anonymous said...

I have it with all chrome accents and it is far nicer!!


Anonymous said...

I like the width, but the barrel looks too short. Great review and pictures.

Time Waster said...

I have a Cross Torpedo but find it awkward but I really like the Rotring Core series even though the colors and symbols on them are disturbing.