Mechanical pencils, or just pencils in general admittedly don’t get much love (excluding the Kuru Toga) around here, so I thought it would be good to seek out a quality mechanical pencil for a review here. Lucky for me, the Pentel Sharp Kerry (via Amazon) made its presence known. Although available in many colors I decided to go with this nice blue .5mm version pictured above.
Besides the solid build quality of this precision hand-crafted mechanical pencil, the Pentel Sharp Kerry is unique in that it has a removable and postable cap. This is a fairly rare feature in a mechanical pencil, but you can also add to the rarity because there is also a working plunger to advance the lead whether you are using the pencil without the cap or with the cap posted. Both of the silver buttons or plungers that you see in the forefront of the picture serve as those mechanisms to advance the lead in the Pentel Sharp Kerry mechanical pencil.
It wasn’t until I started taking photos of this mechanical pencil when I realized that the cap and the body are actually two slightly different shades of blue. I wasn’t sure if this was some kind of defect on my particular pencil or if it was just specific to the blue version so I hit up the review over at The Pen Addict of Brad’s red version and saw that the red cap was slightly lighter in color than the red body. Knowing that I didn’t have some odd manufacturing defect, I was content knowing that this was just another nice and subtle design element for this great looking pencil.
One concern I had with the design ended up being a non-issue but I thought I’d mention it in case anyone else had similar thoughts. With the silver plunger exposed on the bottom end when the Pentel Sharp Kerry is capped, I was worried that the lead might inadvertently advance while in a pocket or bag resulting in the lead breaking against the inside tip of the cap. What I quickly realized was that the cap actually serves as a way to protect from accidental lead breakage. With the cap securely closed and depressing the plunger, it acts as any other mechanical pencil does and opens the clutch allowing the lead to retract back into the body of the pencil. Even if you click to your hearts content with the cap closed, you will never smash the lead into the tip of the closed cap. Obviously this is a superior feature as compared to other mechanical pencils that leave the lead exposed and vulnerable to being snapped off.
Pentel Sharp Kerry Writing Experience:
When the cap is posted, it actually clicks into place on the silver decorative element that you see in the middle of the pencil. This also allows the cap to latch on securely so that the plunger on the cap aligns and presses squarely into the plunger on the body for a seamless advancing action for your lead. I did find that the Pentel Sharp Kerry was better suited for writing with the cap posted as it gave the pen almost one extra inch in length compared to the 4.25″ without the cap. For shorter writing sessions you may not notice a difference, but for longer writing sessions, the added length definitely eliminated any writing fatigue. Regardless of the cap position though, this pencils metallic and plastic composition has a great balance in the hand.
Writing with a mechanical pencil can vary greatly between users, especially depending on the type of lead you are using and the amount of pressure you write with, so its not as easy to quantify the writing experience. As I said before though, the balance is great and for longer writing sessions I’d say that posting the cap is essential. I would also point out that if you like to hold your pencil very close to the tip (like anywhere near the silver tip of this) you will probably hate this pencil as its got a gradual slope there that wont allow you to get a grip on it at all. For the rest of you holding the pencil above that silver cone though, its got a very nice feel and there are no grip issues whatsoever. You can also see above that the Pentel Sharp Kerry does have a replaceable eraser under the plunger on the cap. A simple tug of the silver plunger will reveal it. Said eraser does a great job of removing this particular lead from the paper I used here even with the darker markings laid down when heavy pressure was put on the pencil.
I would hesitate to compare the Pentel Sharp Kerry to the Uniball Kuru Toga because they definitely both have great features and a high quality build. Either one is going to be a great option for you depending on what characteristics are important to you. If you are looking for an elegant looking and well crafted mechanical pencil with a cap, or even just want a solid every day mechanical pencil though, the Pentel Sharp Kerry (via Amazon) is about as safe a bet as you will find.