I think I’ve stated my hatred for writing with a pencil on this blog before, which is why I thought it was pretty funny when I found myself writing down notes the other day with my Uniball Kuru Toga High Grade (via JetPens) that I picked up a while ago. The interesting thing about this was that I didn’t even remember making a conscious decision to pick up the pencil, that I’ve been carrying in my pencil case ever since I bought it. In the past I claimed that the standard Kuru Toga is the best mechanical pencil ever, (for the old review) but having used the high grade version now I may have to change that claim.
Above you will see a side by side shot of the standard Kuru Toga, and the Uniball Kuru Toga High Grade versions, and other than the high grade being slightly longer, the big difference is that the high grade is made of aluminum instead of plastic. To me the aluminum body with its little bit of extra weight makes it so much more enjoyable to write with. I wouldn’t consider this to be a heavy pencil, however there is a noticeable difference between the two, and since I tend to like heavier writing implements I am really a big fan of the aluminum body.
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of the high grade version of the Kuru Toga mechanical pencil, you will notice that the eraser is a bit different. Instead of just sliding into a plastic hole, there is an aluminum sleeve that holds the eraser, so you can actually continue to slide it up a bit higher as you use it and it wears down.
The next photo shows the eraser and component completely broken down so you can see how the aluminum eraser holder actually splits apart. Below is a quick writing sample done in my Whitelines notebook with black cover, but even further below that is a better example of what the Kuru Toga is really capable of.
If you enlarge the first photo below, you will see a crossword puzzle from my previous Kuru Toga review where I filled it out with a regular pencil from start to end. Working from left to right and from top to bottom, you can see that as you get to the bottom right, the width of the line that the pencil puts down gets wider and the letters look more sloppy. And just for the record, yes I did cheat on the crossword puzzle so I could make sure to get all the answers correct without skipping anything from left to right and working my way down. 🙂
Now the last photo here shows the same crossword puzzle filled out using the Kuru Toga. If you click on the photo to see the larger version you can see that using the Kuru Toga results in a consistently sized sharp and crisp line from start to end, and it takes no extra thought or effort yourself to rotate the pencil as you write with it since its automatic clutch system just does it for you.
Bottom line is that I think that as good as the standard Kuru Toga is, the simple act of making the body partially out of aluminum gives it such a better feel, but honestly, you cant go wrong with either version of mechanical pencil from Uniball if you like to always be writing with a nice sharp pencil point. I may be a bit biased, who who knows, maybe Im missing out on some other fantastic pencil out there, but I just cant imagine making a conscious decision to write with any pencil besides this one.