As long as there have been office supplies, there have been pencils, and as long as there have been pencils, there have been people like myself who could not stand writing with them because of how quickly the points of them became dull. Leave it to Uni-ball to come up with a solution to this problem though, they have now brought their innovative Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil to the US. You might also notice in the picture above, that there are eight of the Kuru Toga shown, and curiously enough, the title for this post also mentions that there is not only a review of this fine mechanical pencil, but also a BIG giveaway…so to quickly answer what many of you might be thinking, yes…there will be a contest to win the Kuru Toga, and yes, there will be eight winners of this item that I consider to be the best pencil ever, so just read through to the end of this review to see why this pencil is so amazing, and how you can win one. There are also some questions you might have about the pencil and the technology that @Uniball_Pen_Gal was able to answer for us, so look for those towards the end of the review. If you are really impatient, then you can just go ahead and click on the Amazon.com link above and buy one…but for now, why not continue reading the review and find out why you NEED one of these pencils.
At first glance, this mechanical pencil looks pretty average, and nothing in particular really stands out other than a nice crisp and clean design. It has a nice sleek black body, a capped eraser, and a sturdy clip. When you take a closer look, you might notice that the grip section of this pencil is clear, and it seems to be showing off something under there. What you will find under the clear plastic section is the Uni-ball Kuru Toga Engine (KuruToga is Japanese for “Twist and Turn”) which twists and turns the pencil lead to provide an always sharp and evenly worn pencil lead point which results in the most consistent and finest line I’ve ever experienced when writing with a pencil.
The above picture was supplied to me by the fine folks at Uni-ball (as well as the giveaway pencils) and it does a great job of showing the intricate machinery inside this pencil, and how it works. The best part of this picture is the close up of the ordinary pencil lead after writing with it compared to the Kuru Toga lead after writing with it. The only better way to really show the impact of this great technology is by showing a writing sample which I am always fond of doing. For this writing sample though, I decided I wanted more than just some text on a sheet of paper, so I decided to do a comparison with a crossword puzzle since I know many folks use pencils for this activity…not really office supply related, unless you are Stanley from The Officebut I feel as though this is a really good way to show the benefits of the worlds best mechanical pencil. 🙂
The above crossword puzzle from BestCrosswords.comwas filled out with an ordinary mechanical pencil. For purposes of this writing sample and test, Ill admit…I had the answers so technically I cheated. 🙂 I filled out the crossword going across from left to right, moving down the puzzle, basically the same pattern you would normally read and write in. I just felt that this gave the best visual of how the ordinary mechanical pencil point dulls as you write. In my opinion, the deterioration of the ordinary mechanical pencil becomes evident at about 15 across, which is very early on in the puzzle. The line starts to get a bit thicker, and you can really feel the drag of the pencil on the paper. Enough of that I thought…but I suffered through and finished the puzzle, and you can see that by the time you get to the last row, the fine point from this ordinary mechanical pencil was long gone. So lets move on…
This photo shows what happens when you do the same crossword puzzle with the Uni-ball Kuru Toga. From 1 across to 69 across you get a crisp clean, and most importantly a very fine line with the Kuru Toga. It is amazing to see that as you write with this pencil it is actually keeping up with you and giving the lead a slight twist to keep the dull point of the lead constantly turning away so you dont have to continually write with it and get a fat dull line. Basically the pencil takes over the work that most mechanical pencil users need to do on their own by continuing to reposition the pencil between their fingers to keep the sharp point of the lead in place as the point you are writing with.
I think this last sample from the crossword puzzle shows the best contrast between the Uniball Kuru Toga and an ordinary mechanical pencil. Each letter above in the upper half of the image is significantly thinner and more crisp when written with the Kuru Toga pencil as compared to the ordinary pencil. I think that the Kuru Toga Engine probably turned the lead a bit once I finished writing the letter “E” above. I typically write the letter “E” by starting off with an “L” and then making the short middle dash and finally the top line of the letter, so upon close examination of the picture above, I think the pencil turned the lead right after I made the top line of the “E” and the beginning of the “S” reflects the new sharp point of the lead hitting the paper. The only thing that the bottom picture shows is why I have always hated using a pencil…until of course I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Kuru Toga. Now that you can see the results of the Kuru Toga mechanical pencil as compared to an ordinary mechanical pencil, you can see why I’ve completely changed my tune when it comes to writing with a pencil. The Kuru Toga changed writing with a pencil from a chore, to a pleasant experience that I now look forward to. As I said before, this pencil is currently available here on Amazon.com and it comes with two extra erasers, and Uni-ball’s .5mm Diamond Infused lead that resits breakage. With all of the technology and uniqueness of this pen, its easy to forget about the standard things I usually look at when reviewing a pen, or pencil. I can say that this pencil is very comfortable to write with, and the grip section is pretty comfortable although I usually prefer a grip that is rubber coated as compared to just straight plastic, however there are some ridges on this grip that help to keep the pen from slipping. It also has a thin rubber coated ring towards the bottom section of the grip, which is a tiny bit low for my taste, but it certainly is not a deal breaker on such a great pencil, and one that I would consider the best mechanical pencil you can buy. Head on over here to see the rest of our pencil reviews if you aren’t convinced this is the right one for you though.
-Will the Kuru Toga come in sizes other than a .5mm? Currently the 0.5mm will be the only size offered due to the complexity of the engine inside the KuruToga that allows the lead to rotate while writing. The gear inside the engine becomes larger as the diameter of the lead increases causing the need for more force to rotate the lead. Ultimately this results in a less enjoyable writing experience for the consumer. Uni-ball is currently working a solution to this issue – stay tuned, a point 0.7mm is in the works.
-Will the Kuru Toga be available in colors other than black? For now only the black barrel color will be available however; that does not rule out launching more colors in the future if the need is there.
-Will the technology be deployed to other lines of pencils, such as a more high end version that is made of some type of metal or alloy? This is the first mechanical pencil that has launched under the Uni-Ball brand name and we have every intention to launch more in the future. Uni-ball continues to innovate the writing instrument category, developing new technologies to solve consumer frustrations. I am not currently aware of a high-end version of the Kuru Toga becoming available.
-Besides Amazon.com, where else can I get the Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil? It will be made available at @OfficeDepot the week of 6/15.
Now…for the contest. Ill keep it simple, post a comment on this thread, and you are entered for the contest, only one entry per person. You have one week to leave a comment on this thread, so that means you have until Mon. May 18th at 11:59 PM Eastern. On Tue. May 19th I will post the winners selected by Random.org, the post listing the winners will also give you instructions for claiming your prize. There will be no reminders to check back here or to claim your prize because these pencils are so fantastic, I want to ensure that they will go to folks who really want them. GOOD LUCK! One last thing, I know that not everyone who reads my blog is a Twitter user, but if you are, you should make sure to follow @Uniball_Pen_Gal on there since she is the one who was good enough to make this fantastic giveaway possible for all of you office supply geeks (and me) out there.