Monday, November 23, 2009

Uni-ball Alpha Gel Pencil Slim

After much time away, I am finally back! It's been a while since I've visited this blog, but I hope to slowly get some long-overdue reviews back up so please be patient with me.

The first of a long list is my lovely Uni A-Gel Slim...


Overview: FYI, this pencil writes with 0.3 mm lead, not the usual 0.5 mm. This means that the lines will be both thinner and not as dark. I originally purchased this pencil to do my Chinese homework with, which makes sense because Chinese characters are fairly complex to write, therefore thinner pencils help a lot. For regular writing, the lead might write a bit too light for general writing. However, I do have a friend who prefers 0.3 mm lead even for general note-taking so I wouldn't disregard it right away. I will have some photos up next month for people to compare 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm lead.

If you are looking for a 0.3 mm pencil, this one's worth a try, although it may not be the best out there. It's comfortable to write with, thanks to the squishy gel grip, stylish, and is available in many colors through JetPens. However, it may not be worth the $12 price tag. Although the body looks metal from the photos on Jetpens, it's actually plastic with metal parts. As long as you're not throwing your writing utensils all over the place though, durability shouldn't be a problem. Design-wise, the body is a very attractive silver, but my favorite parts are the glossy plastic pink parts because they're just so pretty.

- lightweight
- stylish
- many different color options available
- comfortable to write with (very squishy grip!)

- a bit overpriced in my opinion (only $3 less than my Jetstream multi-pen, which feels much heftier and has 4 pen colors + pencil)
- plastic body feels a bit cheap
- grip attracts dust easily

Overall: A pretty, comfortable, and lightweight pencil. If you have never used a 0.3 mm lead before, you might want to try a cheaper pencil that uses this size lead first before buying this one. For instance, the Kuru Toga comes in a 0.3 version and is little more than half the price of this pencil (I'm actually a bit curious about trying it myself!). Some drafting pencils also take 0.3 mm, and might have more weight for those who prefer some heft (the same friend I mentioned above loves her Pentel Graphgear 1000, which is $15 on JetPens). I am providing these other suggestions in this review because when I pick up this pencil, I would imagine it as cheaper than $12. That being said, I am satisfied with mine.

Rating: 8/10 cookies

I read in a review on the JetPens page for this product that the 0.3 mm lead can be hard to find. I actually bought a whole bunch at my local Utrecht art supply store. They were even on sale at the time so I only paid 75 cents per pack! So if you want to try 0.3 mm lead, check Utrecht or anywhere that sells supplies for architecture students, because you will definitely find a plentiful variety of lead there.

Signing out,

- Emily

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