Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pentel Fiesta 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil

I'm not a big pencil user, but I do like to have a couple of basic mechanical pencils lying down for writing rough drafts and lists, solving sudoku puzzles, and making quick sketches.  A pencil is also a necessary item for writing in my Rite in the Rain field notebook.  As chance would have it, I was on a field trip late last fall with said notebook when I misplaced one of my mechanical pencils.  I must have dropped it, but the ground was covering with twigs and decaying wood, most of which were the same drab colour as my pencil, the light was fading, and my pencil was nowhere to be seen.  Luckily, not long before that unfortunate episode, I had received a Pentel School Essentials pack from a giveaway at Tiger Pens, which included this mechanical pencil:

The Pentel Fiesta.
Although I was glad to have received this pencil when I lost my old one, the Pentel Fiesta is a thoroughly basic mechanical pencil.  As is typical in the basic pencil, the lead is advanced by depressing the end of the pencil.  One small touch that I like is that the tip of the pencil is clear, which allows users to see the lead-advancing mechanism (surely there's a better name for it than "lead-advancing mechanism"?) in action.

Okay, it's not that exciting.
One thing that I find slightly odd is that the body of the Pentel Fiesta is made of a translucent plastic, while the end of the pencil and the clip are made of an opaque plastic.  It's not exactly a major complaint, it just seems like an odd choice, and the gap between the two sections also looks rather off.  The cap over the eraser also irritates me: it does not match the rest of the pencil at all and looks almost like an afterthought.  The eraser itself is of acceptable, though average, quality, erasing cleanly but leaving a slight shadow behind.

Erasing in action!
 Branding is minimal on the Pentel Fiesta.  The name (Pentel Fiesta 0.5) is printed on a sticker on the clip section of the pencil.  I left the sticker in place for the purpose of this review, but it is starting to peel around the edges, so I will probably end up removing it, which means that the only branding will be a tiny embossed "Pentel" near the base of the translucent section.

Peeling sticker.  It is, I think, meant to be removed.
The most notable feature of this pencil was the lead that it was pre-loaded with.  I have since used up the original lead and replaced it with my usual lead of choice, Pentel Hi-Polymer HB.  The original lead was strong, and seemed darker and softer than the Hi-Polymer, and it certainly was a pleasant switch from the pale, brittle leads that I am used to seeing pre-loaded in these basic mechanical pencils.  (I have not included a writing sample with this review since the pencil no longer contains the original lead and, of course, you can load it with whatever lead you desire.)

Overall, the Pentel Fiesta is a thoroughly average and functional, but also unremarkable, mechanical pencil.  Although it had a few details I appreciated, there was nothing that really made it stand out from the crowd.  It's not a bad choice if you're looking for a basic pencil, but I wouldn't bother to actively seek it out.

Related review: Dave's Mechanical Pencils.

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