Monday, December 2, 2013

Zebra #2 Mechanical Pencil

The first time I saw one of these Zebra #2 mechanical pencils, I thought it was a wooden pencil.  Then I looked closer.  Wait a minute...

These pencils are fun.  They're short plastic mechanical pencils finished off with a metal ferrule and an eraser.  And they look a lot like wooden pencils.


The standard Zebra #2's come in orange (the traditional yellow-orange of wooden pencils) and black.  Both are very convincing imitations of wooden pencils.  You can also find them in different "Cadoozles" patterns; these are obviously targeted towards children, but of course that's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy them as well.

See, I told you these were fun pencils!

The hexagonal shape makes the Zebra #2 comfortable to hold, although it may be a bit small and light for some users.  The small size, however, also makes these pencils very portable.  I keep one by my chair in the living room for doing crossword and sudoku puzzles, and it works very well for that.  It's also a cheap enough pencil that I don't have to worry too much about a cat losing it behind the couch.

The orange pencil has a mauve-pink eraser, the black one a white.  The eraser works reasonably well, and is larger than many mechanical pencil erasers.  It also serves as a cap that you can pull off to insert spare leads directly into the pencil:


One problem I have with the Zebra #2 is that it's only available in 0.7mm.  I prefer 0.5mm for mechanical pencils, so it would be nice to see it available in that option, but that's just me, and I actually have been quite happy with how the wider lead writes.

The biggest problem I have with these is that the finish is not that great.  Many of my pencils show noticeable white marks where the paint has rubbed off.  To me, the problem seems slightly worse with the Cadoozles patterns, but maybe the traditional orange and blacks just haven't been used as much.


Despite that issue, the Zebra #2 is a great little mechanical pencil.  It may not have any fancy features, but it makes up for that by being both cute and clever.  It's always a pencil that I enjoy using, just because it makes me smile.  Recommended if you need a cheap and portable mechanical pencil to toss in your bag, or if you like the look of wooden pencils but don't like writing with them.  Or if you just want to add a bit more fun to your writing experience.

Related review: Unposted.

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