Many years ago, I owned a PaperMate SharpWriter and I loved it. I loved how I had to twist the end to advance the lead and I loved that I didn't have to sharpen it as I did my wooden pencils (I was quite young at this time, and I don't think I knew about regular mechanical pencils yet). Most of all, I loved how the SharpWriter was different from any other pencil or pen that I owned. However, the SharpWriter was also non-refillable, and I remember feeling very sad when the lead inevitably ran out. I had nearly forgotten my early love of the PaperMate SharpWriter until I found these pencils at a thrift store - and then was surprised to learn that you can still buy new SharpWriters.
Most of the examples of the PaperMate SharpWriter I've seen are a solid yellow-orange colour that mimics the look of a wooden pencil. The tip is even a light tan to look like wood, and the eraser is pink. I like my pink translucent version of the pencil (I like that it's translucent, not that's pink; pink is my least favourite colour) as it allows me to see the inner workings, which are different from that of most mechanical pencils.
Inside the SharpWriter, a spiral wire runs the length of the pencil. The lead is inside this wire. As you turn the tip, a black plastic piece (attached to the end of the lead) slowly moves up the wire, pushing the lead out the tip of the pencil. If you turn the tip the opposite direction, you can retract the lead back into the pencil.
Apart from this, the SharpWriter is a very basic mechanical pencil. It has no grip and a rather pathetic clip (the clip on my yellow pencil is already broken). The lead feels smooth and slightly soft to write with. The eraser is decent. It would likely not last long, but neither will the lead.
Overall, I think that the SharpWriter is a fun pencil to use and I am happy to have re-discovered it, but it is not a pencil I would consider using regularly today because it is non-refillable. I try to look for environmentally-friendly products when possible, and a plastic pen that is meant to be thrown away is simply not a good option for me. While some have found ways to refill it, most users are not going to bother. Perhaps this is a pencil that should have stayed as simply a memory.
Other review: Art Supply Critic.