Monday, May 5, 2014

Pencil Review: PaperMate Mirado Black Warrior HB

The Mirado Black Warrior is a pencil that's been around a while, and has a good following of users.  It's now made by PaperMate, which is indicated by PaperMate's logo of the two hearts on the body of the pencil.  I'm new to this pencil and know little about its history, but - as always - I'm happy to try out another wooden pencil.

The PaperMate Mirado Black Warrior stands out from the common yellow pencils with its black body and shiny gold lettering.  I think that this different appearance would lead the average person to expect the Black Warrior to be better-than-average pencil.  I do like how the Black Warrior looks; to me the black and gold colour scheme give it a sleek, somewhat professional look (but in a nerdy kind of way).  Taking a closer look, however, the stamped lettering is of inconsistent quality (sometimes cutting deeply into the wood, sometimes not) and a bit of black paint has crept onto the ferrule.  (My camera doesn't have a macro lens so I can't show you this in the photos!)  While these kinds of details don't bother me much since you have to look closely to even see them and they don't affect how the pencil writes, they still concern me because they make me wonder where else flaws might have crept in.

The Black Warrior is a round pencil, which some people seem to like because they feel that it's more comfortable to hold.  I think that I prefer hexagonal pencils, but round is okay too, although round pencils can be more prone to rolling off your desk or other surfaces.  My favourite part about the Black Warrior is that it is made of cedar wood, which gives it that lovely cedar smell when you sharpen it.

I like, but don't love, how the Black Warrior feels for writing.  It seems to hold its point well, and I like the sound it makes on the paper, which is something I have always associated with wooden pencils in general.  I think I would have liked it better if the lead had been a bit darker, but it's certainly acceptable and easily readable as it is.  And while this is a writing pencil more than a sketching or drawing pencil, I couldn't resist including a small sketch with this review anyway.

Overall, I like how the PaperMate Black Warrior looks and I mostly like how it writes, but nothing about it stands out as particularly amazing to me.  In the other reviews I read, some users loved this pencil, while others were disappointed by apparent issues with quality control (such as pencils being warped).  While the Black Warrior is a decent pencil (as long as you can avoid issues like that), I think that if you want to start exploring "better-than-average" pencils, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

Related reviews: Pencil Revolution, Pencil Grinder, pencil talk, OfficeSupplyGeek, SCOJJAC.

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