Ain Stein Lead is Pentel’s foray into hi-grade mechanical pencil lead. Most of the big mechanical pencil companies have this type of offering, with a basic lead for mass consumption, followed by a more feature-rich, pricier, lead.
This level of lead is where the marketing takes off. Each company has their own formula as to why their lead is bigger, better, faster, and stronger, and the Pentel Ain Stein is no different. To wit: STEIN stands for "Strongest Technology by Enhanced SiO2 Integrated Network.”
Me too Barack. Me too.
That said, the marketing is easy to ignore if the product is good. And this case it is. I might even say it is great for my own personal use.
As fond as I am of 0.3 mm gel ink pens, that love generally does not translate to mechanical pencils. Leads in that size are either generally fragile, or so firm (to combat the fragility) that they are too light on the page. The Ain Stein 0.3 mm H solves both of those problems for me.
I could tell this lead was going to be good as soon as I loaded it into my Alvin Draft/Matic 0.3 mm Mab Graves special edition. For starters, I didn’t snap the stick when pulling it from the lead holder and sliding it into the back of the pencil. That’s a huge win for leads this tiny! Secondly, it was darker and firmer that I thought it would be when I started writing with it.
That is exactly what I want when writing with an 0.3 mm pencil. This size has made me gun-shy in the past, thinking I would snap it on contact, but not the Ain Stein 0.3 mm H.
What sealed the deal for me with this lead was doing something I never, ever do: Write notes in a moving car. And no, I wasn’t driving! My family and I took a quick road trip this weekend, and with my wife behind the wheel, I took the opportunity to lay out the upcoming week in my planner and chose this pencil and lead setup to do so.
You would think the bouncing and shaking of the car hurtling down the highway would break the lead every time the tip hit the page. It didn’t. Not even once. This was far from a controlled environment, as my shaky handwriting can attest to, and the 0.3 mm H lead handled it perfectly. I’m surprised I even tried it, and even more surprised it worked so flawlessly.
If I’m not sold after that performance then I don’t know what else I’m looking for in a stick of graphite. The Pentel Ain Stein 0.3 mm H will be my 0.3 mm mechanical pencil lead of choice.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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