The first time I touched the page with the Pilot Neox 2H I thought “Wow, I can write firm and fast with this lead.” Then I realized “Oh yeah, it’s a 2H lead, dummy!” Decades of stock HB mechanical pencil lead usage will poison your brain apparently.
Out of approximately two dozen packs of lead sitting on my desk right now, I chose a 2H first. Why? With wooden pencils, I enjoy the H side of the scale more than the B side. They are very firm, which results in two things: Great point retention and light color. Those may or may not be positives in your book. Finding the perfect combination of all of these things is the eternal search.
The Neox is marketed very specifically by Pilot. The short description on JetPens says it all:
“Enjoy a luxuriously smooth, clean writing experience with these Pilot Neox leads. They are made from high-quality graphite with very few impurities, allowing the carbon atoms to be more strongly bonded than in conventional leads. This results in strong leads that produce clean, sharp lines. It also lets the natural lubricating properties of graphite crystal shine, resulting in leads that glide effortlessly across the page."
This lead is as strong as any I have used in an 0.5 mm mechanical pencil. Even with my heavy hand, breaking it isn’t even a consideration. The strength of the lead plays into point retention too. I began the review below with two clicks of my Alvin Draft-Matic and wrote the entire page without clicking to advance the lead again. Impressive.
One of the sacrifices you have to make when using H-grade lead is that it will be light on the page. Hardness and lightness go hand in hand: The harder the lead, the lighter the line. For everyday writing, 2H is about as firm as I want to go, with this Neox 2H laying down a darker than expected line. I didn’t love it as much on graph paper as I did on lined paper where there is no background distraction, but overall it was plenty dark for me.
If there is a knock on this lead it's that “luxuriously smooth” is too smooth. Smoothness in graphite is nice - no one wants scratchy lead - but it can go too far. Once it starts to feel plastic-y when writing it is too smooth for me. It is especially noticeable on the hard side of the scale. I want a touch of feedback, not carbon atoms so strongly bonded that they need to add more fiber to their diet.
Overall, I’m happy with the Pilot Neox 2H lead. It’s not knock-your-socks-off great, but it is very good. How it stacks up with the rest of my stash is to be determined. These lead reviews are a learning experiment for me, and the more I test the more I will be able to compare them to each other. I can’t wait to narrow this batch down to a few favorites that I can recommend. Stay tuned!
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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