Posts filed under Uni

Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil Review

Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

It's been a while since we gave the Kuru Toga some love around here, but that's going to change with the Roulette. This pencil has been around for quite some time, but it can be easy to overlook given the sheer number of mechanical pencil options that exist today. What sets the Roulette apart from the regular Kuru Toga, you ask? Knurling.

As opposed to the all-plastic construction of the regular Kuru Toga, the Roulette has a metal section with knurled grip. It's a nice feature, and definitely improves the writing experience of the pencil. At just a few bucks more than the regular Kuru Toga, it's a great upgrade. The knurled grip adds a lot of stability when holding the pencil, and the cool metal feels better in the hand compared to the plastic grip of the regular Kuru Toga.

Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil

Underneath the metal exterior is the namesake of this pencil — the lead rotation mechanism that made the Kuru Toga famous. As you write, the lead rotates a millimeter every time you lift the lead off the paper. This ingenious design means you are always writing with perfectly rounded lead instead of ending up with sharp angled edges. With most pencils, you're probably used to rotating the pencil a bit once one side of the lead gets too dull. That creates a sharp contrast to the small edge that the fresh lead creates. With the Kuru Toga mechanism, you can enjoy a consistent line width since it's constantly rotating as you write.

This feature isn't a gimmick, either. It works flawlessly. The only case in which this lead rotation action doesn't work well is if you're making long, continuous strokes with the pencil instead of writing. It's not a good drafting pencil, but it's great for writing notes, doing math homework, and keeping handy around the house.

Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil Barrel

Even though the knurled metal grip adds a touch of class to this pencil, there were some compromises made in order to keep the price low. Aside from the grip, the rest of the pencil is made of plastic and painted to mimic metal. They actually did a great job with this effect, as it can be difficult to pick out the plastic bits, but it's really obvious once you pick it up and start handling it. Even though this is a compromise, they've executed it very well, and it also keeps the cost down so the pencil is very accessible.

The clip on the pencil is removable and is very strong. Once you clip this pencil to something, it's not going to come loose on accident. As with most mechanical pencils, there's also a tiny eraser under the click cap, which is also where you can add more lead.

Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil Mechanism

Speaking of lead, this pencil is only available in the 0.5mm variety, which is a bit disappointing. I'd love to see some 0.3mm and 0.7mm options as well. You can find those sizes in the regular model of Kuru Toga, so I'm a bit perplexed by the omission in this premium line. Aside from the silver featured here, you can also pick up a gun metallic variant.

As an added bonus, the grip section features a small round window that shows the internal lead rotation mechanism as it rotates round and round. If you hold the pencil just right, you can see the rotation as you write.

Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil Comparison

I've always been a big fan of the Kuru Toga because of how well it works. What sounds like a gimmick is actually a great feature that Uni executed perfectly. The addition of the metal knurled grip is fantastic, drawing comparisons to much more expensive pencils and improving the grip dramatically. At just under $12, these pencils are affordable and provide an excellent value. Definitely worth having one in your arsenal!

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil Writing
Posted on June 19, 2019 and filed under Uni, Kuru Toga, Mechanical Pencil, Pencil Reviews.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead 0.5 mm HB Review

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead 0.5 mm HB Review

I think we are on to something here.

Towards the beginning of this project, I reviewed the 0.7 mm H-grade version of the Uni NanoDia lead. It was good, and I saw why it was popular. It just wasn’t for me specifically. Little did I know that a lead one size and one hardness away from that one might be the one I have been looking for all along.

The Uni NanoDia 0.5 mm HB lead is my favorite lead I have tested so far. Many of you are yelling at me right now saying “We told you so!” But, I’m stubborn. I had to find out for myself. I actively avoided choosing to review it too, knowing that it is one of the more popular leads on the market. It only came up this time because I chose to make a blind choice for this review, reaching into my pouch of 15-plus packs left to review and sticking with whatever came out.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead 0.5 mm HB

I’m glad this one did. Being 0.5 mm and HB makes this one of the most standard leads on the market. The middle ground, stock lead, if you will - but with added diamond particles for durability! From the moment I loaded it into my Pentel P205 I knew it was going to be good. The darkness was right, and most importantly, the feel was right.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead 0.5 mm

I’ve said in nearly every mechanical pencil lead review I have done that I want the graphite to feel like graphite, not plastic. There has to be feedback and texture. I understand that additives are required due to the fragility of the individual sticks of lead, but they can’t feel fake. This one delivers on that feeling of authenticity.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead

This is the first lead I have wanted to keep loaded in the pencil after I was done with the review. That surprises me because I thought for sure I would land on the harder end of the graphite scale. And maybe I will as I continue to go through these tests. But until then, the Uni NanoDia 0.5 mm HB is the best lead I have come across.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead Review
Posted on May 14, 2019 and filed under Uni, NanoDia, Mechanical Pencil Lead, Pencil Reviews.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead H 0.7 mm Review

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead H 0.7 mm Review

And you thought pen names were long?

Mechanical pencil leads get after it too, like this Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead. I’m surprised they didn’t spell out Dia-mond in the name, because that is the selling point: Nano-diamond pieces that strengthen the lead. Hashtag Marketing!

Before we get to that, I wanted to spend a minute on a graphite I eliminated from testing without a full review. I found the Rotring Tikky Hi-Polymer HB 0.5 mm lead not good. One of the “features” of most mechanical pencil lead is that they are mixed with plastic (polymer) because pure graphite would be too brittle to function in the tiny diameters needed for mechanical pencils. As it turns out, hi-polymer leads may not be for me.

I want my mechanical pencil leads to have a bit of feedback. They don’t have to feel like a traditional wooden pencil, but I don’t want them to feel alien either. The Tikky Hi-Polymer felt fake to me, and I didn’t enjoy it from the moment I loaded it up. On top of that, it is one of the most expensive per piece leads on the market. Those things in combination make it a hard pass for me.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead H 0.7 mm

The Uni NanoDia H 0.7 mm, on the other hand, is good. It’s not great, which we will get to in a minute, but it is good.

For testing, I loaded it up in the Uni Shift Pipe Lock 0.7 mm Drafting Pencil, and got to writing. First off, there was some feedback in the line. Not a lot mind you, but after the plastic feeling of the Tikky, this one felt more normal. It was durable too, without feeling like a rock. Maybe nano diamonds are for real! The tip held its point consistently, and for long writing sessions. I didn’t extend the lead once on the handwritten page for this review, and no one side of the lead became overly sharp or angled in the process. My normal hand rotation when writing kept it even.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead

But I didn’t love it. Part of this test is to figure out what I am looking for in a mechanical pencil lead, and smoothness at the cost of natural feel is not it. Also, 0.7 mm is a tough size for me. Like with fountain pen nibs, I enjoy the opposite ends of the tip size spectrum - EF and 1.1 mm stub for example - not the center. 0.7 mm is the medium nib of the mechanical pencil world.

I think the Uni NanoDia lead is perfect for students who are writing page after page with their mechanical pencils. It will thrive in that environment, and I think that is the reason why it is so popular. I need something more from my leads, and this project is helping me sort out what exactly it is that I am looking for.

I have a huge batch of testing to complete, but if you have found your perfect mechanical pencil lead please let me know in the comments so I can check it out.


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Uni NanoDia Review
Posted on January 28, 2019 and filed under Uni, NanoDia, Mechanical Pencil Lead, Pencil Reviews.