When mechanical pencil leads get under 0.5 mm the chance of breaking the lead when writing increases greatly. I think 0.5 mm is the sweet spot, but I will use an 0.3 mm pencil from time to time, knowing that it might cause frustration. 0.2 mm seems like a pipe dream, but the Pentel Orenz introduces a new feature to help prevent breakage that actually works.
With the Orenz, Pentel has created a lead guide pipe that fully protects the lead and has a rounded edge so you can write without the tip scratching or catching on the paper. This sounds like it wouldn't work, but I am here to say it works exactly as advertised.
Like the Uni-ball Kuru Toga before it, I didn't have high hopes for the Orenz. The Kuru Toga introduced legitimate technology that changed the way we write with pencils, and while I won't go that far with the Orenz, it absolutely fixes the lead breakage problem that keeps 0.2 mm from regular use.
In my time with the pencil I never once broke the lead. Not a single time. I was worried more about the smoothness than breakage to be honest, and that turned out to be a non-issue as well. No matter how low of an angle I wrote at the 0.2 mm lead just kept on writing.
Aside from the unique lead protection mechanism, the guide pipe is fully retractable, another feature in the plus column. The plastic barrel is lightweight and features the stock small Pentel eraser, both of which are similar to Pentel's famous Sharp drafting pencil line.
The Pentel Orenz is a good pencil, and may be a game changer for those who need 0.2 mm lead. You can pick one up at JetPens for $8.50.
(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)