Zebra has been making inroads in the mechanical pencil market over the past couple of years, and the DelGuard model has been the primary vessel.
The DelGuard features an internal mechanism to prevent lead breakage for both vertical and sideways pressure. It works amazingly well in every model we have reviewed on the blog. Never once have I had a lead breakage or writing consistency issue.
Since Zebra has seemingly nailed this technology, they have ramped up the styles and models available in the DelGuard. There are different price points, different materials, and yes, even Hello Kitty. Getting that Sanrio deal is when you know you have made it in the stationery market.
The model I’m reviewing today is the Type-Lx, which is currently the highest priced model at $13.50. It’s the only DelGuard model to feature a metal grip section, which is where much of the price increase lies. It also features a rotating grip section which none of the other models have…and I wish this one didn’t have it either.
I was ready to compare this pencil - at least in barrel style and price point - to the Uni-ball Kuru Toga High Grade and the Uni-ball Shift Pipe Lock. Both are metal section/plastic barrel mechanical pencils in the same price range, each with a different feature set than the DelGuard. But this rotating section threw me for a loop.
Why it is there I can’t fully say. It’s not listed in the product description, and I didn’t even notice it until I slid my fingers down to where the nose cone connects with the section. Have you even been using a pen and feel like the nose cone has started to come unthreaded from the barrel? That’s what I assumed I was feeling. No big deal, I’ll just tighten it back up. What, what? The whole thing rotates 360 degrees?
I don’t like it, and it is unnecessary. I can’t figure out why it was designed this way technically either. If it was an auto-tip rotation pencil like the Kuru Toga I’d understand, but this is a lead protection pencil. Maybe pressure gets displaced slightly as you write, lessening the chance of breakage? If that is the case, the the Type-Lx has better design than all of the other DelGuards, which doesn’t make logical sense.
Traditionally, one rotates the pencil in hand while writing as the lead wears down. Having the section rotate eliminates that on occasion, like if the clip of the pencil is resting in the cusp of your hand in the direction you are rotating. You will attempt to spin the pencil but the clip works against the section rotation, and it gets you nowhere.
Yes, I obsess over these somewhat minor things because there are better choices for you to make. I can’t think of a situation offhand where I would recommend this pencil over any of the lower priced DelGuards.
DelGuard technology is fantastic and the build quality of these pencils is excellent. Just don’t feel like you are getting an upgraded experience buying the upgraded barrel. In fact, it could be a downgrade for you like it was for me.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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