The Mitsubishi Hi-Uni HB is on of those pencils I’ve always wanted to try. I found this one at Maido in San Fransisco. Hi-Uni pencils can be purchased individually on Jet Pens for $2.35 each.
The lead has no friction on the paper. I definitely see the appeal of this pencil. It feels fabulous in the hand and lays down a smooth line. The HB lead smudges only slightly and it erased completely with the Staedtler Mars plastic eraser.
The red-brown lacquer on the pencil feels silky in the hand. The branding is stamped in a crisp, gold foil including the grade on the black lacquer-dipped end. The branding includes the tag “Established 1887” as well. There is a gold foil ring around end of the pencil just before the end. The Hi-Uni line does not have an eraser tip, just the lovely black lacquer end.
On the very end of the pencil is a bright yellow dot. I did not look closely when I purchased the pencil to see if each grade had a different colored dot or if they were all the same but its an interesting design detail.
There is a white bar code stamped on the reverse side of the pencil from the branding, near the point. I’m not sure if this is just on the pencils for individual sale or if it would appear on pencils purchased by the box. It’s the only eyesore on an otherwise beautiful pencil.
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I totally see why they put those barcodes on the pencils, even the packaged ones (often, so retailers can break up packs and sell them individually), but I agree. it just disrupts the aesthetics of the pencil. Even the new Palominos have that barcode.
This is definitely an excellent pencil, although its price would seem to make it intended for gourmet use only. (It’s more expensive than the Blackwing, for example.) The B and 2B versions write even better if you like dark text. The barcode is stamped on all of the pencils in my 12-pack of the 2B version. For the recorded, Mitsubishi once offered a line of general writing pencils (the 9800 series) that performs nearly as well at half the price. My view is that you pay a lot for appearance with the Hi-Uni, but if that’s important to you, why not?
My boxed ones have the barcode, too. It does rub off a little. The barcode on the new Palominos is pretty big, and it’s right in the middle of the pencil. At least they’re not those stickers whose glue never really comes off and gums up the sharpener. 🙂