I have had my Penxo 2.0mm Leadholder in green since sometime in October when the Kickstarter orders shipped but I’ve been sitting on it. The color is beautiful and the pencil itself is beautiful – even the packaging was lovely – but I was a little disappointed. The pencil shipped with free lead which was complete crap and that probably tainted my experience. The lead pointer that shipped was also not worthy of such a fine looking tool either.
So, my first order of business was to upgrade the accessories. I ordered a Uni pocket lead pointer ($10) which is the tiniest, most portable lead pointer I’ve ever seen and it makes the most wickedly stiletto point. Then I ordered a packet of Koh-i-noor 2.0mm colored leads ($7.90) and another of Uni Field 2.0mm red leads ($4.95).
Now, the Penxo is loaded with Uni Field red lead with a wicked sharp point and looks a bit like a martini. Much better.
Once I was using the Uni Field red lead which was a soft waxy lead that absolutely glided on the paper, I could focus on the actual experience of using the Penxo rather than my initial reaction to the pencil when it arrived which was all about the crappy graphite. The Uni Field lead did dull very quickly which allowed me to test the Uni Pocket Lead Pointer at regular intervals and it is smooth and efficient. It also meant I had to finagle the mechanics of the Penxo for extracting the lead far enough to insert it into the lead pointer and then pull the metal apart again to re-insert the lead back into the housing without stabbing myself, catching the lead in the pencil framework or breaking the lead. This is not as seamless as it should be which is sad.
As I continued to play with the various lead colors from the Koh-i-noor set, I was given more opportunity to practice threading lead into the Penxo housing, sharpening and aligning the lead. I found it awkward to try to pry the pencil apart to slide the lead down. I confess, the clutch mechanism in standard leadholders are easier to control with a greater degree of accuracy. They aren’t as aesthetically appealing but I feel more confident that I’m not going to impale myself with the lead either.
In the end, I found the Koh-i-noor leads to be more scratchy and graphite-like overall but I liked the bright yellow color a lot and all the colored leads looked good with the green Penxo body.
The Penxo really is a beautiful design but its not as functional as I’d like it to be and it saddens me since this is probably most people’s first (and probably last) experience with a lead holder. Generally artists, architects and draftsmen gravitate towards lead holders and they are looking for a level of control with the point length and the lead hardness and the Penxo just makes that really challenging.
I’m not giving up on the Penxo but I think it will be more of a conversation piece than a daily writer. The Uni Field leads and Pocket Lead Pointer however are new staples!
DISCLAIMER: The Uni Field Leads and Uni Pocket Lead Pointer were sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. All other items in this review wee purchased. Please see the About page for more details.