I have "been into" mechanical pencils for as long as I can remember. Having a pencil with a perfect point that is always ready to go makes them very appealing (I think part of the reason I took to technical drawing for 2 years in high school was because of the lead holders).
While I am usually a .5mm guy for general use, I definitely like to mix it up. Depending on my mood I'll pull out a .9 or even a 2mm, or the monstrous 3.2mm Kaweco. Like I said though, the .5mm is my comfort zone. Or at least it was.
When it comes to consistency, there is no better name in the mechanical pencil game than Pentel. From the classic Sharp, to refined Kerrys, to the pricey yet so worth it Graphgear series, their mechanical pencil game is on lock.
Browsing Jetpens recently I saw a new listing for the Pentel Orenz in .2mm and .3mm. After hemming and hawing ("You don't need another mechanical pencil. "YES I DO! BUY! BUY!") I ordered the .2mm version. I'm so happy I did.
The Orenz ia general use pencil. At 141.76mm long, it's definitely shorter than the GraphGear, and is pretty much the same length as the Kuru-Toga (in my opinion it's main competition). Being a .2mm I was cautiously excited. It has a unique lead protection system in that the retractable lead pipe is rounded on its edge instead of pointy. What this does is it allows the lead to stay in the pipe while in use, eliminating breakage, which I would otherwise guarantee on such a thin lead. The pipe itself retracts with use, providing a visual indicator since you do not see the lead in use at all (or at least very very little). The system works very well, though at first you think you are going to tear a hole scraping the pipe into your paper. Instead, you get a very smooth writing experience.
When using this pencil, you won't even see that much exposed lead. I only pushed out that much (1 push worth) to show how tiny .2mm is.
Other characteristics of the Orenz is it is a super bright orange color (on my model, you can also get it in black, blue, pink, and white), which makes it easy to spot on your desk, or across the room. It has a stiff, yet usable pocket clip that doesn't rotate, and finally a rubber grip section which I find very comfrtable. Simple features, but effective.
While there is difference between the different lead sizes, I was expecting a more pronounced difference between the .2 and .4. Part of the reason is we don't hold a pencil straight up when we write. I also think that having the pipe cover the lead during use gives a slightly thicker angle of lead touching the paper. Still the Orenz lines are clean, and it is very smooth to write with.
I know a lot of people view the Uni Kuru-Toga as the biggest innovator in mechanical pencils in recent years. However, I think Pentel has taken the crown with the Orenz. It's simple yet effective. Now Pentel just needs to get some cartoon tie-in versions (Dreamworks maybe), and make the metal grip version available and they will be set.
Yes, that's the eraser. No, I did not use it. If I ever have to use a mechanical pencil eraser, I will just cry as they are all terrible.
As it stands, this pencil is now part of my every day carry, and that will not be changing any time soon. To me, there is no higher praise for any writing instrument.