The OHTO Auto Sharp Pencil, catchily named the AP-205, is a 0.5mm mechanical pencil. It’s available with black, blue, green or red barrels and costs £1.60 ($2.50ish) from Cult Pens, who sponsored this post.
The Auto Sharp part of the name refers not to a fancy Kuru-Toga style rotating system but to an auto-advance system. The lead advances as you use it but you’ll still need to rotate the pencil to keep a sharp point. The lead does advance at about the correct rate, for me at least, but the name is a little misleading.
This is a well made pencil for the price. There are moulding lines on the black part of the barrel but they’re not intrusive. It would be an issue on a more expensive pencil but I can forgive it here.
The clip is flimsy plastic and feels like it will easily break.
The biggest problem with this pencil is that when you use the button to advance the lead, the tip isn’t firmly in place. It moves in and out a few times before settling to a locked position. This is quite irritating. Once locked, which happens after a few strokes, it’s fine. The tube holds a good number of spare leads.
It’s a comfortable pencil to hold. The triangular barrel is a good chunky size. The eraser is a good size and works, too. It’s an excellent eraser for a mechanical pencil.
The tip isn’t very pointy and does retract to some extent, meaning it’s reasonably pocket-safe.
I like the style of this pencil. It’s a little different and it doesn’t look cheap. If you don’t like chunky triangular barrels then it’s not for you. It’s also not for you if you need a good firm clip or if the temporary squidginess of the tip is likely to drive you mad. (However, the auto-advance mechanism is quite good and the squidginess only occurs when you manually advance the lead.) If you like this kind of barrel and can live with these faults then it’s a very good pencil for the money.