Penxo Pencil Review1 June 2016
The Penxo is a clutch pencil with a difference. Originally a Kickstarter campaign, which is where I bought mine, it’s now available for pre-order direct from the manufacturer.
Price: $29 (includes 12 leads and a mini lead pointer, which isn’t all that good but at least it’s nice to have something)
Lead size options: 2mm only
Barrel options: silver, black, gold, grey
Size: 13.7cm long, 1.0cm across
There is no denying the simple minimalism of this pencil. It’s a single piece of aluminium that looks not unlike a pair of tweezers. It works like tweezers, too, gripping the lead at its nose.
The lead is gripped firmly and once you have some lead deployed it’s as easy to sketch and write with as any other pencil. The design has the added benefit of making it easy to see how much lead you have left, too.
There are some big compromises with such a simple pencil. Deploying the lead is really fiddly. You have to press or pull the two halves apart, pull or wiggle the lead out, push it back when too much comes out, then release the two halves and hope the lead is still straight. Perhaps with time it’ll become second nature but I wouldn’t count on it. A less significant issue is that you can only hold one piece of lead in this pencil at a time. With a traditional clutch pencil you can add a second piece of lead as your first one gets shorter so you never run out.
I’m glad someone came up with this idea and made it. I’m glad I own a Penxo pencil because it looks interesting and it’s clever. It’s fun to show it to people. Now I’ve written this review, I will probably never use it again.
Really interesting design
Good to use once you’ve got it set up
Difficult to deploy the lead
Only holds one piece of lead
Another con I found with mine is if the lead breaks the top half of it will just fall out the side. Already happened once.
I own a Penxo too. I actually had to buy it because I collect 2mm leadholders. Only very rarely is a new 2mm leadholder introduced today and that’s what I like most about the Penxo. For me, 2mm is just the best way of using a pencil (type device).
I’m very disappointed in the product. I bought two of them through the kick start program. They were months late in sending them out because of all the orders. Obviously I liked the idea but their implementation is very poor. I only used mine a few times and the led started slipping – regardless of how softly I pressed. Pencil is completely unusable and I wrote directly to Penxo about a month ago and never got a reply so now I have to write reviews based on my experience instead of them doing the right thing and fixing the problem. They can’t possibly being selling these without a ton of complaints. Both pencils I bought did the same thing.
The good: Great minimalist design. Can sharpen both ends of the lead and simply reverse lead when one end becomes dull (saves sharpening time.) Light weight.
The bad: The lead slips in when you apply slightly too much pressure (doesn’t take much.) Sharpening is a nightmare since the grip is not strong enough to keep the lead from rotating with the sharpener -if you pinch the holder too tight to prevent the lead from rotating then the lead will break! (the only way I can sharpen effectively is by using sand paper!)
Overall thoughts: Would not recommend this leadholder to the common person who is just looking for any generic lead holder. I would only recommend this lead holder to a person who you know would REALLY appreciate the design and is willing to work around the weak lead-grip by carrying sandpaper with them. The tragedy of this lead holder is that there is room on the lead holder tip to add a lot more grooves. However, the designers only placed grooves on the very tip of the grip -not sure why. This lead holder had so much potential. Oh well.