Tombow Olno Mechanical Pencil Review4 January 2017
As you will see from the pictures, this is a pencil I’ve had for a long time. It’s a pencil that’s been used a lot in that time, too. There is a reason for that: this is a good pencil.
Price: £5 (UK) $5.50 (USA)
Lead size options: 0.5mm
Barrel options: black/pink, blue, blue/pink, clear white (this one), pink/violet, plus some special editions, and also a more expensive version with a clip and chrome trim
Size: 14.3cm long, 1.3cm diameter
According to Jet Pens the name Olno is derived from the Japanese word oruno, which means bend. This is because of a feature of this pencil that could be a gimmick but is actually quite useful: you can advance the lead by bending the body. The reason this is useful is because it’s a very natural action to perform while holding the pencil. It’s like giving it a little squeeze. You can, however, advance the lead in the normal way by pressing on the button at the top should you wish.
The pencil’s a good length and it’s very comfortable in the hand due to the fairly wide and very long soft-touch grip.
The lead is held securely in the cone-shaped tip. Everything is well constructed with no rattles or wobbles.
There’s no clip (a version with a clip is available) but the push button also functions as a roll-stop. This button can be removed and holds the eraser. It occasionally falls out of its own accord and it’s a little fiddly to use as an eraser. It’s a miracle I haven’t lost it.
The clear barrel of this pencil shows something of the mechanism, which I really like. This half the pencil looks fantastic.
The other half picks up every scuff and stray graphite dust going. Other versions probably won’t show the dirt so much but don’t have the lovely clear barrel either.
This isn’t the perfect pencil. The eraser and push button is begging to be lost and the grip gets dirty easily. But the Olno is an extremely usable pencil. It’s very comfortable to hold and the bend/squeeze mechanism is actually quite useful. It’s lightweight and it’s fairly cheap and if I want a pencil to just throw into a bag then nine times out of ten this is the one I’ll pick.
Comfortable in the hand: good size, excellent grip
Bendy advancing mechanism is useful
Eraser is small and fiddly and liable to be lost
Grip picks up and shows dust and dirt