I was quite excited about getting the Uni Ball Kuru Toga mechanical pencil after hearing A LOT of great things and read many positive reviews. I was going to buy one myself but one of my twitter followers sent me one (You know who you are) when they found out that I wanted one.

The reason why this mechanical pencil in particular stood out to me and to many other owners of it is that it has ‘Self Sharpening’ capabilities built into the barrel of the pencil. I wondered how on earth a pencil could sharpen itself so of course I checked it out. My initial impressions of the uni Kuru Toga was that the design is quite nice for a chunky-ish pencil as I tend to favour slimmer designs. For those of you who have never heard of this pencil or how it works hopefully my explanation below will make it clear. But let’s start with the specs:

Uni Kuru Toga Review: Specs

  • Automatic mechanical pencil.
  • Unique rotating lead mechanism.
  • Plastic translucent barrel/grip.
  • Plastic top button housing the eraser which when removed, gives you access to the lead refills.
  • Strong, sleek looking plastic clip.
  • Non retractable although there is a ‘pocket safe’ version which I have yet to try!
  • Comes with specially made leads. Softer graphite on the outside and harder on the inside aiding the rotation performance.
  • It has 3 different lead sizes:
    • 0.3mm
    • 0.5mm
    • 0.7mm
  • Supplied with 3 HB Uni Nano Dia leads
  • Weight 10g
  • Length 143mm
  • Diametre approx 10mm
  • Eraser: Uni eraser refill size S

Uni Kuru Toga Review: Self Sharpening Mechanism.

Usually with a pencil the nib or lead is worn down on one side through use creating a chiseled edge. Your lines will start off sharp then gradually widen as you wear the lead down. The Uni Kuru Toga has attempted to solve this by housing a rotating mechanism within the barrel.  I’m not sure about any of you reading this but I’ve developed a habit of just naturally spinning the pencil as I write or draw.

Anyway, each time you write then lift the pencil, between letters or words, the mechanism turns the lead ever so slightly. This means you have a consistently sharp point because you are writing using a new part of the nib every time. Unless you do joint up writing which in this case means the lead won’t rotate as much as if you were writing in capitals for example.

The lead supplied is also specially made for this pencil which is softer on the outside and harder on the inside unlike most other leads which are the reverse.

A feature on this pencil which I love is that the barrel is clear so you can see the mechanism in action. I find this very satisfying but it kind of distracts me as I like to watch it and marvel in it’s genius. The logo is printed on the plastic which helps you to see the rotation as you write.

Uni Kuru Toga Mechanism

Uni Kuru Toga Review: Looks

Personally I think this pencil looks great. It’s slightly chunkier than many other mechanical pencils out there but it’s certainly not uncomfortable to hold. There’s nothing really ‘stand outish’ about this pencil there than the clear barrel exposing the inner workings which looks awesome.

Uni Kurutoga review

Uni Kuru Toga Review: Grip

The grip on this pencil I think is fantastic. It really does suit how I hold a pencil and to be honest is probably the most comfortable pencil I’ve ever used. Uni Ball have done a really good job here and gets top points from me for comfort. The plastic is slightly ‘bumpy’ to enhance the grip with a thin strip of rubber on the chrome effect plastic nib which I’m guessing is for those of us who like to hold the pencil closer to the actual nib.

Uni Kuru Toga Grip

Uni Kuru Toga Review: Build

The barrel, clip, inner mechanism and rubber cap are all made from plastic and feels very solid and light. I have dropped this thing a lot and and it has shown itself to be quite resilient. The clip is strong and quite sleek looking and you get a nice satisfying click when you press for more lead with good advancement.

To add/remove more leads you need to remove the top button and the eraser. This is fairly standard for most mainstream mechanical pencils. The eraser itself could be better but I rarely use the erasers anyway so this isn’t really an issue for me.

Uni Kuru Toga Review: Performance

The overall performance of this pencil is very good. It gives you a smooth writing experience and the rotating mechanism under the hood works very well and does what it sets out to achieve. I have the 0.5mm nib size as that’s my preference so I can’t say how the other sizes perform but Jet Pens has a very detailed article which you can read here. But, massive but, there is one drawback to having this ingenious, forward thinking technology. The dreaded…

Wobble!

Oh no ๐Ÿ™ The wobble in the nib is very present but expected as the actual tip rotates so of course there needs to be some movement. Now for me I wouldn’t say this was a deal breaker but when I wanted to put down more precise or accurate details I found myself swapping it out for my Pentel p205. It’s not totally noticeable when writing and a lot of people have a very positive experience using this to write so it is a good performer, just for me not when drawing but I have plenty more pencils for that!

The nib is also fixed so non retractable. I do tend to prefer retractable nibs on my mechanical pencils especially as I like to take them out and about and don’t like impaling my leg through my pocket. But in the Kuru Togas’ favour though the nib does feel tough and as I said earlier I have dropped it a few times ‘nib first’ and I’ve seen no damage.


Pros:

  • Very good looking.
  • Quality sturdy build.
  • Extremely comfortable.
  • Cheap. You can pick one of these up on Amazon for less than ยฃ3 (I’ll leave a link below)
  • Light

Cons:

  • Poor eraser. (not an issue for me)
  • Very wobbly tip.

Overall this is a very good pencil with, lets be honest, revolutionary design that shows that the company really wants to solve problems for us consumers ๐Ÿ™‚ so they get bonus points for forward thinking and ingenuity.

I’m glad I have one in my collection and will replace it if anything happens to my current one. Here’s some links to where you can buy the pencil and or extras for yourself from amazon…

Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil

Erasers

Lead refills

I’d love to get your thoughts if you already have this item or if your thinking of buying it, feel free to ask me anything or if you just want to chat. You can usually find me on twitter so feel free to give me a shout out.

Thanks for reading.