★★★★ 296 real customer reviews average rating: 4 stars
4 Stars By Garrett E on 2016-10-09
Great pencil with minor lead breaking issue (see review for my fix)
This is a well crafted pencil and I love the design of it. I used to use Pentel GraphGear 500 and was always dropping them which would inevitably bend the tip rendering the pencil useless. I balked at the price of this rOtring, but have read great things about them so I chose the model with the retractable tip.
Pencil Feel/Balance - The balance of the pencil took a while getting used to, and I still don't think I'm fully there. The balance is smack dab in the middle of the pencil. The GraphGear 500 is closer to the end of the metal grip. This is only about a 1" difference, however I've found my arm gets tired much faster while using the rOtring to take notes quickly than it does with the Pentel. What this means is that I've relegated the rOtring to work use and exams/homework, while the Pentel still stays in my rotation as a note taker.
Lead Advancement - The click to advance on the rOtring takes a while to get used to. When you first press the cap, the tip extends ~3/32" and then hits a stop. At this point, you continue pressing and the lead advances. There is no need to release all the way between lead advancing clicks, just let off a little. When I'm in a rush, I often feel as though I advanced the lead with the first click but nothing happened, which takes more time to redo the motion.
Retraction - The rotation to retract the tip is wonderful. No more worrying about where the pencil is on the desk and if you'll knock it off and bend the tip. However, a note as others have said, ride the mechanism to fully retracted with your fingers (slowing the motion) to avoid it from slamming home. What I found is constantly retracting the tip whenever I set the pencil down (which could be every few minutes while I pick up reference material), was causing the lead to break (see more on this below).
Eraser - The eraser has a metal poker attached to it to help clear lead jams in the thin tip. Others have said it uses standard Pentel eraser refills, but I haven't tried this yet. I use Pentel Hi-Polymer erasers since they're the same material, cheaper and faster to use than removing the eraser protective cap.
Breaking lead - Within a few days after receiving this pencil, I started noticing the lead was breaking off in ~1cm pieces. Being the engineer that I am, I disassembled the pencil (twist to remove the knurled end) and started investigating why. Some reviews (here and else where) stated that this was due to a bent tip. In my case, the gold tip that makes up the first 3/4" of the pencil had loosened ever so slightly from the silver part. From what I can tell, when this gold tip is not fully seated, it is allowed to rock ever so slightly due to the nature of threads, when writing. This causes the lead holder to no longer be concentric to the gold tip and snap, the lead breaks. The solution that I found is to grip the silver ring (just below the spring) with my left thumb/forefinger and grip the gold tip with my right thumb/forefinger and tighten the gold tip as much as I can. The lead no longer breaks. However, after another week or two, I found another piece of lead was broken, so I employed this fix and didn't find another. This solution makes me want to apply some sort of adhesive on these threads to prevent the gold tip from loosening, but I haven't decided exactly what to use. A small dab of loctite (200 series or blue, i.e. NOT permanent red threadlocker) may be sufficient. I did contact rOtring about this problem and it took them nearly a week to respond. When they did, they wanted me to prove that I own the pencil (picture), proof of purchase (receipt), contact information, and what the problem was. They obviously did not read the email I sent and they may have just offered to replace the pencil, but it seemed like too much of a hassle to continue with that. Since, for the most part, this is a great pencil. If the lead breaks once a week, and I lose a 1cm length piece, that is a loss of maybe $0.1. It would take a long time for this to add up to the cost of replacement Pentel GraphGear 500 pencils that I was continually replacing due to bent tips.
Final thoughts - This is a great pencil. The black anodizing, red text and gold accents scream this is a quality utensil. The entire pencil is metal and feels very well built with attention to detail. Yes, it does break lead, but before completely discounting this pencil, figure out who much each little 1cm piece of lead actually costs. I think its a drop in the bucket and not worth fussing about. Keep an eye on the price though, it does fluctuate quite a bit and will drop down to a reasonable amount.
3 Stars By Dan R. on 2017-02-02
No the wiggle isn't just in your head.
After being extended the end wobbles a lot. This isn't a problem with my unit but from what I've found online an issue with all of the 800 retractable models. I love the twist to extend but this just doesn't feel like an upgrade, it feels like a compromise. If you want a retractable mechanical pencil get the Rapidpro, what it lacks in the twisty dropper department it makes up for with a stable tip, I just hate the fact you have to physically push up on the lead holder to retract.
1 Stars By Kyle on 2017-02-19
because I really like the feel of it
I purchased this pencil on January 25, and received it January 27 – It failed on February 18. Total time owned, 21 days, of which it was not used every day and when used, it was used fairly lightly, some light sketching and minor drafting. Pencil lead will not eject upon depressing the eraser, and any lead that is already exposed is not held, so any amount of force will allow it to slide back up into the body of the pencil. I suspect the problem may stem from the fact that the lead ejector internal to the metal body is in fact made of plastic. I can't really know for sure but I'm throwing it away so whatever, lesson learned - Never spend 40 dollars on a mechanical pencil when a dollar will buy you ten wooden pencils that won't fail you, and can be fixed with the twist of a sharpener. It's a shame too, because I really like the feel of it, and its look is nice, but a pencil that doesn't write really isn't much a pencil, after all.
1 Stars By Carl Rossi on 2014-03-12
Nice Pencil, short lifespan
I thoroughly enjoy writing with this pencil, but I have had the same disappointing experience regarding lifespan as has been noted by several other reviewers. Mine lasted just short of three weeks before the inner barrel shattered, leaving the pencil useless. The pencil, therefore,did not last nearly as long as one of the $ 0.99 Bic's that I can by by the Gross at Office Depot, and still come out money ahead. The plastic part which failed is very flimsy and it is no surprise to me that it failed. Why take the time and effort to design such an ergonomic and rugged exterior only to skimp so much on the interior pieces?
I suppose that I will now get to see how well Rotring's warranty service works....
1 Stars By Dave on 2016-08-23
very disappointed in this product
I am very, very disappointed in this product. The look and feel are excellent, but the only purpose of a mechanical pencil is to deliver lead when needed all day long. This pencil fails to automatically load the next piece of lead when the current one is done, and seems to have trouble advancing lead when loaded. I cannot edit a single page without having trouble with the feed. Save your money and go back to the $5 pencils that are reliable, that is what I am going to do.
1 Stars By Seamus O'Boogie on 2015-06-20
I switched to 2H leads which I hate and it has continued to break leads
I have the same problem many have reported where this breaks leads. I tightened the clutch inside, I switched to 2H leads which I hate and it has continued to break leads. Poor design. I had purchased two, one for my wife, and hers breaks leads also.
The Pentel Graphgear 1000 is nowhere near the same build quality as the Rotring 800 but the Pentel has never broken leads.
2 Stars By hau on 2014-03-05
too expensive for a pencil with so many flaws.
This rotring 800 looks great but leaves something to be desired. the retractable tip often gets stuck and sticks out about 1/8-1/4 inch, which defeats the purpose of retractability, so I have to undo it by taking it apart 2 out of 10 times of use. lead advancement also gets stuck, and I find myself taking the barrel apart to pull the stuck lead out, and wasting a lot of lead. for over $50, one would expect a flawless mechanical pencil, but this is far from flawless.
1 Stars By John J. Vogel 3rd on 2014-08-13
P.E.N.C.I.L. (Pencil Expensive Not Cool I Loathe)
The Titanic of Retractable Mechanical Pencils. Lots of Money, Fancy Design, the letter "o" in "Rotring" is the balance point of the pencil! But there are fatal problems. A retractable pencils function is to obviously protect the fine tip when traveling or carring the pencil. More of a 'field' then a 'desk' pencil but the lead constantly breaks in lengths the width of your thumb, so you must get the loose piece out and press until the lead out and ready to write. (Three of four breaks and your down one piece of lead.) Yet here is the thing, if you are oh so very gentle when twisting the retractable mechanism open and closed and carry it like a baby... then your golden! (The same amount of force required to set off nitro glycerin, like the old cartons, would break the lead inside.)
1 Stars By eddie maldonado on 2016-02-07
Had to return this pencil the day I received it. I was very disappointed with the wobbliness of the rotating mechanism. In both the deployed and secured mode, the tip was not solid but rather flimsy. I expected more from a rather expensive mechanical pencil. I will stick with my graphgear 1000 in the future. So disappointed, I wanted to like the rotring line of pencils.
1 Stars By Thomas A. on 2016-10-31
Major Quality Concern
I've had the pencil for about a month now, but use it sparingly. I rather use a Graphgear 1000 to this. The pencil itself feels wonderful. However, there is a problem with constant lead breakage inside the mechanism. I carry the pencil in a soft case, clipped to the inside, tip retracted, which goes into my backpack. Other graphing pencils have never had this problem. This breakage causes the lead to continuously slip, rotate, and fall out of the sleeve. Excess lead loss and inability to control the tip of the lead are not the reasons I bought this pencil. If this is the quality control the company touts, I cannot recommend this pencil, or any others from Rotring, to any other enthusiasts.