Gadget Notes: rOtring 800 Mechanical Pencil

I’ve always been a fan of pencils, both wooden and mechanical. I don’t write a lot by hand, but I do like to have nice writing instruments. So I went looking for a new mechanical pencil, and took a chance on the rOtring 800 (, Amazon UK), their almost-top-of-the-line tool. (There is an 800+, which is the same, but has a plastic tip, so it can be used as a stylus on a tablet.)


I don’t like very thin lead, so I went for the 0.7mm model, and I chose black; I think pencils look better in black than silver. What sets this model apart from the company’s less expensive mechanical pencils is the “twist and click” mechanism, which moves the lead and holder in and out of the cylinder. So when you’re not using the pencil, you can retract it, and the pointy part won’t risk damaging a shirt, or just getting in the way.

(In case you’re curious, rOtring means “red ring,” which you see at the top of every one of the company’s pens and pencils.)

It’s a hefty, solid pencil, with a very nice grip, and a matte finish. I think the silver model is probably a bit smoother on the barrel, but the grip looks the same. It’s really a pleasure to write with. Again, I don’t write a lot, but I do often proofread things I’ve written on printouts, and I like to use a pencil.

This isn’t a cheap pencil – it’s a luxury to spend more than $50 on a writing implement – but it’s a nice tool to have. If you like pencils, it’s worth checking out. For a bit less, you can get the rOtring 600, without the retractable tip, if you wish.

Now, I just need to find the best pencil leads to go with this… Any suggestions?