Uniball Star Pencils / Set of 12 HB
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Uni Star is a great, all-purpose pencil for writing and drawing. It's made in Japan with the same expertise, design sensibility, and quality control as Mitsubishi's higher-end pencils. But it's a simplified design, not as glossy as the Hi-Uni and made with humbler materials, and the result is a pencil of outstanding quality at a surprisingly low price. Mitsubishi even includes a reusable plastic storage case with each set of 12, which gives Uni Star a level of polish that similarly-priced pencils can't match.
In our tests, we enjoyed the smooth, dark graphite inside Uni Star pencils, which runs a bit harder than the famously soft Hi-Uni lead. That gives the HB grade a firm, precise point, as you'd expect from a traditional #2. It sharpens cleanly and doesn't break easily, even when held at a shallow angle for broad marks and shading.
Uni Star shares the good looks of its older siblings, too. It's finished with burgundy lacquer and stamped with the Mitsubishi brand in gold foil.
Founded in the 19th century in Tokyo, Mitsubishi Pencil has been one of the world's leading pen and pencil manufacturers for generations. Well-known around the world for their Uni brand of pens and pencils, Mitsubishi continues to innovate and release new products, like POSCA paint markers and an ever-expanding lineup of writing pens.
Fun fact: "Mitsubishi" means "three diamonds," and the name and three-diamond mark of Mitsubishi Pencil predates the better-known Mitsubishi Group by ten years. Despite sharing the same name and symbol, Mitsubishi Pencil is not related to any of the numerous other Mitsubishi companies in Japan.