What Is It
An automatic pencil, with a bit of a twist. Instead of having a lead advance button on the top, it’s on the side.
- Plastic body.
- Lead advance button on side of pencil body.
- Eraser under plastic cap at top.
- Rubber grip.
- Pocket-safe retractable tip.
- Cost – £1.99 RRP (£1.79 at Cult Pens).
Fairly ordinary – made of clear plastic. Ours is “Violet”, which is a disappointingly pale sort of purple that definitely gives it a ‘pre-teen girl’ look. Not bad, though, and it’s nice to be able to see how the side button mechanism actually works.
This pencil doesn’t feel quite as well made as Pilot’s Super Grip. The mechanism rattles, the side button has quite a lot of play in it before it starts actually moving anything, and the rubber grip is very thin and firm.
The main body of the pencil feels good and strong, though, and because the button is on the side, the eraser is in a nice firm grip.
The Shalaku is very light, and the rattles make it less pleasant to use. The balance is slightly towards the bottom, which is good.
Its party trick is the side button – rather than having to shift the pencil around in your hand to press the button when the lead gets too short, or use your other hand to push it, you just push the button on the side. It’s a bit too high up to keep a finger on, but I find it quite reachable with my thumb.
To be honest, though, I just don’t find pressing the lead advance button enough of a hassle to want a way out of it.
Compared with Pilot’s attempt at solving the same problem, The Shaker, I quite like the Shalaku. Of the two, the Shalaku better solves the problem. I just don’t think it’s a problem that needed solving.
When this pencil first arrived, it seemed absolutely useless. The mechanism slipped back after pushing the lead out, so I had to extend around half a centimetre more lead than I needed, then let it slide back in as I used the pencil. Unscrewing the tip, then re-screwing it seemed to fix that, but it might be an indication that they’re not so well made.
Personally, If I was after a cheap automatic pencil, I’d still go with Pilot’s Super Grip. It feels better in use, and feels better made. And I really need the extra exercise I get from pressing that button all the way up on the top.
Disclosure: Our Shaker was a review sample from Cult Pens. We liked them and linked to them before they started sending us new toys, but we like to be open about it.