The Pentel Orenz AT Mechanical Pencil is Pentel's newest rendition of their famous Orenz line. The Orenz AT was released a few months ago in January 2023, and I was able to pick it up during my visit to Yoseka Stationery for $24. It's a premium pencil that brings a unique twist to the Orenz lineup.
Pentel's presentation of the Orenz AT mechanical pencil feels premium. It comes in a mostly paper box with fancy branding. It's fitting for a futuristic-looking mechanical pencil. However, the packaging still remains pretty minimal and it doesn't have anything unnecessary.
The Orenz AT features a unique lead-guard mechanism shared amongst the Orenz lineup. The mechanism makes it so that you don't have to manually advance the lead during use. The pencil features a sliding sleeve integrated with an auto-advancement mechanism. During writing, the lead guard gently pushes out more lead as you write, so you don't have to worry about pushing out more lead. This also results in a slightly weird writing experience – the pencil's sleeve would produce some friction in use because it's in contact with the paper.
I own the complete lineup of Orenz mechanical pencils, and the Orenz AT is definitely my favorite. The Orenz AT is most similar to the Orenz Nero in terms of both price and quality, so I'll be primarily comparing it with the Nero. Despite being cheaper than the Orenz Nero, the Pentel Orenz AT feels as premium as the Nero. I actually prefer the Orenz AT's rubberized grip over the Nero. Besides the grip section, the Nero and the AT feel pretty much identical. They both feature rather light dodecagon-esque bodies that feel premium.
Another advantage the Orenz AT has over the Nero is the vast amounts of colors available. While the Orenz Nero is offered only in a pretty boring black, the Pentel Orenz AT is offered in four colors: Dark Red, Dark Blue, Silver, and Grey. I find these colors very fitting for the Orenz AT and am hoping for some more colors in the future.
Despite the weird mechanism, the Orenz AT writes pretty well. I haven't had any issues with jamming and the slightly front-heavy weighting is perfect for me.
However, the Pentel Orenz AT is currently only offered in a 0.5mm diameter, making the whole mechanism somewhat obsolete. I find the lead guard mechanism only useful when used with 0.3mm lead and thinner, as those diameters break much easier. Not many people find it hard to use 0.5mm lead, so it's quite weird that Pentel decided to release the Orenz AT solely in 0.5mm sizing. I find it hard to write with a standard 0.3mm pencil lead (especially when paired with a Rotring 600), but find it appealing to write with, so it's a little disappointing that the Pentel Orenz AT is not yet offered in thinner diameters.
I'm happy with the Orenz AT. It's a great addition to the Orenz lineup that gives an alternative to the ever-so-popular Orenz Nero mechanical pencil. My only wish is that they release this pencil in smaller diameters so the mechanism can truly shine.