Uni-Ball Kuru Toga
After I had gotten over the looks, I took a peak at the specs. Diamond infused lead and a rotating lead mechanism help resist breaking your lead tip. Pretty cool stuff. The lead is nice and hard, but writes smoothly and doesn't feel like you are chiseling your paper with it. I found the tips were hard to break under normal usage. The rotating lead mechanism does really rotate. They give you the clear plastic base with the orange mechanism underneath so you can see it in action.
After I was done looking and reading, it was time to test the basics of this pencil out by writing up a few documents with it and seeing what it could do. The lead performed awesome, it is some of the best stuff out there. I was at first concerned that the tiny strip of grip on the pencil wasn't going to keep it in place, but it worked perfectly for me. I actually prefer it to the giant pieces of grip on some pencils. I couldn't tell how well the rotating lead do-dad worked in real testing because I tend to roll the pencil in my hand after each sentence.
The part of the pencil that really killed it for me was the hard to remove eraser cap. If you look at the high resolution photos of the BIC AI you'll see there is a flare at the tip of the eraser cap which makes it easier to remove and gives you a larger spot to click to advance the lead. The eraser cap on the Kuru Toga actually narrows at the tip giving you a smaller spot to click and with the extra smoothness of the plastic makes it almost impossible to remove. Does Uni-Ball intend for you to just ditch the eraser cap? Nope, it's too hard to click to advance the lead without it. Does Uni-Ball intend for you to just loosely leave the cap on so it's easier to remove when you need it? Nope, when you advance the lead you push the cap all the way down. As near as I can tell, Uni-Ball wants you to use this pencil as a pen and never erase your work or keep a box of Pink Pearl erasers by your side for when the need arrives. One thing is for certain, they don't want you to use the eraser included on this pencil.