First, a confession: I’m a pen nerd.

I recently read about Sharpie’s new Liquid Pencil, and was excited about it. A pencil with no leads to break? An erasable writing instrument that becomes permanent after a day or so? It seemed like the perfect pocket pen (er, pencil). Sign me up!

Just over a week ago I saw a two-pack at Officemax and bought it. I’ve been carrying one in place of my usual Pilot G-2, as an experiment.

Sadly, I must report that I’m not impressed. Maybe Sharpie will perfect the technology over time, but this initial version is a dud.

Here’s a sample page using several pens and pencils I have around on my desk.

writing sample 1

Contrary to the claims on Sharpie’s blog, the Liquid Pencil writes anything but smoothly. It lays down the graphite unevenly; it’s choppy and inconsistent. It also feels kind of rough on the paper, at least compared to the pens I normally use.

writing sample 2

Even the super-cheap Bic Round Stic wrote more smoothly and consistently.

Now let’s talk about erasing. Or rather, not erasing.

writing sample 3

The Techniclick using regular graphite erases fairly well. You can sort of see what was written, if you squint at it. The Liquid Pencil, on the other hand, leaves a lot behind. I wrote “Something I regret writing” and then erased. I probably should have added “with” to the end of that sentence.

The pencil-to-ink conversion is also a bit overstated. I have seen claims ranging from one to three days. Okay, I’m willing to accept that there’s a variable or two here: paper type, humidity, etc. But after a week, I’m still able to half-erase what I wrote. Not very “permanent” even compared to a dime-a-dozen ink pen.

Verdict: I’m switching back to the Pilot G-2.