Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils
36-240 count pack
Good color output
Large set sizes available
Optimal core diameter
Can be expensive
A few colors feel scratchy when using
No lightfast ratings
Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils Review
We are always in search of unique new pencils to try. And you could certainly lump the Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils into that category. Just about everybody has heard of the company Mitsubishi through their cars, motors, etc. And many people are surprised when they discover that this is that same Mitsubishi brand!
We aren’t quite sure what made Mitsubishi decide to branch into the colored pencil game, but we are glad that they did. These pencils can be difficult to find in brick and mortar stores in the USA but that problem can be worked around by purchasing them online.
These pencils come in 36, 72, 100, and 240 count sets. They have a round barrel, a 4.2mm wax core, and fall into the premium price tier.
Visual Appeal – 4/5
Your selection of colors will depend greatly on which set size you purchase. The smaller size (36) will be quite limited in your colors. This is particularly noticeable in deeper greens, blues, and reds. You will still have some bright yellows and reds to work with, but it may be difficult to complete an entire piece with just this set.
When you branch into the larger sizes, however, your selection of colors opens up. If you are fortunate enough to get your hands on the massive 240 count set, then your color choices are endless. You will find an extensive selection of yellows, greens blues, and even subtle grays and purples.
Overall, we feel that the color performance with these pencils is very good. They respond quite well to light pressure, resulting in very muted and subtle color output. This can be good for areas of your work that you don’t want to “pop”. On the other extreme, they are also capable of extremely intense color when the occasion calls for it.
You won’t get quite the level of vibrancy of some of the top of the line premium pencils on the market. But the differences are subtle as best. For a vast majority of artists, there will be no discernible difference from these and most of the other premium pencils on the market.
The 4.2mm core is about “average” sized from our experience. At this size, you can put down a lot of color but are still able to handle intricate areas as long as the tip is nice and sharp.
Selecting our favorite colors is a challenge. However, if we had to pick, they would include Cobalt Blue, Heliotrope, Gold Ochre, Sepia, Willow Green, Scarlet, and Light Vermillion.
Our only “minor” complaint is that some of the more metallic colors can be a bit scratchy. This may have to do with the solvents that are mixed in to produce this look. You may have to go back over an additional pass when using certain gray pencils.
Mitsubishi, as far as we are aware, doesn’t release any sort of lightfast ratings for their pencils. Because of this, it is difficult to gauge how well these pencils’ colors will hold up to the test of time. But judging by the intensity of the colors, we have a feeling that many of these pencils would fall on the higher end of the spectrum if they were to be given a lightfast rating.
Usability and Durability – 4/5
e feel that the build quality of these pencils is quite good. The core seems to stay together, even with hard application pressure. We always recommend using a hand pencil sharpener that is designed for colored pencils. When sharpening these pencils, it was pretty easy to get them to a nice point. We didn’t have to deal with constant breaking or chipping.
The barrel of the pencil is round. While we typically prefer a hexagonal or triangular barrel for a better grip, this is a personal preference.
Blending is average to slightly above average. We found that using an art eraser can make the process much easier. But we didn’t have as much luck going in with a lighter pencil and blending it into the darker pencil, for instance.
A nice surprise was the lack of wax bloom. Even when applying 4 or 5 layers of color, the wax bloom that did exist was minor. This means that you will have an easier time filling in some of the color gaps in case you go with one of the smaller set sizes.
We didn’t have a chance to try these pencils out with any sort of solvents or blenders. However, we did have some success mixing it with simple water. The color was able to be spread some. It is by no means equivalent to a watercolor pencil but considering that these are traditional colored pencils, it isn’t bad.
The overall application “feel” is moderate. You won’t have the ultra buttery feel of some of the luxurious oil pencils on the market. But you also won’t’ have to deal with an extremely hard and brittle texture that many pencils with extremely hard wax suffer from.
Packaging and Presentation – 5/5
One area that Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils shine in is in their packaging. The case that these pencils come in is unique. In the 100 pack size, you will find a sturdy outer structure that can open from the middle. Within the case, you will find that the pencils are stored in a very clever way.
You essentially slide the pencils down into a tube instead of snapping them into a recessed cavity. This makes grabbing them much easier. But the coolest part of this feature is the ability to rotate the tubes outward. This allows for quick and easy identification of all pencils. Not only that, but it looks great!
As you can see in the image above, this type of storage method is quite superior to just about anything else out there. You still get great protection of your investment while allowing for much easier handling of the pencils when removing them from the case. On the underside of the lid, there is also a handy color chart.
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on the massive 240 count set, it comes in a giant MDF case with 5 rows of sliding shelves.
No matter which size you go with, you will be extremely impressed with the packaging.
As for the pencils themselves, they take a more traditional style approach. You will find the Mitsubishi logo in gold leaf. On the opposite side of the pencil near the base, there will also be the color name and code. Depending on which generation set you buy, there may be the same additional aesthetics such as some gold leaf rings near the base. This isn’t a terrible look but the real winner here is the pencil storage case.
Cost – 3/5
Evaluating the asking price of these pencils is a little more complex. The biggest challenge with Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils is their availability. Mitsubishi is a Japanese company and it appears that the supply is more heavily targeted for that side of the world. Because of this, finding these in your local art store may be more difficult.
You can work around this by purchasing them online, but we have seen that this sometimes comes with a surcharge. We assume because they have to be imported.
In particular, we have seen some premium charges being applied to the larger sets. If we had to guess, we would assume part of this can be attributed to the really attractive packaging that they come in.
If you can find a set of these without a huge markup, they provide good value for your money. Their overall performance and build quality can go toe to toe with all but the very best out there. The problem is that we have seen these pencils’ asking price creep up to the level of the high-end artist pencil sets. And when comparing from a strict performance standpoint, the top tier Faber-Castells and Prismacolors still edge these out.
So the “cost” rating will depend on how good of a deal you can find these for. But either way, you are sure to have a unique set that very few other people can say that they own.
Overall Ranking – 4/5
We had a great time trying out Mitsubishi Uni Colored Pencils. From an originality standpoint, these pencils are near the top. We loved the great packaging that they came in and would consider buying them for the case alone. Ignoring the packaging, the pencils perform fine as well. The color output is good and it is easy to control them in both detailed and broad applications. Blending isn’t anything noteworthy but it is serviceable.
Our only minor gripes are with the somewhat high asking price, the lack of lightfast ratings, and a handful of the pencils not being up to the level as others when it comes to feel and color output. But putting those issues aside, this is a solid competitor.