I purchased an Underwood Leader Typewriter a few weeks ago. This one appeared to be in very good condition and since I don't happen to own this model, it seemed like a good time to purchase one. I've had it long enough now that I thought I'd provide a short review.
The cosmetics of this machine are good since it sports an eye-pleasing two-tone paint in light and dark gray. What you don't see in this machine is a lot of chrome or other accents that you might find on more fully featured machines. The Leader was meant to be a bare-bones typewriter . . . just enough functionality to do what a typewriter needs to do without any of the bells and whistles. That design aesthetic shows through in this simple looking but elegant machine. I actually prefer the color of the Leader over the tan color of the Champion.
Snappy! That's the best word I know of to describe how this machine types. It's responsive to the touch with nice-sized key tops that seem large enough without being too large.
Wow, does this machine print nicely on paper! Where some of my Smith-Coronas and Royals are a bit more fuzzy looking, not this Underwood. It's as clear as it can be. Very nice output for a manual typewriter.
This particular machine functions flawlessly but they do tend to have ribbon advance and ribbon reverse problems. Most of the time, those issues can be corrected but I do believe that ribbon mechanism could have been designed better by Underwood.
I do miss having a paper bail. While the chrome "fingers" hold the paper fairly well against the platen, I do believe it tends to be a bit louder due to the "thwack" sound the type slug makes when it comes in contact with the paper.
From my experience, I would recommend owning an Underwood Leader typewriter. It's simple and clean design makes it a pleasure to use. If you like having just the basics, you'll enjoy using and owning this Underwood.