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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Filofax Notebooks Review



Video Timestamps:
  • Backstory - (0:10)
  • Sizes and Cost – (1:25)
  • Color Options - (1:55)
  • Features - (2:11)
  • Extra Features - (3:23)
  • Refills - (6:07)
  • Writing Test – (7:46)
  • Notebook Comparisons - (12:35)

Filofax is a brand that's been on my radar for a while because they're distributed in the United States by the same company that distributes Lamy. Filofax is really known with those who are big into planners, which isn't really my scene so much. However, they've come out with a brand-new (non-planner) notebook that I think is pretty exciting. It has some features that are really unique, and the colors are enough to really get people excited. The best part is that the pages are moveable within the notebook, and replaceable.







Covers
  • A5- 6.3” x 8.4” ($18.95)
  • Pocket- 4.1”x5.7” ($13.95)
  • 6 colors:
    • Aqua
    • Black
    • Blue
    • Fuscia
    • Orange
    • Red
  • Leatherette
  • Flexible
  • Notch for elastic strap
  • Folds back on itself
  • Lies flat

Removable pages!


Special Features

  • Removable pages!
  • Dividers
    • Same 4 colors for all sizes
    • Blue divider has pocket
  • Ruler/bookmark that's moveable
  • Elastic strap
    • Black has solid black strap
    • Other colors have matching color with white stripe
  • Wire binding
    • Black has black wires
    • Other colors have white
  • Spare sheets included- 4 each blank, graph, one lined (just to make the packaging not confusing)
Double-wire binding
Ruler/bookmark, 4 dividers (one with pocket insert)


Paper Facts

  • Off-white
  • 6mm ruling
  • 56 sheets
  • 100g weight
  • Line color is dark blue
  • All come with ruled, and spare sheets
  • Removable/replaceable pages

Writing performance

The paper is good, not great. It's made to be a more well-rounded paper for pencils, rollerballs, and fountain pens. It's slightly absorbent so shading is reduced a little and there can be some bleeding and feathering with really wet pen/ink combos, just being completely honest. For me it's not really an issue, as the 6mm ruling keeps me to wanting smaller nib sizes anyway, which works much better on this paper. Here's what I tested on it, from the "safe" combos to the extreme ones:

  • Pilot Metropolitan- fine with Noodler's Heart of Darkness (worked awesome)
  • Lamy Al-Star w/ 1.1mm stub nib with Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki (worked awesome)
  • Noodler's Neponset flex with Diamine Apple Glory, for the rest test (feathering and bleeding here, especially when flexed)
  • Lamy Safari rollerball, m63 black refill (worked great) 
  • TWSBI pencil with 0.7mm lead (it's a pencil, what's to say?)

Comparisons

I tested out the above pen/ink combos on some comparable papers, to show the difference. The Filofax paper is most similar to the Leuchtturm:

  • Rhodia Webnotebook, 90g off-white paper w/ 7mm ruling
  • Clairefontaine side-wirebound C8546, 90g white paper w/ 8mm ruling
  • Leuchtturm1917 80g off-white paper w/ 5mm dot ruling



Refills

Part of the appeal of these notebooks is the fact you can relocate the pages, and reload them as you use them. There are spare packs you can buy, in several ruling options:
  • 32 sheet count
  • A5- $4.99
  • Pocket- $3.99
  • Same 100g paper
  • Blank/ruled/graph options
  • Graph is 5mm
  • Lined is 6mm
  • DIFFERENCES!
    • Lines going all the way to the edge, lined/graph
    • Line color is gray instead of blue

I've been using one of these personally for the last month and a half or so, and I have to say I really like it. I am certainly aware of the limitation it'll put on some of my wetter pen/ink combos and I plan around that. I haven't found the paper to cramp my lifestyle too much, I just use an EF or F nib and don't really have to think about too much else. The slight compromise in the paper is more than made up for with the extreme utility and functionality of the moveable pages and dividers. I think this notebook's going to be a huge hit with a lot of writing enthusiasts because it's fairly priced, has exciting colors, and is incredibly functional.

You can pick up the Filofax Notebooks and refills at GouletPens.com. I'd love to hear your thoughts, shout out to me in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

20 comments:

  1. A fantastic, thorough and helpful review as always. Looks like a nice system.

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  2. The Vac 700 pens aren't showing up on the closeouts page for me. Is there a website issue?

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  3. I need another notebook right now like I need a hole in the head, but these look amazing. Love my Leuchtturms, but the ability to move pages is terrific.

    Two questions:
    Do the refills just pop in the same way you demonstrated moving the single page? Can you easily pop in more than a couple at a time or is it best to do them singly? (OK, so that's a two part question.)
    Are you carrying the full line of colors available? (Hoping there's a dark purple or oxblood to look forward to at some point.)

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  4. The Invincia Stylus? Whyyyyy?

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  5. It looks like they sold out! That was insanely fast, but then again, we didn't really have a lot. I have a few more in blue and in smoke coming in on Monday, but not much, and I don't know if there will be anything after that.

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  6. Same question. Interested as to whether I can use my Arc punch to add my own paper (though the paper size is not the same as sections of US paper!)

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  7. Is it clear whether the old V20 bottles are compatible with the Vac Mini?

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  8. These notebooks have some great features: Heavy cover lays flat, wire bound, removable pages. There is a definite need for quality absorbent paper with fountain pens: quick drying is one feature. I like the paper not being white, makes UV fluorescent inks stand out more than they do on white papers.

    Very versatile, well designed. Thanks for the review and for carrying these. Dividers, pocket, colors, strap and strap notch. Looks like Filofax did their homework well. Great review Brian.

    My question: how many sheets of the refills can these books hold? Or, how many refills can you add to those that come with the books? Thanks.

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  9. I found the answer regarding ARC: I asked the question in the Arc Junkies FB group and someone found this: Arc paper does fit the Filofax notebooks! https://instagram.com/p/zdWltQTWDb/?modal=true

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the info! I was afraid that might be the case, but no worries, I found one :)

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  11. Awesome - thanks for digging this up!

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  12. It seems that since this notebook has 8 holes it could fit into the same punch holes from the ARC/Levenger and be compatible, bout that would be spending on spacing. I would consider this notebook if it would fit the ARC/Levenger system, where I could use paper from both providers. I like off white because it is softer on the eyes, specially for older people…


    Cover is not as hard as that of the ARC but sometimes I like to feel a smooth cover that is lightly flexible like this, it would better fit into a purse, a case, etc. I will order some page sot see if they fit my system, if they do, Voila! I have options!

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  13. I had the same question and this is GREAT! Now I can use both papers and notebooks and mix, specially since I have a punch i can create my one paper sections with paper of preference like Tomoe River.

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  14. We haven't tried it for ourselves, but we've been told that the paper is compatible from other customers. We'll have to look into it more! :)

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  15. Hi Kenny! I was totally excited about this notebook too. :) I've got it on my desk right now and loving it.

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  16. I know!!! Total bummer. :(

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  17. Does Toilet Pens carry a compatible hole punch? If no, then when? If yes then link please.

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  18. The colored Vac 700's, ugh that is a bummer. I've been putting off getting one, or two, or, um three, but there was always another fountain pen I wanted more. My mom used to always tell me you can only spend your money once, unfortunately. Bills first, then shenanigans.


    On the positive side, looking forward to the Mini and as always all the new awesome fountain pens at Goulet.

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  19. This is very cool. I like using my fountain pens at work, and right now have a Rhodia business notebook for taking notes at meetings. But something like this would give the option of a cool cover and swapping out pages. Sounds like certain pen/ink combinations are definitely fountain pen friendly. Thanks for the extensive review, Brian! My next order will include one of these. :)

    (And thank you to the FP fans who mentioned the ARC system. Sounds like something I should check out too!)

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  20. Who knew my cranky Twisbi or the green Artista I gave my nephew at Christmas would be collector's items? I'm glad I got them both while I did.

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