One of the good things about this space is that if you have a need, someone has probably had the same need at some point and filled it. The stationery community is full of creative people who, if they can’t find what they want, dammit, they’ll make it. One such person is Chad Doane of Doane Paper. The Grid + Lines ruling came from a meeting where half of the attendees were using lined paper, the other half graph paper. Originally just built as a downloadable pattern, fans liked the idea so much and clamored for an actual physical product.Read More
To enter the giveaway, please enter your Name and email address in the form below and I will contact you if you win! The giveaway is for people in the continental United States only....sorry, I just can't eat the shipping on this much paper.
This product was provided to me from Baron Fig, at no charge, for review purposes.
Baron Fig's ever-expanding lineup gets another entry with the Mastermind Week Pad, a play on the Mastermind Desk Pad they released not long ago. The Week Pad is an example of iteration and watching how users are using the product. The Desk Pad was nice, but if used under a keyboard for it's intended purpose, very little could be used. And certainly people used them on their desks for to-do lists and to plan out the week. So they took the look of the Planner mixed it with a Mastermind Desk Pad, and out popped the Week Pad.
If you're less of a Planner person and more of a daily to-do list person, this Baron Fig Mastermind Week Pad may just be the thing for you. It's long and short, 11 inches by 3 inches, and, maybe not coincidentally, the same length as the Apple Magic Keyboard. It uses the same paper as the Desk Pad (which is the same paper as the Vanguard) but you'll find no dot grid here, just a weekly layout. Monday through Thursday gets a full section, with Friday the same width, but cut off at the bottom to accommodate the weekend. While it's small enough to do it, this isn't meant to be on-the-go with you, but to live at the desk. Most people work Monday - Friday, and most people keep their Fridays light, so the layout is somewhat correct when it comes to lists being entered.
Unlike the Desk Pad, the Week Pad can only be used in one orientation if you plan on using the layout. You can flip it over and use the blank side any way you want. I tried to live with mine in a few places, but the best seemed to be right below the keyboard. I was worried that pencil would smear and smudge with my wrists resting on it while typing, but it wasn't as bad as I feared. A little smudging happened, but not enough transfer to turn my wrists black with graphite, not to mention that this isn't meant to be archival, it gets torn off at the end of the week.
There are 3 packs with 18 sheets each, setting you up with 54 weeks worth of pages. The headers along the top give you a spot where you can write in the date if you choose, or even scratch out and change the day, if your work week is a little unconventional. The paper takes most writing instruments like a champ, including fountain pens. Bleed through was non-existent in my tests, and even showing through the other side was minimal enough to be able to use the back side as scratch paper after you're finished with the week, which is what I plan to do. I'll tear it off and use it in a portrait orientation for scratch notes and figuring. With this use case, I'm not certain I'll use the Desk Pad or even the Nomad sticky notes anymore.
Overall, this is a nice edition to the desk lineup Baron Fig have come out with this year. It will be interesting to see what comes down the pipeline next as far as desktop items and what problems they'll tackle next.
Available from Baron Fig, $9.
Those of us in the stationery blogger community probably owe Brad Dowdy a lot more than we would care to admit. Without knowing anyone's traffic data, I would venture to guess that he has the most popular stationery blog in the world, and rightly so. The man is prolific, the sheer amount of reviews on that site is staggering. If there is a pen you're thinking about getting, it's likely it's been reviewed on the Pen Addict. And let's not forget his podcast of the same name...not like you would: if you're reading this site, you surely know about it.
For all his blogging and podcasting prowess, however, it's not enough. He also owns Nock Co. with his partner Jeff Bruckwicki and they sell fountain pen-friendly bags and paper products. I bought these Dot-Dash Spiral Pads from Brad himself at the Nock Co. table at the Chicago Pen Show. I'm always on the lookout for a good top-bound book, and since I monopolized a little bit of his time and didn't need a pouch or bag, I thought I should buy the paper. I'm glad I did.
The book is A5 size with 84 pages. The paper is 60#, with the cover being 100#. The back cover is 24pt card stock, which is heavy enough, but not heavy duty chip-board like the Field Notes or Write Notepads top-bound Stenos. The paper is wonderful for everything inky you can throw at it, writing-wise, with a fine nib being about as big as you'd want to go if you're looking to use the back side of the page. My medium nibs didn't really bleed-through as much as just show-through. But they did show-through significantly. I also found it to be good with pencils, if maybe a tad too smooth for some harder pencils.
I was surprised at how well it did with ink considering how thin the paper feels. The problem with some Stenos is that they are built to be heavy-duty because they're generally written on while carried or held, and they can make the paper too heavy and cheap. The Write Notepads Steno and now this Nock Co Dot-Dash Spiral Pad are my two favorites. What also surprised me is the strength of the wire binding, considering how thin the wire is. It has held up very well, and exceeded my expectations.
One thing that puts this up there is the price: $18 for 2- 84 page books. That's 168 pages for $18. The Write Notepads is $16 for 120 pages, and the Field Notes is $10 for 80 pages. So this one sits right in the sweet spot for page value.
So I've talked about all the good, but what about the not-so-good? Well, I'm not the biggest fan of the Dot-Dash ruling. It seems really busy to me, and the ink they use isn't the lightest, so it doesn't quite fall into the background once pencil or pen is put to page. I might be able to handle it if it were a bit lighter and a bit bigger...it comes in at 4.25mm. That smaller than the standard Field Notes graph and way busier. I would feel better with such a busy ruling if the graph spacing was bigger, but then again, I don't have Brad's famously tiny handwriting. The other thing, and this is a minor nitpick, is that the ruling is so busy, I can't really see where the perforation is. This is a problem because the perf starts really low, lower than I expected. I've torn off the first sentence of a page more than a handful of times because the perf is also so fine, you don't really know you're writing on it. So I need some sort of indicator here, whether it's a heading or just a rougher perf that can be seen.
Overall, I like this because it is thin and a bit more portable, the spiral isn't as huge as other books. It does well with all my writing instruments of choice, and at the price, I don't feel bad with it being my next-to-the-mouse book that gets scribbled on and used / abused.
Available from Nock Co. $18 for a 2-pack.
Another week, another Baron Fig release. Idle hands are the Devil's playthings, as the saying goes, so certainly the team at Baron Fig is laying the groundwork for a good review at the Pearly Gates. This time around it is the third Vanguard in the first year of subscriber releases, and it is called Clear Sky. The marketing text on the belly band reads: "Good ideas tend to strike when you least expect them. Clear skies for clearer minds."
For the uninitiated, the Vanguard is Baron Fig's A5-ish softcover notebook. The standard model has 3 sizes, Pocket, Flagship (A5), and Plus (7"x10"). So far, all the Limited Edition Vanguards have been in the Flagship range, and I don't predict that will change. As with the standard model, the Limited Editions come 3 to a pack.
Usually, I talk about covers and work my way inside, but the Clear Sky is all about clearing things away, and no better way to do that than with blank paper. No ruling or dot grid, the blank paper clearing a path for you to turn whatever idea you have into a reality without limitations. I get the idea, if that was indeed the thought process. I, on the other hand, like, and even need, boundaries. Structure. And most of my use of notebooks involves writing, so lined is my favorite. This should appeal to the sketchers and the doodlers. The illustrators. Heck, I know one who is already trying to trade for more of these! And I'm happy for the blank-lovers: I can't remember a limited edition Field Notes or Write Notepads that was blank unless it had colored paper (Sweet Tooth). So they're getting some love from Baron Fig. It doesn't fit my desires, but it's also not unusable.
So what about those covers? Well, I find these to be an extension of the Infinity theme, colors-wise. Where the gradient work on the outer cover of the Infinity was confined to the shapes, the inner covers spread some gradient goodness all over. The Clear Sky is icon free, working just with the splash of color and its gentle fade towards the bottom. The "purple" and "pink" ones remind me of colors you see in a sunset, but the "blue" one takes me back to staying up all night and watching the winter sun start to illuminate the cold, barren corn fields of my youth. Or nighttime light pollution when you're on the outskirts of suburbia...I'll stick with desolate corn fields.
One thing I'll say about the covers on all the Limited Edition Vanguards in this first year subscription cycle is that I'm happy they haven't had a release where all 3 books were the same. The inner covers of the Clear Sky is also blank. You have the branding on the back inner cover like always, as is the bookplate on the front inner cover. But the rest of it is just blank, a slight off-white color, which stands in stark contrast to the blast of color we got in the Infinity. The bookplates are interesting: they also play with gradient here, but they go horizontally instead of vertically and they seem to finish the colors that the covers have. What I mean is this: take the transition from the far left color to the far right color, then take a bit in the middle, and that's your cover color. Another way to explain it is that if the books were taller, we'd see the ends come to the same conclusion as the bookplates. Just an interesting observation.
Overall, the books are nice: the paper is the standard BF Vanguard paper, good for pencil with a nice tooth and thick enough to hold up to most fountain pen abuse. 72 pages of blank paper isn't ideal for me personally, but that's MY problem. I just got some smaller brush pens and have been dabbling in "painting" with fountain pen ink, so I may find a use for these books there.
Available from Baron Fig, $14 for a 3 pack. These books were part of the subscription I paid for last year and not subject to a disclaimer.
Disclaimer: this product was provided by Baron Fig for review purposes.
Would you look at that...another product from Baron Fig! We're not even halfway through the year yet, but I'm about to declare 2017 the year of the Fig already. They are releasing products at an insane pace, and the Mastermind & Nomad are just the newest of the bunch. They've actually been out for a few weeks on the site, but not really talked about because they've been lost in the shuffle with all the other releases. I don't think I've even seen official word from them on any social media or a marketing email yet. At this point, it's been a soft launch without a lot of fanfare.
So what are the Mastermind and the Nomad? Well, if you've ever looked at the pad of sticky notes next to your desk and wondered if there were better options out there, the Nomad is for you. Made from similar paper as their notebooks, the Nomad is a 3" x 3" pad of sticky notes, with the Baron Fig dot-grid and rounded corners. The paper is thinner than the paper on the Mastermind, which seems thinner than Confidant paper. Of course, these are for scratch notes and being thrown away, so I wouldn't expect great paper. For what the Nomad replaces, however, it is far and away better.
Price-wise, you're looking at just under 3 times what a standard Post-It note costs per note. That's not terrible, but just remember for every note you take and eventually toss away, you're looking at just under 4¢. These are totally high-end sticky notes. If you do a lot of sketching on them and moving them around, these are for you. Stickiness-wise, they are equal to any Post-It I've ever used, which is to say they stick really well on the bezel around my computer screen. If you're just doing single notes that last for a few hours and chucking them in the trash, they might be a little cost prohibitive.
For the Mastermind, it's supposed to be a desk pad. The idea is kinda like the old large desk calendars people used to have on their desks before computers were really ubiquitous. The desk pad that protected your nice wooden desk and didn't really get used as a calendar, but as a scratch pad. This is also dot-grid, and is the same exact paper as what is in the Vanguard. It is also blank on the back side, but the difference here is that it can be used "upside down" if you wanted to use blank instead of dot-grid. Just tear off the back of the pack instead of the front and you're set with the blank pad.
For me, this is the Goldilocks syndrome in reverse. It's just that perfect size to not be able to work in two different use cases that I want to use it for. If it were a bit bigger, it would be a perfect desk pad for under-keyboard use. If it were a bit smaller, it would be great for beside-the-mouse scratchpad use. But as it stands, at 12" x 8", it's a bit small for one task and a bit big for the other. It is basically letter-sized, plus or minus an inch or so on either dimension. In my testing, I used it for a scratch pad at the bottom of my Mac keyboard. It sat from the edge of the keyboard bottom to the edge of my desk. I do like it, and it is good for that use, but it doesn't anchor the desk that way I want a "desk pad" to do. The Mac keyboard is small and in my day job, I spend a lot of time with one hand on it, doing shortcuts, with the mouse in my other hand, so I tend to slide the keyboard around a bit, which would, in turn, move the desk pad around too. If this were 12" x 18", it would work as a true desk pad, or if it were 9" x 6", it would work great as a tear off scratch pad next to the mouse. Overall, though, having a high quality, foot-long page of dot grid paper in front of me, in any capacity, is worth the money. For $15, you get 2 pads of 35 sheets, so a little over 21¢ per sheet.
For my uses, I will go through more Masterminds than Nomads. The notes I like to stick up on the wall by my computer screen are longer than what a usual sticky note can hold, so I generally write them on a Write Notepads Pocket Ledger and tape them up. That's worked well for me. What I usually use sticky notes for are single use, quick jottings that are useless after they've done their duty, and the Mastermind can hold a ton of those sitting on my desk. I'll feel bad about throwing away such a lovely sticky note, so I'm sure I'll save them for special occasions...that sounds weird, I know!
Available from Baron Fig. Mastermind $15 for 2 packs of 35, Nomad $8 for 3 packs of 70.
When I was first approached about reviewing this folio and notebook set up, I initially wanted to say no. This might be a little bit meta, but I worried about being able to be objective when given a free item to review. It just hasn't happened yet in the short lifespan of this blog. I don't reach out to companies and ask for review units; if something interests me, I'll buy it and review it. I take part in many of the subscription services out there and get things that way. I have talked privately to makers and creators about their products, but up to this point, I'd never been offered one from those people and I felt I was able to be objective because I'd spent my money on their product and I didn't really know them personally. I state in my About section that I will disclose any product given to me at the beginning of the review, so consider this that disclosure.
I don't worry about pissing off a maker. Sorry, but making them happy isn't what this blog is about. What I worried about was losing credibility with the readers, the handful of you that have expressed to me via emails, comments, etc, that you check my site when interested in a purchase and value my opinions. A lot of what I talk about, especially lately, is if the product is WORTH the money, and I often question pricing choices from these companies. I don't want to lose that angle. That angle is important to me, because many of us in this country are budgeting these days to make sure we get by and stay out of debt. So I worried what getting a free item would do to that.
So here's my pledge: no matter how much I like the person behind the company that has given me a product, I plan to review it honestly and truthfully. I plan on being fair. And any harsh criticisms will never be personal...I can like a person and hate their product (or vice versa)...hell, I love my family although I hate their politics most the time!
Mike Linn from Original Content Books actually made this pretty easy on me. There is a lot to like about this Modern Notebook Folio. It's not without its flaws, but as I've asked Mr. Linn some follow-up questions about them, he's assured me that he is iterating and the product will continue to get better and possibly expand.
This is the type of thing I would have killed for back when I was selling beer for a living. I used to carry around the Moleskine iPad Folio on a daily basis. It was that fake pleather thing that had a spot for their large Volant top bound soft cover book. The problem was that the iPad was on the wrong side. I needed to write on the right and have the iPad on the left, but it was the other way around. And this one didn't allow for just turning everything upside down and basically switching sides, because the way it held the iPad didn't allow for that. I think they've since changed the design, but I'll say this: it was heavy, unwieldy, and ultimately led to some RSI issues that went away once I ditched it for a naked iPad and a Field Notes in my back pocket.
The OCB Folio gives me what I want: paper on the right, tablet on the left. Included in the tablet holder is a 30 page A5 sketch pad. This is pretty decent paper, and it's just glue bound on one side for easy tearing off. It's French Paper Co 70# Sweet Tooth Bright White. It holds up to most writing tools pretty well. I was even surprised it took the wet AF Jinhao like a champ.
The A5 notebook is a behemoth. It's the same 70# paper as the sketchpad, 148 pages of it. It is a stitched binding. It doesn't seem very secure at all. It's all folded into one big signature, as opposed to a bunch of thinner ones stitched up then put together, a la the Confidant or Moo Notebook. At 148 pages and bound this way, it's a little too thick and won't quite lay how I'd like it. The spine is going to need some serious breaking in to lay flat. The ruling on the paper is very light, and I'm happy there. There are 2 ruling options: graph or dot grid / lined. I wish there were a lined only option, but for me, I went with dot grid / lined so I could at least get half of what I prefer. I'm slowly starting to prefer dot grid over graph as well, so it was a plus. One thing that bugs me is that the lines don't go all the way to the edge of the page. It always reminds me of the super cheap, printed-on-one-side-only legal pads you get when you buy a cheap leather folio. Starting at page 99, the pages are perforated. That's the back third of the book. It's a cool idea, but in my unit the pages were a little loose from opening and closing the book a few times. Maybe if it were bound differently that wouldn't happen.
AND THE RIBBON IS LONG. And useful. Thank you.
Now, onto the folio itself. This wasn't designed as a system that sticks you with using only their books. Any A5-ish sized book will do. And Original Content Books knows you may already have a book preference; they list a whole host of books that will work with the Modern Notebook Folio, even with purchase links. I was surprised when I saw that. It's one thing to say "this fits any A5 journal" but it's another to say "these are some other books you might love that fit inside our product, even though we sell notebooks, and here are the links to buy them elsewhere." Kudos to Mr. Linn. It may not be the best "business" decision, but it is a customer-focused decision that I applaud. There is a large strap sewn in to hold the back cover of your notebook on the right-hand side. It can be flipped to make it good for lefties. Also, it is open on both sides, so you can slide it in any way you want. The only thing you can't do is use a top-bound book. I had a Baron Fig Confidant and Vanguard, a Write Notepads Paper Journal and Traditional Journal, and a Field Notes Pitch Black Note Book in there. All fit, the Field Notes and BF Vanguard slid around a bit. They are a bit shorter than A5, so there was wiggle room. Not the fault of the Folio, of course. The Confidant didn't slide around because of the thicker cover, even though it is shorter than A5.
On the inside spine, there is a pencil / pen loop. One side is thin, for pencils or thin pens, and the other is thick, for fountain pens, thicker pens, or jumbo pencils. Back when my daily carry was a Zebra G-301 gel pen, I wouldn't have liked the fact that my pen spot was so fat. But I understand why it was done. Some people may not like the thin slot, if they want to carry 2 fountain pens, or a fountain pen and a thick mechanical pencil like the Kuru Toga. I don't know what the solution is here, but it was probably best to include one of each. If you're a freak about not wanting pens to touch, you may have an issue: the two writing utensils will touch each other and they will touch the tablet or sketchbook you decide on.
Speaking of the tablet side: it is held in place by 4 corner clips that are attached to elastic that is secured underneath the inner cover material. Again, I don't know what the solution is here, but I'm not a big fan of the clips. They hold the tablet securely, but I certainly don't trust elastic to last that long, especially not as long as this well-built folio seems like it will last. Also, the clips like to catch the corner of the opposite notebook when closing it up. You have to make a concerted effort for that NOT to happen, actually. As far as iPads go, the iPad mini is the only thing that will fit. The 9.7 inch iPad Pro or the "new iPad" 9.7 inch (I hate Apple's naming conventions sometimes) will fit in the clips at max stretch, but the tablet is just too big for the folio itself. Don't do it, don't try it. Also, the iPad mini is probably on it's way out, at least that's what a lot of the Mac nerds whose podcasts I listen to say. So my recommendation is to use this side for its other intended purpose, the sketch pad. The only bad thing I'll say about the sketchpad is that it's hard to tear off the top page when it's in the clips. Other than that, sketchpad over tablet is my preferred method. However, if you DO have an iPad mini and love it (or other tablet...why?) this folio is perfect if you've been wanting to join your analog and digital carry. One caveat: I recommend putting the notebook in "backwards" if you plan on using your tablet with the notebook at the same time. Slide the front cover in from the open side instead of the back cover in from the spine side. That way, when you open the notebook to write something you won't be covering up your tablet. It also alleviates the notebook catching in the clips problem a little bit as well.
The front cover has a neat little area to slide in a sheet of paper for either a to-do list, scratch paper, some important notes, whatever. OCB recommends that you take out one of the sheets from the back of the notebook and use it there as a to-do list. It's a nice idea if you don't mind having your to-do list out in the open for people to see. I'll keep mine hidden...no one needs to know my plans for world domination. You'll all see in due time...muahahaha.
The materials are all vegan-friendly, with my grey crosshatch having fabric on the outside and micro-fiber polyester on the inside. There are 3 folio colors available, Mint Green, Matte Black, and the one I asked for, the Grey Crosshatch. There are 5 notebooks colors available: blue, black, white, orange, and mint green. When you go to the shop to check it out, you'll notice two versions: Thin and Wide. I am reviewing the Wide. Thin was from the first run and didn't fit as many books as the Wide does. Thin fits the OCB Project Notebook as well as many A5 sizes, but doesn't fit bigger books like the Leuchtturm1917 and Rhodia Webnotebook. If you use a thinner book, you can catch a deal: OCB is selling Thins, sans notebook, for $20 instead of the standard $35.
If you get the Wide folio kit, you'll get everything I talked about here today: Project Notebook, Modern Folio, and the Sketchpad. All for $55. Project Notebook refills are $20 and the Sketchpad refills are $7.50. To buy the Modern Folio Wide itself is $35...you'll be bringing your own books, but if you're like me, you have many in waiting. This seems like a decent price to me: The iPad Mini folio from Moleskine retails at $65, and this has more bells & whistles such as better paper, the ability to use different notebooks, the iPad area isn't locked down to ONLY be for a tablet...for $10 less.
Overall, though there are a few things I would change, this is a solid product. I can't say that the bad things aren't fixable (or even that bad, really) and the good parts of it are really good. If you're in the market for something like this, the Original Content Books Modern Folio is worth taking a look at.
Part of my deal with OCB and Mr. Linn was that I get to giveaway one of these to the readers. So, here's the deal: below is a Newsletter form. I don't have a newsletter. But it's the best way to get your name and email address without getting a bunch of emails myself. So enter it in there and I will put your name on the list. I will choose at random, one winner on Saturday, May 20th. The winner will receive the same thing I reviewed, the whole kit. Your Project Notebook will be blue, however...I claimed the orange one! One note: the giveaway is for the Continental United States ONLY. I can't afford the US Postal Service's outrageous fees to send things out of the country (or to Alaska & Hawaii). Sorry, but that's just the way it has to be.
Available at Original Content Books. Modern Folio Kit, $55.
The Giveaway has ended. Thanks to all those that entered!
First thing is first: Baron Fig...take a breather! Holy crap you are releasing a bunch of stuff! I honestly can't even keep track. I do know that the Metamorphosis is the 3rd in the first year of the Limited Edition subscription. I think we've seen 1 Archer pencil release, 1 Squire pen release, and 2 Vanguard softcover notebook releases, unless they're counting the original Squire and Archer as the first of the series. Subscriptions aren't limited, so you can jump on any time and get in on the action.
Let's get to the new Confidant: the Metamorphosis. The main theme here is a quote from Vincent Van Gogh: "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." The icon design on the packaging shows a bunch of tiny bubbles rising through a series of cylinders and becoming bigger and bigger until they become one at the top. It's a really cool way to visualize the quote. The inner card has the quote and a similar bubble theme, yet the bubbles are all over the place. I would actually love a print of this. For now, I guess I'll hang the book-sized card above my desk.
The inside covers of the book also expand on this theme in a neat way: the front inside cover has the main illustration from the box, colors reversed. In my mind, it represents the "start" of your ideas, with all the bubbles floating around. In the back inside cover, it has the cylinders stacked and empty, with no bubbles anywhere. The your idea has hopefully gotten so big and come to fruition that it has flown off the page; your bubble is now floating in the real world.
Dot grid seems to be the only way these pages could go: they're the tiniest of all the bubbles, and by filling them, you are slowly growing and expanding the idea, page by beautiful page.
Speaking of beautiful, the color of the book is amazing. I dunno if this is salmon, peach, or Millennial Pink, but I don't care. Whatever the color is called, I dig it. It is muted, but offset by a very deep and intense blue on the inside covers and ribbon. It's close to the Askew blue, but I feel a little more navy...inching that way, anyway.
If you're reading this blog and you don't know the specs on a Baron Fig Confidant, first of all, welcome, and secondly: Buy one. Here's the specs for the uninitiated:
192 pages with paper good for fountain pen, other pens, and pencil (especially true HBs...the paper is a bit toothy and treats pencils as a bit softer than their grade.)
5.4" x 7.7"
Lays flat (crack the spine, don't be afraid!)
12 perforated pages in the back.
I'm happy this is a step heading back towards the "normal" Confidant. THIS is what I subscribed for. This is my favorite of their Confidant releases so far, and it just barely gets edged out as the overall favorite by the Vanguard Black Box. If I wasn't somewhat of a sci-fi fan, this would have won all the way. (note to self: buy another Black Box)
Available from Baron Fig, $20, while supplies last.
Write Notepads has released an A5-ish sized PUR bound journal as part of their everyday offerings. The cover is 80# French paper cover stock with their standard 70# text paper. This is basically the same as their pocket notebook in a larger size.
At the moment, the only color you can get is gray and the only ruling available is lined, but they've said it will be available in more options soon. In the package you get two 80 page journals. Being PUR bound, just like their pocket notebooks, they will lay flat and will fold back on themselves, but it takes a little tough love and not being timid about breaking the spine. Check out the gallery below for a few pictures.
I didn't do writing tests because this is the same paper as in the pocket notebooks. I will say I've taken notes in these with pencil and fountain pens, and the paper performs exactly the same as their smaller brethren.
Comparing this book to others in it's similar size category, the Write is the tallest at 8½ inches, or 216mm. The Rhodia Side Stapled sits at the true A5 size, which is a bit wider than the Write Paper Journal, by about 8mm. Moleskine is a little smaller, Baron Fig Vanguard a little smaller than that, the Field Notes Arts & Sciences size bringing up the rear at 121mm x 191mm. Surface area-wise, the true A5, Rhodia, wins. The Write Paper Journal is essentially half of the US standard 8½" x 11" letter size, clocking in at 8½" x 5½".
It's hard to really review these as a new product, because it is just a bigger version of the pocket notebook, and those have gotten plenty of coverage previously on this site and others. Just know that if you like the pocket size, you'll like the Paper Journal.
Available from Write Notepads, $15.99 for a 2-pack.