Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Rhodia Webnotebook "Webbie" A6 Black

This is a review of the Rhodia Webnotebook A6 in Black - also known as the “Webbie”.

MMMM!!! More Rhodia!!! Does it get any better than this? No. Well, maybe if I could frolic in a giant room full of Rhodia Webbies, it would be better. Anyway, doing reviews on Rhodia products is a delight. It's really a cinch because it's easy to gush on when you love something!


Hard-bound Italian leatherette cover
90 g ivory paper, acid-free & pH neutral
96 sheets - ruled, blank or dot grid
Ribbon marker
Elastic closure
Inner pocket for notes and cards
Elegant round corners

Styles: Orange, Black

Interior Page Rulings: Lined, Blank, Dot Grid

Okay. Let's start. First, I love Rhodia. I always have. Ever since I bought my first Rhodia Reverse Book at Target over a year ago, I fell in love. Note: in order to acquire this, we had to drive from Winnipeg to Grand Forks. Not a terribly long drive but it’s embarrassing to admit we drove for several hours just for a notebook. BUT NOT ANY NOTEBOOK! I cannot emphasize the quality of this stuff enough. When we finally moved to Texas, it totally opened up the doors for acquiring awesome notebooks, particularly Rhodia. I was really excited about moving for this very reason.
Embossed Rhodia logo is super classy!
Again, fairly standard for most notebooks of this style to have a hard cover, an expandable pocket on the back cover, a page marker, and an elastic closure, as well as being available in a small and large size. On first glance, an inexperienced notebook-lover could mistake this for a Moleskine. And wow. What a mistake that would be.
Top to bottom: Rhodia Webnotebook A6 in black, Ecosystem Blank Journal medium in kiwi, Leuchtturm1917 medium notebook in lavender, Quo Vadis Habana in Raspberry large + Bright White 90g Paper.

The reasons I LOOOOVE the Rhodia Webnotebook (I suppose normal/non stationery freaks would call this section Pros):

- The material is all high quality, from the solid, smooth leatherette cover down to the incredible 90 g paper (archival quality, by the way). Every penny is worth it on these divine notebooks/notepads. You will not be disappointed. To me, the Rhodia Webbie is in the same league as the Quo Vadis Habana. Both will have you drooling. Publicly. Inappropriately.

- It is also available with the dot grid, a ruling that I absolutely love! As I mentioned in my review of the Leuchtturm 1917 medium notebook, dots are awesome for keeping your writing straight but still allowing you to look like you can awesomely write straight without obvious lines for guidance. They’re like a cross between graph paper and lined - best of both worlds for me. And still leaves enough blank page for sketching (sketching on lines looks funny, unless the lines contribute to it).

- Also available in a really nice, not-vile-to-look-at, rather pleasing orange for more pizzazz than black. To me, this orange is a signature orange. I don't know why other notebooks copy. They cannot compete - check out Pantone and Moleskine. This exact point was recently brought up on Rhodia Drive.

- The paper is known for being fountain pen-friendly. You won’t see any bleeding, even with the heaviest writing and broad nibs, nor with inky gel pens. The paper is so thick and smooth that not only is writing with ANY pen an absolute delight, and it won’t feather your inks either.
Note bleedthrough from Sharpie ultra fine point on bottom of left side page. No biggie.fp2+Resized
This page written on the back side of the previous page - no bleedthrough!!

- Despite being 96 pages, it keeps the notebook thin enough to be portable, but you can write on both sides! So you have ... *thinks*... (what’s 96 x 2??)... 192 pages of writing surface. ... I should double check that number but I'm too lazy.

- Just as the Quo Vadis Habana has rounded edges and paper, so does the Rhodia Webbie. It look elegant, and it also protects your paper from catching on your sleeve, for example, making your notebook look newer, longer.

- Brings out the beauty of the colors of your inks - fountain pen and gel inks pop and are vibrant and gorgeous. I love the way it looks. It'll really give you a reason to justify needing several shades of every color you already own. I swear. You'll be able to detect every difference. It's awesome.

- Very micro tip friendly. I have a few Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm gel ink pens that are a nuisance to write with on other papers (i.e Leuchtturm 1917/Moleskines). I was really disappointed and frustrated because I had gotten a whack load of the 0.3 mm pens and I was wondering how on earth I was going to be able to use them. Along comes the sweet, sweet Webbie. The paper is so smooth, it pulls and draws the micro tips along and feels like it’s sucking the ink out of them, which gives me the smoothest, non-scratchy writing experience with micro tips (an unfortunate thing that can happen on “regular” paper).


- The leatherette cover gets scuffs, marks and fingerprints easily. It looks really great new but if you’re obsessive like I am, you’ll notice right away when you get your first scuff. And you’ll dwell on it far longer than is healthy. I've had mine for a few months now and it still looks new but I'm pretty OCD about taking care of my notebooks. If you're careless, you might do some damage to it. But then if you're truly that careless, you should not be allowed to touch a Rhodia.

- Doesn’t lay flat. This generally drives me nuts. Fortunately, the pros outweigh the cons and I can easily look past this downside because of the great quality and wonderful experience writing in this notebook gives me. It sure makes it hard to take pictures of (I apologize for the blurry bits...I couldn't get it flat without my hands in the way and no one wants pictures of that).
- Pressing hard with a Sharpie marker gets the ink to bleed through but I was really squishing down on it. And the bleeding is not nearly as bad as what a lot of other papers do (even when they claim to be fountain pen friendly...*coughLeuchtturm1917cough*). Sidenote: I'm not against Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks, I rather like them. But they're not fountain pen friendly as they claim. Not for my style anyway.

Other Observations (not necessarily pros nor cons):

- The elastic closure is really snug. It left an imprint in the cover and because I’m OCD, I have to replace the elastic back onto the same spot every time I close it. It can’t be in a new spot. That would just be chaos.
- Ink takes a smidge longer to dry on this paper than on “regular” (non spectacular fountain pen-friendly paper) but it’s totally worth it. Just be prepared to not smear your hands all over it until you know it's dry.


The Container Store - $12.99
JetPens - $14.50 each


I can’t say enough good things about this notebook. Except that I can’t wait to get the bigger one. If you are looking for fountain pen paper specifically, or just want a cute and awesome notebook, this is a fantastic choice. You won't be disappointed by its quality and the experience of writing on divine paper.
I had a helper for this review: Koa the Bengal.


Shangching said...

Your detailed review is always a pleasure to read. I recently got one from a give-away and I do not know whether I have the heart to use the notebook. The pages are smooth, and pens just glide on pages like butter. It is such a luxury to use Rhodia products!

GourmetPens said...

:D *Blush* thank you! And thank you for commenting :) At least I know a few people are reading my rambles! Which makes all my hours spent reviewing not a total self-indulgent waste hehe.

I'm just like you - I've never had the heart to use my notebooks. Only now with having the excuse of reviewing is it easier to break their poor spines and deface them with my scrawl. So exciting that you won a giveaway! What did you win??

Shangching said...

I recently won a Rhodia Premium "R" pad, and about a month ago, I won a Webbie. Before this, I have purchased Webbies as gifts for other, but now I finally have my own :) Now the challenge is to figure out how I will use it.

Gourmet Pens said...

oh man those are like the best wins ever! mmm! Your blog is awesome. You should feature them on there!

tim atherton said...

I love a notebook where the cover is all scuffed up and marked from being tossed around in my bag with pens and keys and camera or from being stuffed in my coat pocket along with my Swiss Army Kinife, assorted forgotten screws and paperclips... :-)

(and yes, I love the webbies #1 among my notebooks)

Anonymous said...

I have to say I think your style of review and your writing voice is awesome. It is refreshing to read a decent author of reviews. I can't thank you enough. I am so over reading terrible writers and their reviews (almost every other stationary/paper and office supplies reviewer out there). It amazes me the popularity if so many awful blogs and writers. Great job!

One quick opinion; My experience has been if you use your webbie laying flat and make it open all the way (far enough for it to lay flat) and break in the binding a little it will definitely lay flat. But then I do understand your OC disorder and wanting to keep your notebooks pristine. I guess that is a trade off for people to decide on an individual basis.

Thanks again and great job!

GourmetPens said...

@tim atherton - Ah! Indeed a used, scuffed notebook has a lot of character! I should try this out... put it in my bag freely and see how it turns out :)

@J.Lane - Thank you! Thank you so much for your kind words! It's so wonderful to know others are reading and appreciate my weirdness about stationery! I have been wondering for awhile if my review style is acceptable or if I should try to be more formal about it. Thank you again for commenting to let me know :) As soon as this Webbie is full, I'll get a new one... and break its binding. Hehe and see if I can handle it!

Hitoshi Harada said...

Finally this product will become available this autumn in Japan. Thanks for your helpful review. I wish your helper did not participate in the scuff assay stage.

Andreas Alexander Aguila said...

How did you figure that the paper is of archival quality? I personally doubt that a Rhodia notebook would survive for a hundred years.

Azizah Asgarali said...

Thank you! I hope you will like it as much as I do :)

Azizah Asgarali said...

LOL Hey, it might! It's supposed to be archival because it's pH neutral and acid-free :)

Tom said...

I'm using a webbie as an ink journal for my fountain pen inks. I can't currently see myself buying one as a standard journal, as writing on both sides of the page would be difficult with the non-flat-lying properties. For an ink journal, I only need to use one side of each page. A shame, really. I've got a Leuchtturm1917 that lies flat though.

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