Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review: Rhodia Webnotebook "Webbie" A6 Black

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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!

Features

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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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Cons:

- 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).
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- 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.
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- 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.

Price:

The Container Store - $12.99
JetPens - $14.50 each

Overall:

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.
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I had a helper for this review: Koa the Bengal.

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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