Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: Piccadilly Essential Medium Notebook - Ruled

This is a review of the Piccadilly Essential ruled notebook in medium.   
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- Hard cover
- 240 pages
- Off-white page color
- 80 GSM wood-free, acid-free
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I don’t really need to review this notebook because there are several reviews out there already and some that even compare the Piccadilly to the Moleskines. I just wanted to though because I had a problem with my one and only Piccadilly being poorly put together! But it's so cheap so it's hard to complain.

The Piccadilly notebook is very similar to Moleskines - a black cover, an elastic closure, a pocket on the back cover, and it is available in plain, graphed, or ruled paper. However, the Piccadilly has a nice satin bookmarker!
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The one I picked up has a new soft type cover that is flexible but not supple. It is just stiff enough that it gives some structure to the notebook but is not thick and hard like the typical hardcover notebooks. It is smooth and somewhat matte and has the Piccadilly logo stamped on the back cover.

The medium notebook is nice and portable. Big enough that it’s easy to write in but not too big to be tucked into a purse or backpack without adding considerable weight.

Usually, with notebooks that are targeted to the general population (and not insane fountain pen lovers such as myself), one expects the paper to be the thing that is only so-so. Surprisingly, I found the paper to be smooth and acceptable. Most gel ink pens only showed through a little bit, and did not bleed through, with the exception of the Sakura IdentiPen Dual.
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Fountain pens in any nib size did bleed through, especially in the swabbed areas. This is not surprising and of course, this notebook is not intended for fountain pen use. But then, the inks performed decently on this paper so if you don’t mind skipping the page behind your fountain pen writing, the paper is actually pretty decent. Most of my inks did not feather at all. Not bad, Piccadilly, not bad.
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As is noted by No Pen Intended, since Borders has gone under, a complaint is Piccadilly’s limited availability. I searched and searched to find an active online retailer to share. How are people supposed to buy things when they can’t even find it? Hmph. Even the Piccadilly site has limited stock right now.

Given that these notebooks are infamously cheap, I shouldn’t complain too much. That said, I am disappointed at the quality of construction of this one. I unwrapped it from the plastic, opened it and had written in just two pages with fountain pens when I noticed that the front cover was separating from the cardboard it was attached to.
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And then the cats wouldn’t stop hanging around and watching the notebook and I couldn’t figure out why. I always tuck the bookmark out of the way so they can’t spot it and chew on it. But they were staring at the elastic closure which is attached to the back cover. The frayed end of this one was sticking out of the bottom of the back cover. But again - they’re so cheap so it’s a toss up. I like pretty, put together notebooks but that’s just me and I’m a brat that way.
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Similar reviews you should check out:

No Pen Intended
tlaine via Fountain Pen Network


Piccadilly - $2.99 for small
                    $4.99 for medium
                    $6.99 for large

The price is great, hands down. Especially when compared to a very similar product by Moleskine, but the quality is a bit shoddy in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, I use notebooks for journalling and want them to last, and my only experience with these are with the notebook falling apart after being used only a few times. I’m disappointed but then, if I wasn’t using it for keeping forever, it would be great, maybe for practicing calligraphy or sketches in which it would probably get pretty beat up anyway. I wouldn’t use them for everything but they are a great price for scribbling notes and doodling in.


Shangching said...

Too bad an economic notebook that might have quality flaws! Have you tried this Spanish brand call Miquelrius? You can find it at Barnes and Noble. The price is fair, given the numbers of pagination, and it is... FP FRIENDLY!! I usually do not use all caps, but it performs beyond my expectation. It is also the notebook that got me hooked on grid paper. Check it out when you have a chance!

razide said...

Interesting notebook, you get a lot of pages for the money pity about the robustness.

You should take your cats notebook shopping they seem to have a keen eye for detail.

private said...

I am a huge fan of Picadilly, so I am glad you reviewed this one. That being said, I loved the photos you chose and the number of colors you sampled was insane!

Great work on this one, as usual.

GourmetPens said...

@Shangching - It is too bad! I am slightly disappointed but it would be a good book, price wise, for practicing my calligraphy and such. Funny you mentioned Miquel Rius! I actually just picked up a journal while my brother was visiting and I am a big fan of it already. Will do a review :)

@ razide - I still can't argue with the price... sigh. Others seem to have notebooks that stayed intact longer than mine did so maybe I just got a freak one...

@Economy Pens - Thank you :) Sorry to be a downer on the quality of this one. Muahahah!! I love doing the writing and ink samples! Scary though, how long it takes me hehe

MyNameIsPete! said...

I Just bought a Picadilly binder style sketchbook, and while the paper is decent, the over all quality is low. The pages are hard to turn, and rip when turning the page. I actually figured out a way to fix that problem, but now the sketchbook's cover won't shut all the way. So to fix that I'll have to terror out a dozen or so pages, so that I can actually shut the binder.
So I'm a little disappointed in Picadilly's quality, but with a little adjusting I'll be able to make it work. I guess for $8 though it wasn't a bad deal. If they sold them for more it'd be a ripoff.

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