Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Miquel Rius Red Soft Bound Journal

This is a review of the Miquel Rius soft bound journal in red, with graph paper.
Outside MR Resized
Features (from Miquel Rius): 
- Durable leather-like cover
- Color options of black, blue, green or red
- Page counts of 100, 200 or 300
- Available in horizontal lined or graph paper (4mm squares)
- Paper weight is 70 gr/m2
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Right: Small Quo Vadis Habana in anise green compared to Miquel Rius red soft bound journal
My brother came to visit over the Christmas holidays and he was interested in looking at journals to take back a few gifts so, naturally, I was thrilled to go to Barnes & Noble and browse. I managed to pick up and put back a lot of journals and then I finally saw this one. It was unwrapped from its shrink plastic and I could see all its glorious pages that had been shuffled through. I picked it up and flipped through it and I got lost in paper-fantasy. There were so many pages!! I assumed it would be expensive given the way it felt, so I turned it over... Wha?! $9.95?! Done. I dug around for one that was still wrapped (and thus, unsoiled) and I couldn’t put it back. 

This is the medium size journal containing 300 pages (yes. 300!) with graph ruling. The leather-like cover is apple red and pretty tough - even though it’s soft and thin, it doesn’t scuff or scratch. I raked my nails across it and it didn’t show at all. If I did that with the Rhodia Webbie, I would decimate the cover. Not that I’d ever do this to a journal on a normal day, just so you know - the cover is tough. 
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Thickness comparison: Small Quo Vadis Habana in anise green with 80 sheets of 85 g paper versus Miquel Rius red soft bound journal with 300 pages of 70 g paper.
The whole notebook looks so tidy because the cover is the same size as the pages - no overhang. It’s amazing to look at from the side, to see the giant stack of 300 pages. I am itching to get writing to in it more. It’s going to be incredible when it fills up, I know it is! It will be crinkly and magnificent. I know you know exactly what I mean - the sound of paper that has been written all over!

The paper is 70 g and I wasn't expecting a whole lot from it because come on, let's face, it my paper standards are pretty high. As a comparison, Habanas have 85 g paper and Rhodia ‘R’ Pads have 90 g paper. This journal’s paper feels smooth and the graph ruling is on the smaller side. The lines aren’t very dark either - perfect for writing on. Not surprisingly, most fountain pen inks bled through the pages, although some inks only had a bit of show through. But really, with 300 pages, who cares? I don’t even care if I have to skip a page. The paper is white (although not brilliantly white like the old Habanas were) and it makes fountain pen inks look quite nice. I did ink testing with a Rohrer & Klingner glass dip pen and although I tried to remove excess ink before writing, it still writes very wet so if you’re using a fine nib or a drier fountain pen, you will probably be able to get away with only show through. Another good thing though - none of the inks I tested feathered. 
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Tested with Rohrer & Klingner glass dip pen
Pen Samples Resized
No bleed through with gel ink or ballpoint pens
Marker Samples Resized
Bleed through is inevitable with Sharpie markers on virtually any paper, but highlighters did not bleed through or show through!
And yet another great thing about this journal is that, even with its many pages, it still lays flat. This is a huge plus for me! I hate having to hold down a journal while I’m trying to write. You can also roll it up to stuff it into a small space. It's quite flexible!
Flexible MR Resized
Bendy boop!
Any downsides?

Ok. The 300 pages is awesome. But it also means it’s really thick. And it’s really annoying to write on the backside of the first 50 pages or so because there aren’t enough papers to press on and provide some sturdiness. But since I'm mostly using fountain pens, this is no longer a problem since I’m only writing on one side of the page. If you’re using pens that don’t bleed through and you really want to use both sides of the page, you’ll have to figure out a system to comfortably write. 

The other thing is the binding is glued. So far, it’s still intact (unlike my Piccadilly) but I suspect someday, as I get closer to the middle of the journal, the spine will start separating from the pages. I still like it better than my Piccadilly though. It would be awesome to have a sewn binding but then it probably wouldn’t be a $10 notebook anymore! 

I wouldn't mind some other cover colors to pick from, too!

What am I going to do with this journal?

The plan for this apple is to use it as a fitness and food journal. I will be keeping track of my blood pressure, heart rate, exercise, and meals, every day! It will be a lot of writing but I love writing and organizing and using things up so it will be fun, I’m sure. Aside from having to do the exercise, which will not be a whole lot of fun. Or maybe it will be. 

Read some more about Miquel Rius:

Price
Barnes & Noble - $9.95 

Overall
I really like this notebook. For $10, it makes me like it even more. Something about this journal makes me feel awesome. Maybe it’s because it’s so chock full of pages or because it’s still bendy, despite all the pages in it - I don’t know. I love to hold it and bend it around in my hand, and the paper is so fun to write on because of the way it crinkles afterwards. You can certainly get better quality paper out there if you want it specifically for fountain pens, but really, it’s good to have a variety isn’t it? Easier on the wallet to not be using Clairefontaine paper for EVERYTHING you do! If you like writing on both sides of the page, you could try the 100 or 200 page journal instead. 

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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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