Sunday, 9 October 2011

Review of Habana Smooth

Working my way through reviewing all my notebooks from The Journal Shop, it’s the turn of the Habana smooth (2 pack). I had originally bought these because I thought they would be good for planning the new book in, but a) they were too thin and b) they didn’t lie flat enough (and I have enough to worry about when I’m writing not to have to fret about pinning down the corners of a notebook so that I can read it). I’ll be using an A5 filofax for the book planning instead.

The cover is very smooth but I don’t know what it’s made of – not leather but some form of plastic or vinyl? Anyway, it feels sturdy enough to be able to write in the book without having something other than your knee to lean on, but is still flexible. The cover had a label giving its description (ruled notebook) in six languages and the number and weight of the pages – 96 pages; 85g (presumably per m2). The book is 16 x 24 cm with rounded corners and a discreet logo at the bottom right of the cover.

corner logo and rounded corners

The first page is blank (and, as ever, stuck down the spine edge to the first lined page). There’s no ‘title page’ like there is in the Ciak.
As you can see from the first lined page, I am using this notebook as a running log/journal. I’m aiming to do a half marathon for charity in May 2012 and thought I would record the highs and lows of my running schedule. This seemed slim enough to not end up with oodles of blank pages at the end!
Although it doesn’t really lie flat, with some persuasion, it can be encouraged to lie almost flat!

first lined page - you can see the front sheet is stuck to it
The paper is thinner than in the Ciak but is very smooth to write on and copes well with fountain pen. My Parker Sonnet always lays down a lot of ink during writing and this did sit on the surface a bit – enough that I would need to use a blotter before turning the page, to be honest. But, there is minimal bleed-through to the other side with any of: Parker Sonnet, Parker italic nib or Osmiroid flat-tip nib (my three favourite pens!). You can see in the following picture how little the bleed-through is (and I know – I write really dull things about my running!).  The thing holding the pages open is my Garmin!

minimal bleed-through and nice to write in fountain pen in
It’s interesting (to me) to note that the same thing that happens when writing in a Moleskine seems to happen in this book too – the blue/black ink from the Osmiroid always gets lighter and more turquoise looking after a day or so. The top entry (from the 5th Oct) looks paler and more greeny than the entry from today (8th). Maybe it’s the cream pages?

The line-spacing is quite narrow (5.5 mm) so if you had large writing you might struggle to fit to the lines. My writing is reasonably small thankfully. For a running journal it’s fine – for book planning it would have been too narrow I think. My Moleskine was 6 mm line spacing and it felt too dense at times, especially in A4 en bloc. There is no ribbon marker in the book.

Overall, I would give it a 3 out of 5. It’s small and good quality, but the line-spacing is a tiny bit tight, it doesn’t lie flat easily and the lack of a ribbon marker is a shame. But, for the price, it’s a good, serviceable notebook.

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