Sunday, 29 September 2013

Review of Paperluxe déjà vu notebook

[warning: long post with quite a few pictures. Click on any picture to enlarge]

As part of the haul of notebooks sent to me by Grandluxe (read reviews here, here, here and here), I was also sent some of their Paperluxe déjà vu notebooks. I was sent 5 in total: two in A5 size and three in A6. These are the only sizes these notebooks come in, and I was sent a sample of each of the five colours available: brown, blue, grey, orange, green and lime.

Brown (l) and green (r) A5
Clockwise from top left: lime A5, grey, blue, orange (all A6)

The catalogue describes the déjà vu books thus:
Jersey fabric cover; 192 leaves of 80 gsm acid free cream woodfree paper with alternate lined and blank pages; perfect bound; round corners.
Recommended retail price for the A5 is £9.99 and for the A6 is £5.99

Although they are technically hardbound, they are less rigid than others and I would say they are semi-rigid. The cover can be flexed easily, but not folded.

Dimensions:
A5 – cover = 211 mm x 152 mm. Page size = 206 mm x 144 mm
A6 – cover = 150 mm x 106 mm. Page size = 144 mm x 100 mm

Cover:
The jersey fabric is interesting, with a definite grain to it – stroking from top to bottom of the book is smooth; stroking the cover from bottom to top is rough. The colours are quite pleasant and not as vibrant as the other notebooks I’ve reviewed from the company. There is no elastic closure nor is there a ribbon marker in the book. I tend to prefer smooth covers on notebooks so they feel unusual, but not unpleasant. There is no branding on the front. On the back there is Paperluxe, and there is déjà vu printed on the spine in white, sans serif font.

Green (A5) and blue (A6) plastic film and label removed - front
Green (A5) and blue (A6) plastic film and label removed -back
Close-up of fabric: green
Close-up of fabric: blue
Label on spine

Inside:
There is a cream paper lining the cover which continues to form the fly-leaf. As usual, this is stuck to the first page, making the first page not open quite properly. The books do not in any way lie flat. The paper is smooth, with the lines not quite extending to the edges of the page. There is Paperluxe printed on the bottom right hand corner of each sheet, just under the bottom line of the page.
Line spacing in the A5 is 7 mm; in the A6 it is 6 mm. There are 27 lines in the A5 and 22 lines in the A6. The right-hand page is lined with the left-hand page left blank.

A5 open (A6 holding page open)
A6 open (A5 holding page open)

Fountain pen test:
I took out a leaf from the middle of one of the A6 notebooks to do the fountain pen test on. The paper is (I think) the same as is used in the Grandluxe lined notebooks by the same company. It certainly performed as badly as that. The page, though smooth to the touch, soaks up ink and so there is significant feathering and bleed-through and the pen strokes are writing much broader than on other paper. Since the reverse of the page is blank (and perhaps not designed to be written on) maybe the bleed-through isn’t as irritating as it is in the other notebooks. However, I wonder if “déjà vu” as the name was chosen deliberately, given the level of bleed-through.

Fountain-pen test (front)
Fountain pen test (reverse)
Fountain pen test (reverse in more detail)

Overall:
I love notebooks in which I can write with a fountain pen. These books are not designed with that in mind. If you don’t write with fountain pen, they are nice, chunky notebooks with lots of pages and blank space for sticking things in (if that takes your fancy).
However, if, like me, you prefer writing in fountain pen, these notebooks won’t cut it.
Stars: 2/5

Details of how to find Grandluxe products:

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Disclaimer: although I was given these books to review, this has been my honest opinion of the book reviewed. I have not been paid to review the books, nor am I in the employ of Grandluxe.

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