I bought the Metro notebook about a year ago, at artsupply.com. I think I had just stumbled across it while browsing around and searching for notebooks, and I was intrigued because it looked like a standard little Moleskine-clone and the price was really low, only $2.48 (plus shipping). They are no longer available on that site, and I haven’t seen them anywhere else. Before you get all frustrated thinking there’s a nice cheap notebook out there and I can’t tell you where to buy it, let me just say it’s no great loss! The Metro notebook wins the prize for being the WORST NOTEBOOK I’VE EVER REVIEWED ON THIS SITE! (So far, anyway…)
Pretty harsh, huh? I’ve reviewed notebooks that had a few quality issues. And I’ve reviewed many notebooks that weren’t really my cup of tea, but I could at least appreciate things about them that other people might like. But this notebook should have been exactly the type of notebook I love, except that it failed miserably in pretty much every respect. Let’s dive in and explore the atrocity!
As I said, it’s a standard made-in-China Moleskine-clone: pocket sized, black cover, elastic, ribbon marker, and expanding back pocket. Pretty much the same size as the pocket Moleskine shown next to it for comparison, just slightly shorter. There’s no branding inside, and the Metro name is stamped on the back cover in metallic ink.
The minute you pick it up, you start to notice the crappiness– the cover material has a shiny, cheap feel to it and shows some wrinkles and dings. The printed-on logo is already wearing off. The cover overhang is all over the place– completely cock-eyed with the pages sticking out slightly at the bottom on one side and the cover sticking way out on the top on one side.
The corners are not exactly rounded, as they’ve just folded them with one little tuck that leaves them kind of angled. When you open to the inside front cover, you can see glue stains along the edges (they are hard to see in these photos, but very noticeable in person), and the glue is coming loose.
The notebook does not open very flat as it does not have sewn signatures– it is perfect-bound, with the pages cut and glued together at the spine.
The pages are a yellowish creamy color– to me it looked like the kind of yellowing that can come from acid aging the paper, so I was surprised to see my pH test show that the paper was acid-free. The paper is a bit less smooth than a Moleskine, and perhaps a bit thinner (no weight is specified). The pens I tested worked fine for the most part, with a bit of feathering from the Accu-Liner, and some spread when I held it in place for 5 seconds. But showthrough and bleedthrough were worse than usual.
The paper in this notebook is not great, but it shines in comparison to the shoddy construction around it. I suppose it’s somewhat to be expected for a notebook that was so low-priced, but I was still kind of amazed at just how bad it was! I would be interested to know if any readers have bought one of these with better results. As a notebook enthusiast and addict, I can usually find something to like or appreciate about almost any notebook, but the Metro really has no redeeming qualities! I feel like I have to keep it in my collection just for comparative purposes, but I’ll have to bury it somewhere I won’t come across it often. If you love notebooks the way I do, you know what a pleasure it can be just to fondle a really nice one– the opposite is true as well! It’s almost painful for me to look at and touch this deeply disappointing, badly made notebook.
Verdict: Do not waste $2.48 or even a penny on the heinous, awful Metro notebook!!