Review: Tops Designer Notebook

Here’s a notebook that I’ve never seen in any stores, but spotted on a couple of websites, including Amazon and WB Mason. The online images made the Tops Designer Notebook look like a typical Moleskine-type notebook but in nice colors like blue and red, and the price was quite low. But how does it really compare when you see it up close? Let’s take a look!

Here’s the front and back cover. The removable paper band is made of a translucent vellum paper.

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The back view provides the first departure from the standard Moleskine set of features– the elastic band attaches in the middle of the notebook instead of at the top and bottom

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As you can see from the next photo, there is quite a large overhang of the cover beyond the paper.

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The outside dimensions of the notebook are about the same as a Moleskine, but the pages inside are much smaller.

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When you open the notebook, that elastic starts to seem really weird– the way it’s attached leaves it hanging quite loose.

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At first I thought it might have been made that way so you’d have the option of wrapping it around sideways like a Ciak or Piccadilly Primo journal, but it’s too loose to work that way.

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Here’s a closeup of the cover material– it’s hard to see, but it has an unusual texture, not the usual vaguely leather-ish feel. The closest thing I can compare it to would be the surface of a cinder block, or a stucco wall!

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The inside front cover is blank:

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But when you turn to the first page, there’s the space for writing your info, on the inside of the endpaper. The binding is a bit tight and the notebook doesn’t open flat very easily.

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There’s no pocket in the back, just a logo.

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So how about the paper? I’m sorry to say that it’s quite disappointing. It’s quite thin and showed some of the worst bleed-through I’ve seen in any notebook I’ve reviewed:

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I have to say that I found this notebook very disappointing overall. The weird elastic and small, skimpy pages just bothered me. The price for these notebooks on Amazon is currently $5.49 (or $8-12 for a larger size), though I think it was about a dollar less when I bought mine. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re even worth that much– Piccadilly’s notebooks cost less at Borders and are far superior in quality. The only upside to these might be the color and texture of the cover, but that’s a matter of taste.

Specs:

96 lined pages

132 x 85mm

Made in Malaysia

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2 Responses to “Review: Tops Designer Notebook”

  1. Piccadilly seems to be the inexpensive notebook to beat these days :)

    Thank you for all your reviews – keeps my curiosity happy ^^

  2. [...] that are the same size on the exterior. I found it very noticeable here, as it was with the Tops notebook I reviewed a while [...]

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