The kind folks at Miro sent me a jumbo pile of journals to review, a selection of which appear below. They have some interesting points of difference with other products out there on the market, so let’s take a look.
Miro has 4 product lines– two are wire-o bound with different types of cover materials– “canvas” and “soft touch.” Then they have stitch-bound utility books, and softcover journals.
First, the utility book. They come in 3 sizes, in black and white, and in lined, squared, and blank pages. They are very similar to Moleskine Cahiers, Field Notes, or Doane Paper Utility Books, but instead of the standard 3.5 x 5.5″ size most people use, these are 3.25 x 5.5″, which might be a nice alternative if you’ve got narrow pockets you slip your notebooks into. The small book has 68 pages, which is more than Field Notes and Doane’s 48, but the same as a Moleskine Cahier. Miro utility notebooks are sold in 2-packs, for $4.99 for the small size, which is a good value vs. the competition.
The design is simple and attractive– a paper band around the set, contrasting stitching on the spine, and a subtle stamped logo on the front cover. There is no inner back pocket on the small notebook, though the larger sizes do have one. The last two pages of the notebook are perforated– I was surprised they didn’t perforate a few more pages than that.
Inside, the paper has a smooth, slightly “soft” feel, with grid lines in a light grey dot matrix. They are a bit wider than the lines on some other notebooks. It felt good with all my pens, though the carbon ink fountain pen feathered a bit. There was a bit more show-through and bleed-through than average.
Let’s also take a look at the Journal. Every journal comes packaged with a bonus utility notebook, cleverly tucked into the paper wrapper.
They are referring to this as a softcover journal, but I first saw it as a hardcover– I guess it’s actually kind of a hybrid– rather than hard cover boards wrapped with the outer material, the cover seems to be a thick multi-layer material that is reinforced enough to be stiffer than most softcover notebooks, though it still has some flexibility to it and it opens flat. The outside has a smooth texture without any fake-leather grain. My favorite feature is the dyed edges, which match the elastic and ribbon marker. Pages stick together slightly at first, but come apart easily.
The ribbon marker itself is a bit chintzy– it was all crumpled on the example I received, and the only thing attaching it to the notebook is a small sticker on the inside back cover, which was easily loosened. This really is unacceptable in my opinion– one slight tug and that ribbon is gone. The pocket on the inside back cover is also a bit more basic than other brands offer– it’s just a paper slot without any gussets.
The Journal comes in black and white, with 5 different accent colors for the edge and elastic, and 3 different sizes. Unfortunately, only lined pages are available. The small size is 3.25 x 5.5″, 192 pages, for $9.99– again a very good value, especially when you factor in the included utility notebook.
Both the Utility notebook and Journal are made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and it’s acid-free.
The Miro notebooks are a nice addition to the variety of products out there. We need more colored edges! And hopefully they’ll update the way they’re attaching their ribbon markers. If you want to check out Miro in a store, you can consult their list of retailer locations. Otherwise, jump in and enter my giveaway! I got quite a few samples so I will select at least 3 lucky winners (as of writing this post, some of the samples are in my office, which I can’t get to because of the Hurricane Sandy power outage, so I forget how many samples I have!) You can enter in the following ways:
On your blog, post something containing the words “Miro notebooks” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday November 9 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.