I received these sample notebooks quite a long time ago and I’ve been procrastinating about reviewing them. I try to be an objective analyzer of all notebooks, but it’s impossible not to have my own personal preferences and biases, and in this case I just have to say upfront that these notebooks are not really my thing. My favorite notebooks are pocket sized, minimalist, in neutral colors– and these Schützen notebooks are not really any of those things, so I couldn’t get all that excited about reviewing them. But now that I’ve gotten that admission out of the way, let’s judge them on their own merits, as many other notebook users will surely like them!
Each of these notebooks consists of a refillable binder and a wire-o bound notebook insert. I”ll take a detailed look at the smallest one (shown below next to a pocket Piccadilly notebook for size comparison). The binder is a solid and inflexible board covered with a stitched red leather-like material on the outside, and a patterned fabric on the inside. It is quite sturdy, and has a tab and loop to keep it closed, as well as a pen loop. Inside there is a clear plastic window for a business card, and a slanted pocket where you could tuck a few sheets– probably not too many, as I think the overall firmness of the cover wouldn’t accommodate too much overstuffing.
Inside, the wire-o notebook tucks into the back cover. The pages are unlined, with the Schutzen name in the bottom outside corner of every page. I think most users might prefer a bit more subtle branding on the actual pages, or none at all. Though the notebook is theoretically refillable, I’m not sure if the inserts are sold separately, and they’re actually a bit hard to get out– I slightly tore one of the holes in the back cover when trying to slide the notebook out.
When it came to writing on the paper, I was pleasantly surprised– it was nice and smooth and felt great with my favorite fine point gel ink pens. It seems a bit heavier than average, though the paper weight is not specified. Fountain pens also performed well. I was interested to see that my Zebra fine point brush pen went on darker than it usually does on other papers, where it can tend to look rather grey. Showthrough is better than average. Bleedthrough about average, though I did notice that the Zebra fine brush pen bled a little, which it never has before. There must be something about this particular paper that wants to suck up that particular ink. But overall, I love the paper and would happily use it all the time in a different notebook format!
I didn’t test the other samples I was sent, but they have similar features, and presumably the lined paper they contain is similar. These are produced in the Philippines, and I’m not sure if they are for sale anywhere else outside the country. Their website and Facebook page don’t offer too many details, so please leave a comment if you’ve spotted these anywhere else! The quality and construction of these notebooks is very good, so if the bright colors and styles appeal to you, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
I’ll be giving away all 3 samples (including the one with pen tests on one page) , one each to three lucky winners randomly selected from entries received in any of the following ways:
On Twitter, tweet something containing “Schutzen,” and “@NotebookStories”, and follow “@NotebookStories.”
On your blog, post something containing the words “Schutzen” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this post.
The deadline for entry is Friday Jan. 17, 2014 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.