Review – Flex By Filofax Pocket

This review has been a long time coming. I first picked up the Flex by FiloFax pocket book a year ago from a surplus store as they were being discontinued in America (though I can find them on Amazon again now). I’ve never really been the organizer type and I didn’t know what I would use the item for, but it was cheap, and black goes with anything so I picked it up. How could I resist another notebook?

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So I have settled on a use for it, and it goes with me (almost) every day as my wallet (second wallet: my first one isn’t large enough to carry much cash and business cards as it’s attached to my phone). So this will be a review of the product as a wallet, and not the myriad of other things it could be used for.

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The book comes with two notebooks that I’ll cover first. One is a small, journal-type book, and the other is a tear-able (not a pun) pad. Both are good quality paper that’s fairly smooth, and can stand up to some fountain pens even, but they’re a bit stiff. They fit snugly into the slots on the cover and never seem too intrusive or fattening. Replacement books and other styles can be bought individually, and they are still good even if not protected in the cover.

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The cover has a leatherette feel to it (I don’t know the material) but it’s pretty strong and the spine is designed to be flexible so it doesn’t look bad or get destroyed by being opened and closed a lot. On the outside there’s nothing but stitching and a subdued logo, which I like. On the inside there are two panels, each has an inside-facing, and outside-facing pocket that are about business card size and can hold the notebook covers. One panel then has three card slots for business/credit cards or the pad, and the other side has only one slot for either the pad or any other item that FiloFax made to be put in there (I suppose cards would work there too, but there is only one slot). Finally, it comes with a thin piece of cardboard with a pen loop attached that can be inserted into the back pockets, allowing for one to easily take their pen with them.

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I personally have: business cards, cash, a small pen (Monteverde Poquito stylus), and all of the included items stored inside. The cover has held up well, with no signs of wear yet, and while I rarely use the books because I have so many other ones (and I’m not a fan of jot-pads) they do come in handy and can take inks that many cheaper papers can’t. I’ve had no problems with the spine or the pockets, and the stitching is still all there. I wish it was a little more customizable, but I wish that about everything.

The Flex is a quality product, as a wallet, organizer, or notebook. It is very customizable and very hardy. If one’s needs change, the Flex can change with them, and it seems to be built well enough to last through those changes. I really like it, and wish it was more widely available here (it might be now: I need to check up on it). It is on the bulky side, so it’s not for the minimalist, and more customizable options would be nice. But unless I see something great I’m not on the hunt for another wallet.

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Review – Expo Ultra Fine Pink, Purple, Orange, and Brown

I’ve looked at the 4 most common Expo marker colors (specifically in the Ultra-Fine tip) in the last few weeks, and this week I’ll look at 4 of the lesser-seen colors: pink, purple, orange, and brown.

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Pink- to start with, the pink is a nice, dark pink that looks much more pleasant than the common pinks found in writing utensils. It’s rosy, and very consistent; the line width is medium, though.

Purple- next, the purple is a very bold writer, it goes on smoothly and with a lot of ink, but there is more variance in the color when dry. It is a nice, dark purple, and unmistakably so. It might be confused with black from far away, but is generally distinguishable.

Orange- the orange is very thin, both in line and in color. It’s sometimes hard to tell it’s there at all, and there is a wide color variance within it. I’m not a particularly big fan of it.

Brown- and finally the brown, which is another wide-writer. It writes smoothly, with the only color variance being in the tips. It’s a dark enough brown to be easily read, and still distinguishable from the other dark colors.

Overall, these 4 are a nice addition, though they aren’t my favorites, either in performance or in looks. I like them, but if I were just getting these for a class I would skip them. For organization, note-taking, and art, these colors have a better purpose, but those aren’t the main purpose of dry-erase markers.

Review – Expo Ultra Fine Red, Green, and Blue

Last week I looked at the Ultra-Fine Expo markers as a whole, and the black color specifically. This week I’ll look at the more common colors in most dry-erase ranges in this size and brand, and see how they work.

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Red- The color red is a problem with many pens, and dry-erase markers are no exception. The red goes on smoothly enough, and is one of the thinner “sticking” inks. The lines it makes are solid, but the shading and their thin-ness is more pronounced. The color is also quite washed out and pink, which I’m not really a fan of, but seems to be a theme in reds.

Green- The green is one of the thicker and smoother colors. The lines are bold and solid. But the color, while pleasant, is also washed out. While it is definitely in the green spectrum, it’s more of a sea-green or something similar.

Blue- And finally the blue. In writing characteristics, it’s more of a mixture between the other two. The lines aren’t as bold or thick, and it’s not quite as smooth as green, but more so than red. The color is the most true and least shading of the bunch. It goes well with the black, and is easy to read even from far away, though it isn’t too dark.

The first set of colors is standard, and while lackluster, they get the job done. I can’t really complain as they weren’t created with art in mind, but rather for ease of use and low odor, which they have. Next week I’ll take a look at some of the less-standard colors available in the lineup.

Review – Expo Ultra-Fine Point Dry-Erase Markers

When it comes to dry erase markers, Expo is almost the only brand people recognize out there. Their chisel-tip markers are almost ubiquitous in any place that requires a white board, and are generally what people replace the cheap in-package markers from home magnetic boards with. And while I like the markers and always have, I do have a problem with their tip size. Even the fine point markers are large enough to be hard to use for people who like to write fine lines, like I do. Fortunately, there are slightly-less-popular, but still easily available Expo markers with an “ultra-fine” tip. Are they much better?

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The body design is almost identical to the fine tip versions, with a slight taper from the middle to the ends. There is a step-down on the rear to allow for easy posting. There is also a step-down from where the cap is removed to the section. The cap and all of the writing on the pen is loosely in the color of the ink. The section can be a bit slippery, but it’s never a problem. It ends in a small cone with the point that is indeed very fine for a dry-erase marker. The information presented on the side is standard and useful enough.

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The tip is very fine when compared to a regular fine marker. It gets down to a medium/broad on a regular ball or fountain pen. The ink flows smoothly and erases easily, as one would expect from the Expo brand. The black is the standard Expo black, and does the job. It doesn’t start to wash out at this size and is perfectly readable.

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For anyone who needs to mark something with a bit of a finer point (like on a map), wants to write regularly on a dry-erase board, or for those who are artistically inclined and were frustrated when they couldn’t get the various line sizes they needed out of the more standard Expo markers, these work very well. They are of the same quality as the other markers in the line (which is to say as good or better than competitors) and offer a much smaller and more manageable line.