Review – Moleskine Volant Notebooks (Tiny)

I’ve talked about Moleskine books in the past. And while they aren’t the greatest of notebooks I find them to be my favorite for a number of reasons. The size and sturdiness of the covers are the main thing I like, but what if both of those things were taken away and I was left with a small and flexible notebook? This time I’ll be looking at the Moleskine Volant Pocket notebooks.

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Moleskine Volant books are small, pocket sized books about 2.5×4.125in., which is a very odd size indeed. There are twenty-eight sheets or fifty-six pages. They are all perforated and standard moleskine paper with only a few lines.  There is a page on which a name and address can be written, but no pocket in the back as these books are much too small. Moleskine is imprinted on the back of the books and the cover texture is similar to the regular Moleskines.

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The spine and cover are quite flexible and the binding is hidden from view. After only moderate use the edges will start to peel and bend, but do hold up very well, and any pocket book is bound to get damaged to this extent. They’re a bit plastic-y, so the amount they hold up isn’t remarkable, but it is good enough to get the job done.

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The paper is standard Moleskine. It’s thin, and you wouldn’t want to use both sides even with a ballpoint for the bleed/show through. The perforations work quite well and I’ve had no problems with mis-torn sheets. The paper is fairly strong and archival as well as smooth. So the overall experience of writing on it is not bad if one’s pen choice is correct (it’s not a liquid ink type of paper). The ruling is spaced such that not too terribly much can be placed on a page, but at its size, there isn’t much more they could do.

Overall, these notebooks are wonderful for their size. If you have a pocket that would fit one and need to carry around a notebook this is the one I’d recommend. They are a little bit pricy, but I don’t know of another notebook of similar size in a competitors range. So it might be your only option. And it’s a good, even if not the best possible, option.

 

 

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Ultimate Pocket Notebook Showdown – Moleskine, Rhodia, Leuchtturm, Gibson, Wal Mart

Okay, enough with separate reviews, they have their place, but it’s time for an ultimate black pocket-sized notebook show down. We’ve got a couple slots for easy comparisons and five different books to do today.

Rhodia Webnotebook

Paper: Great, smooth, thick, fountain pen resistant, archival quality.

Cover: Faux leather, smooth, easily damaged but solid.

Spine: Hardy, doesn’t crease, folds tightly.

Other: Bookmark and back pocket, well put together. Elastic strap.

Size: 3.5 X 5.5

Notes: Has some minor bleed though issues, really dark yellow papers.

Price: $20

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Moleskine pocket 

Paper: Thin, bleeds easily, archival quality.

Cover: Pleather, hard cover, like a rock.

Spine: Nice, creaseable, starts to wear near the end of the books life.

Other: Book mark and back pocket. Elastic strap.

Size: 3.5 X 5.5

Notes: Yellowed pages.

Price: $15

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Leuchtturm 1917

Paper: Medium thickness, bleed resistant, but shows through a lot, rough paper.

Cover: Thin, a little flexible, but sturdy.

Spine: Creases easily, but is sturdy, paper could peel off.

Other: Back pocket, bookmark, elastic strap.

Size: 3.5 X 6

Notes: Numbered pages, table of contents, perforated pages.

Price: $12

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Gibson Markings

Paper: Dark yellow, little bleeding, some show through.

Cover: Thick, damageable, bends easily, has stitches around the sides.

Spine: Works well, but creases, is fragile, and can break.

Other: Back pocket, elastic strap, bookmark.

Size: 3.5 X 5.5

Notes: Not very smooth paper.

Price: $5

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Wal Mart Leatherette Journal 

Paper: White, shows through really badly, but doesn’t bleed easily. Not the smoothest.

Cover: Thick, ridged, but flexible, with stitching around the outside.

Spine: Alright, but could crack and fall off.

Other: Back pocket, elastic strap, bookmark.

Size: 3.5 X 5.5

Notes: Elastic strap came off after limited use. Cheap construction. Ink for lines was run off on some pages.

Price: $3

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Mini Composition Showdown

A while back I reviewed the Dolgen Inspira mini composition book. I have quite a few books like this and instead of reviewing them all I decided to just compare them all together. So here’s the mini composition showdown. Mead vs. Inspira vs. Top Flight.

First off, covers and binding. All the covers are the standard composition marble pattern, with the Inspira being the most crowded followed by the Mead and then the Top Flight. The binding on the Top Flight is a sturdy fold stitch with eight signatures, while the Mead and Inspira are weak, simple glue binding. All notebooks lie flay fairly well, though the Top Flight takes more breaking in. Cover durability again goes to the Top Flight with the other two tied. The cover corners are straight on some of the Mead, clipped on the Top Flight, and rounded on the Inspira, meaning the Mead with the square corners will most likely tear up quickest. Other Mead notebooks have rounded corners.  If you want color the Mead and the Top Flight are the way to go.

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Their dimensions are about the same, with Inspira being slightly taller and Mead being slightly wider. The Mead and Top Flight both have eighty pages, while the thinner Inspira has sixty. The smoothest paper belongs to the Mead, the roughest to the Inspira, and the Top Flight is very akin to newsprint, unfortunately, not very high quality. All are not archival quality paper and fade rather quickly on the shelf, though they are bright white out of the package. None are very good at holding ink, but the Inspira is best without bleeding, followed by Mead and Top Flight.

What will really make or break these books, though, is their large price difference. The Inspira are three for one dollar (U.S.) the Top Flight are five for three dollars, and the Mead are one to two apiece.

So if you can organize all that and determine the best for you you’ll end up with a very nice pocket book. Each one is suited subtly to a different task so the main challenge is finding out what is best for you. They are certainly not the best memo books by any means, but they’ll certainly work, especially in a pinch.