Monday, August 23, 2010
The CoolNotes product line by teNeues is a Moleskine-like journal that comes in various sizes and color schemes, including colored elastic bands to complement the solid color of the journal--a detail I quite like as it acts as an accessory to my little black notebook and gives it a bit more style.
I recently received a small CoolNotes journal to review and, overall, quite liked it. For some reason my pocket-sized Moleskine decided to hide, so I can't do a comparison of the two. The CoolNotes is definitely smaller than the Moleskine, measuring in at 3 9/16" by 5 1/4" versus the Moleskine's more regular 3.5" by 5.5" size. (In the picture above you can see the CoolNotes is almost the same size as my capped Lamy CP1 Fountain Pen).
The CoolNotes and Moleskine are both hard cover journals with an elastic enclosure, each has 192 pages (96 leaves) of high quality paper, a ribbon books mark, a front page for contact information, and a back pocket that expands to hold receipts, tickets, photos, etc.
The CoolNotes journal has one major difference from the Moleskine: on the 96 leaves, the front side is lined while the back is blank. (Whenever I see something like this I automatically think: an Air Sign designed this. Because choosing one or the other can be very difficult for the Libra, Aquarius, and Gemini-born.) I do like this detail, it seems to give me a choice of how I'm going to write something (blank sheets are more freestyle for me, they take greater discipline to use while lined reminds me of grade school and the teacher looking over my shoulder).
The paper is nice, roughly 80gsm I'd guess. After a lot of pressing the journal did stay flat--mostly, kind of, generally, define "flat." As you can see in the picture to the left, the page is starting to lift, and that's after at least half a dozen pressings. The black gel ink pen I used left a a heavy shadow on the back blank page, as did the fountain pen containing J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite ink, but there was no bleed through of either.
The big question is this: if I hadn't gotten it for free but had to buy it, would I? The answer is yes, if my Barnes and Noble stocks them I definitely will. I'm not sure I'd buy online as the shipping fee is usually too high for my liking, but I'm in Manhattan and can afford to be choosy. If I were back in Allentown, PA, I probably would be online hitting "checkout not" and not worrying too much about it.
I am seriously looking forward to the Fall teNeues lineup for one item in particular: the new CoolNotes Flip Pad. I have reviewed Moleskine's Reporter Notepad, a large hardcover flip pad that I wanted to like but found to be only so-so. It might be that the softcover Reporter is a better notepad, but the cover was only one problem I had with the Reporter. So if the CoolNotes pocket sized flip pad has a fountain pen friendly paper and is stylish as well, that's something I really want to see. I'll be looking for them in the stores that carry teNeues: Barnes and Noble, the Musuem of Modern Art gift shop, The Guggenheim, AI Friedman, and Paper Presentation, and maybe have a review of these new notebooks.