Most helpful critical review
132 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Great notebook in all regards except paper longevity
on August 14, 2010
EDIT: according to a couple replies below, the notebook *may* be acid-free. Other archival properties I'm unaware of. I do not vouch that it is acid-free or archival though, since that claim is not made anywhere on the labeling, packaging, or website. I will say however that I have a Black n' Red from 2008 that does not show any signs of deterioration, so at least for 5 years it is fine.
I'll preface this review saying that I'm a bit of a notebook freak, I really do love stationary especially notebooks, and have way more than I could ever use. I know what I like in a notebook and what I feel is useful in a notebook and when I see it I grab it up.
I've used Black n' Red notebooks a number of times, for class notes when I was in college, lab notes at work and in graduate school, and personal notes for one of my older journals. I've got a lot of good things to say about them:
- Good binding: sturdy, even (no fluctuations in paper, except for one of the smaller versions of the Black n' Red I had), and lay-flat covers & paper through the entirety of the pages (not just the middle pages, this is very important for real usage)
- Solid covers
- Good paper size
- Good paper weight, not much bleed through even with dark ink pens
- good lining, a nice soft grey that is not obtrusive so if you choose to draw a diagram or do anything else that crosses the lines, the contrast of the pen is far greater than the line, preventing the line from being a disturbance (also surprisingly important, you see these only in a couple places, like the Peter Pauper notebooks or Staples' eco-friendly composition notebooks with hazel lines)
- bookmark, always a plus
There's no numbered pages or ToC pages, but that's no big deal for many uses.
My big complaint is the *paper quality*, it is not archival quality and is not even Acid Free. This is really a shame for an otherwise wonderful notebook. Many people think "what do I need acid free for? I don't need this to last a hundred years." But the sad reality is that many papers with low pH's (high acidity) may last more like only 20-30 years before yellowing and decaying. If you're taking valuable notes or writing thoughts you'll want to access later in your life, even just the next few decades, you really want to go for acid-free or even better archival (lignin free etc.). Non-acid-free notebooks and paper are good for things that you'll only need the next few years and then will throw away anyway, but for a notebook like this that you may want to access for decades, there's no excuse for it's beautiful, high-weight paper to not be acid free.
Hope that helps.