Customer Reviews: Five Star Flex NoteBinder, 1.5-Inch Capacity, 11.5 x 11.25 Inches, Notebook and Binder All-in-One, Black (72403)
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on February 6, 2011
I have been a fan of these light weight and space concious binders since their introduction. Their only downfall seemed to be their 1 inch capacity, so I remedied that by purchasing one for each subject. When I saw the 1.5 inch option I was so excited, finally I could have it all! Sadly, after only a few short days into the semester it has been my experience that the expanded size falls into to the bigger is not better category. The flimsy plastic rings are too flexible to hold anything even close to 1.5 inches of paper, resulting in lost pages and notes sliding all over the place because they won't stay closed once you store the binder in your bookbag. The connection method for the binder rings needs to be greatly improved before I will invest in this model again. On the bright side, I shouldn't have too wait long as Mead seems to roll out a new and improved version of this line each fall. I'm looking forward to the next version of this revolutionary line of binders living up to its full potential.
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on June 7, 2012
I have been using three of these Mead Flex Hybrid notebooks for 2 1/2 years now and have no problems at all. As a matter of fact, I am about to purchase another. I was reading the reviews below and just had to comment regarding inability to turn pages and the rings popping open when overly full. Well, I personally have not experienced either of these problems and I am a nursing student, so I definitely have them extremely full by mid-term and come the end of the term they are proably overly stuffed and yet I still have not experienced a problem with the rings popping open and losing my documents or any difficulty turning the pages. I love the flexibility of them, like a previous reviewer said. You start the term with a 1/2" binder and it progressively grows with you over the course of the term. No need to swap stuff from one size to another. I also have not had any problem with my paper ripping out. Now I don't use the pre-loaded paper, and immediately replace it with my own standard, inexpensize, 3-hole punched, lined notebook paper. Nothing special, the kind that is usually on sale for less than a buck around July or August. To sum it all up, this binder is fantastic! It takes a lot of wear and tear, can hold at least 200 pages, provides pockets for pages you don't want to hole punch and the ability to store some index cards for quick review before test... definitely a 5-star product.
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on September 8, 2015
This is a great product. The spine is a strong nylon material and the rings are interlocking plastic.

As such you can literally flip it 360 degrees and write. It doesn't take as much room in your bag because the rings do not force the cover into that traditional incline. It lays flat.
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on June 14, 2011
I bought the large one two years ago. I am placing my review here so people buy the smaller ringed one rather than the large. I bought the large one and was excited since I'd be putting a RIDICULOUS amount of organic chemistry notes in it. It's nice because it bends and there's no problem with fitting the binder in your backpack BUT once you open and close the ring a few times and THEN put it in your backpack the rings get a gap. Once this happens, turning pages is nearly IMPOSSIBLE. I have to go slow and carefully because my pages would rip constantly. If your slow and careful not to let the pages get stuck in the gaps, then fine.....but it's more of a hassle than convenience! I had students I tutored in orgo and they had the smaller ring binders and they didn't have the same problem I did. So I'd get one for each subject because the big one IS NOT WORTH IT!
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on August 19, 2015
I bought my first (and currently only, for the time being) Five Star Flex August of 2009. It has been my champ since then. Very accommodating to my ever changing school life. I went to 5 different high schools (in 2009 I was a sophomore) and this thing kept me sane during all the switching and adjusting. I still use it, its hardly showing any wear for all its trials, as I attend college and I'm sure it'll be there with me all the way up to my Doctorate. Give this a shot, it's the best binder I've ever owned.
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on August 27, 2014
I first discovered these "Five Star Flex Hybrid Binders" about three years ago and excitedly bought a 1-inch-capacity binder to use as my teacher plan book/ grade book. It SEEMED to be perfect for my needs-- small enough to easily fit in my school-to-home-to-school bag, light enough to carry to and from meetings, flexible enough to be effective for my needs, and "stocked" enough (with dividers and pockets) to not require me to have to buy new dividers. In addition, it was Five-Star brand, and I have always been impressed by their products. I *thought* I had found the perfect plan book/grade book. I was wrong.

The binder worked out beautifully for me for about two or three months, but by Thanksgiving, it was struggling. One of the rings would **barely** stay in the hole, and another was bent at a very funny angle. By the New Year, it had to be replaced because all three rings were no longer staying locked.

Thinking that my issue was that I tried to open and close the binder too often, I bought a **new** Five Star Flex Hybrid NoteBinder for the following school year, but that time bought a 1.5-inch. I got ALL my necessary papers for the ENTIRE year together, put them in the order I wanted them, and opened the rings one time to "load" the binder, and then closed the rings (I used sheet protectors for some papers that have to be switched often so I wouldn't have to open the rings). That binder lasted longer than the one the previous year, but was still "done" by spring break. Again, the rings bent in a funny way and that caused one of the rings to no longer "lock."

I didn't use one of these binders last school year, but after hearing that the technology was improved, and that now Mead/Five Star stands behind their guarantee that this binder *will* last an entire school year, I bought another one (another 1.5-inch) for this school year. It's been in use for only two weeks, but is already showing issues with one of the rings.

I am a *teacher,* not a student, so my binder probably takes far less abuse than a student's binder.
~~ I only open and close my binder a few times per school year, while a student would likely open and close it a few times per HOUR.
~~ I don't shove my binder into a locker, a backpack, or other small space. Mine is brought to and from school in my "school bag," but it is a big bag that offers *protection* to the binder.
~~ I don't sit on, stand on, toss, drop, or throw my binder as some students do (yes, they do this). It sits quietly on my desk or shelf until I need it.

I certainly don't dislike this binder (it certainly has some fantastic features!), but am also far from thrilled with it. I would recommend it with caution. If you or your child is rough on supplies, this is probably not the binder for you/your child. But if you or your child is easy on supplies, it might be worth a try.
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on July 17, 2015
About 15 years ago I got the smaller ones....lasted long and love the flexibility. This time around I went bigger - 1.5" - figured 300 pages should be sufficient for my 2-year Spanish course.

1. I like that this is 11.5"×11.25" so the pages are truly protected as well as any projecting tabs.
2. Strong design and materials.
3. Comes with pages (70 regular and 30 graph) and dividers (3 partial holders with index card pockets and 4 page protector style)
4. Large capacity.
NB: Just like the disclaimer states: "300 sheet capacity is measured by using 15 lb. Filler Paper. Results may vary based on different paper types." I got about 250 pages in for a tight fit because I placed reinforcement rings on each time I feel I'll use the Five Star Reinforced Filler Sheets as these should not be as thick relative to paper.

IMPROVEMENTS (not cons):
1. Rings should rotate so one would be comfortable opening binder at any location. Turn rings to area for addition or removal.
2. The pockets could be a little bigger to hold CDs since they are prominent in texts but don't have proper storage.
3. Tabs should flow continuously and not overlap. Tabs reach 3 from top and then start back from top instead of continuing down.

(Hope this helps. If you need more you can ask.)
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on January 15, 2015
===== Long Hard In-Depth Review =====

Saw these at my local Office product store for $20, so got this for $13 Amazon. Incredibly useful with Snap-in Polymer Folders (inside for storage) and Case-it Locker Accessory Large Size Pencil Pouch (outside for folder evenness/flatness).
Worth the $13. Highly Recommend. Used as a Art/Sketch Expandable/Flexible Portfolio.

Advertises 300 Sheet Capacity, Can Theoretically Hold 708 sheets of A4 Sized Printer Paper (NOT Filler Paper- See bottom).
Though this may damage dividers, but is possible if necessary.

All Paper references in this review refer to A4 Sized Copy/Printer Paper [Thicker than typical College Ruled Line Paper/Filler Paper]
Due to my Art/Sketch needs, I don't use much Filler paper, only mainly A4 Printer Paper.

===== Package/Design =====
I got the Black Version.
Cover is a typical Mead Five Star polymer sheet. No built in folder for this version, but unnecessary.
Spine is a Polymer Stitched Fabric.
It is possible to fold the cover all the way back to the Back cover like a Spiral Bound Notebook.

Includes 70 Sheets of A4 sized College Ruled Line paper and 30 Sheets of A4 sized Quad ruled Graph Paper.
Advertised as 300 Sheet capacity.
Can easily exceed 300 Sheet capacity by buying more Snap-in Polymer Folders.

3-Rings are unified into a large plastic Strip on the Back Polymer Cover with 6 metal non-removable bolts.
The rings snap open by pulling each one individually. Uses a Needle poking motion to lock.
Everything is bendable but I don't recommend it as the flexibility is to accommodate everyday use and not deliberate abuse.

7 Sticker Divider tabs.

Inside comes with 3 Single Sided Premium Folders. Matte Finish. Smokey Grey.
These Have two paper slots; one in front with a locking flap for scrap paper and one behind for whole size A4 sheets.
Top right corner has a 30-60-90 Right triangle polymer flap for "holding" down the A4 sheets.
Each of these have a side tab in descending order.
-Corner Paper Holder becomes useless when paper capacity exceeds 24 Sheets of A4 Sized Paper.
-Maximum Paper Capacity ~60 Sheets of A4 Size Paper. Corner Flap becomes cosmetic

Inside comes with 4 Single Sided Basic Folders. Glossy Finish. Smokey Grey.
Similar to Premium but can feel that its like 1-ply thinner. This in no way means that it is not durable. These are VERY Durable.
These have one paper slots.
A large A4 size polymer flap protects the papers slid in here.
At the bottom left edge, there is a notch to help prevent the A4 sized flap from ripping diagonally up from the bottom like the old-school folders.
The top middle of single sided folder has a trapezoid shaped flap for holding down paper.
-Trapezoid flap becomes useless when paper capacity exceeds 10 sheets of A4 sized paper.
-Maximum Paper Capacity ~132 Sheets of A4 Size Paper. Yes, one-hundred thirty-two sheets of paper.
(Begins to bulge but is still usable, Papers don't fall out unless folder was deliberately flipped upside down).

So. . .
3 Premium Single Sided Folders with maximum paper capacity of 60 sheets each is a total of 180 sheets.
4 Basic Single Sided Folders with maximum paper capacity of 132 sheets each is a total of 528 sheets.
For a grand total of 708 sheets of A4 Sized Printer Paper.

This does not include the fact that the folder can be expanded with Polymer Snap-in Folders.

===== Final Thoughts =====
The thought of holding 708 sheets is alluring. This capacity will push the notebook to the breaking point and may cause enough pressure to force the 3 rings to snap open. The folder is almost unusable, but at least it's possible.

Also I am using Filexec 2-Pocket Folder, 3-Hole Punched with Snap-In Slits for extra paper filing, Capacity, Archiving in one Folder.

I really like this folder, starting to use this as my art portfolio. I am using this with Case-it Accessory large pouch snapped on the outside.

Highly recommend this folder!
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on February 25, 2016
I love the idea of binders, being able to move pages around so that it doesn't really matter in what order you write something. However, I've always found that while it's easy to write on one side, it's a pain to write on the other side. And binders are not exactly made to have the front cover folded back. This is the perfect medium of a spiral notebook and the flexibility of a binder. I did put an extra cardboard insert in a divider at the very back so that it was stiff and easy to write without the notebook being on a table but otherwise, I loved this enough that I bought two others.
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on August 16, 2014
Definitely what i wanted. Very flexible organizer and well built. Only complaint is that the pages of paper don't turn easily. The rubber on the spirals grips. Have to turn pages carefully. Turn too many at once and risk tear or getting stuck.
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