I bought this 7 x 10 inch Apica Twin Ring Notebook precisely because I don't generally like ring bindings.
Yes, I bought this Twin Ring Notebook because I don't generally like ring bindings. I don't like the way they get snagged on things, so I really don;t like rings that seem larger than they need to be to accommodate the pages (especially if I'm going to be removing pages from the notebook anyway, which means the rings will get more and more oversized compared to the remaining pages).
So, when I saw the rings on this notebook seemed to be just big enough to accommodate the pages, I decided to try it out . . . and it turns out my one complaint about this notebook is that the rings are too small. There's just no pleasing some people, eh?
I'll get to the problems with the rings later. Let's cover the things I love first . . . which is pretty much everything else.
The cover is nothing special. It's a somewhat rough cardboard texture. I know this notebook is available in several other colors, so maybe some of them look more impressive. The cover is stiff enough to function as a cover, but not built for durability (though I haven't really tested it in that regard). I think this is a notebook you're going to want to keep at your desk or in a storage pocket in your briefcase rather than popping it loose into your backpack and taking it everywhere with you. I'm not sure it could stand up to that.
I do like the words on the cover, which I've seen on most Apica notebooks.:
MOST ADVANCED QUALITY
GIVES BEST WRITING FEATURES
& GIVES SATISFACTION TO YOU
There is an odd cadence and not quite right syntax there . . . just enough to let you know that English is not the native language of Apica (these notebooks are from Japan), and I find the effect somewhat charming.
The back cover is the same weight and texture, without the writing. There is no inside pocket on it. When the notebook is folded over on itself, the resulting stiffness isn't quite like writing on a clipboard, but it will do as a writing surface in a pinch.
The first page is a light blue (could be other colors in notebooks with different colored covers) and ruled for an index. Odd that the index ruling only covers the bottom of the page. A nice odd, though, if you're the artistic type and want to use the top half of the page for designating the contents of your notebook in some fancy lettering or with a drawing.
Following the index page are 40 pages of off-white pages with gray ruling. The outside top corner of each page has a space for numbering and dating each page. The top two rules and bottom rule on each page are somewhat heavier with tick marks spaced along them at 1 cm intervals. The ruling is 6.5 mm spacing (near a I can measure), which is just a tad narrower than the ruling in a Rhodia Webbie.
I couldn't find specs on the paper, but it is very smooth to the touch and I'm guessing its in the 80-90 gsm range. It feels thinner than the 90 gsm paper in the Webbie or Quo Vadis Habana but heavier than the 80 gsm paper in my Rhodia pads. It somehow feels more delicate.
It feels delicate, but boy, can this paper handle the ink. I tried LOTS of inks, including some of my wettest fountain pen nib/ink combinations, and this paper took it all with no feathering, no bleeding and almost no show through. Drying time is similar to my Webbie. Some inks dry a little faster in one, some a little faster in the other, but overall, they are very close.
Writing in this notebook is a dream. The pen glides across the page like an ice skate on ice.
There are no perforations on the pages. If you remove them, you're going to have the ragged edges unless you trim them. I like perforations in spiral notebooks in order to avoid that problem.
So, back to the rings. They're actually too small in diameter, in my opinion. The too-small size has the same effect as if you try to jam too many pages into a three ring binder. The inside edges don't have room to turn and they get folded over or don't travel all the way along the ring when you close it.
Still, that's a very minor gripe. It's easy enough to prevent that problem if you keep in mind the size of the rings and exercise care when closing the notebook.
Everything else on this notebook is stellar, at least so long as you don't require ruggedness. At only $4 to $6, depending where you buy it, this is a solid value.
If you're interested, I have a few more pictures in my Flickr photo set for this review.