For those of you who like to write, the Elia Note notebook might just be a dream come true. It comes filled with an astounding 496 pages of 52gsm Tomoe River paper, so you’ll have lots of room to write (and lots of great paper to write on) before it’s time for a new notebook. I’ve already done a full review of the paper that’s in this journal, so in this review I’ll mainly try to focus on the notebook itself.
When I first received the Elia Note notebook, I was immediately impressed with the hard storage case that it comes in. Suddenly, a simple notebook is elevated to something much more desirable. That’s not to say that it’s otherwise an ordinary notebook. Far from it. This notebook is filled with 52gsm Tomoe River paper, which means it feels very dense (which I find to be very satisfying). The flyleaf pages are made of a heavier, textured paper with the company logo and notebook information, which gives it a luxurious feel.
This notebook uses 52gsm Tomoe River paper, so be sure to click that link for a full review of the paper.
- Pages: 496 (248 sheets)
- Paper Weight: 52gsm
- Binding: Stitched (smyth-sewn)
- Page Style: Lined, Dot, Blank
- Size: A5
- Sheen: Very High
- Shading: Average
- Bleeding: Low
- Ghosting: High
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: Very High
- Hard storage case
- Smyth-sewn binding
- Tomoe River paper
Although the notebook is obviously the main subject of this review, I want to start by mentioning the storage case. If you value protecting your notebooks and keeping them looking as new as possible, a good case is a great thing to have. The Elia Note storage case is very firm and stiff enough to protect your notebook from most daily wear and tear. The package I received must have gone through a bit of wear and tear on its way to me, as the bottom corner of the case was slightly dented. Unfortunately, it barely transferred to the notebook as well, but I imagine it would have been a whole lot worse without the storage case.
Now, on to the notebook. It should go without saying that any notebook that uses Tomoe River paper is meant to be of the highest quality and is intended for fountain pen users. This sets my standards pretty high right off the bat. Fortunately, the Elia Note lives up to those expectations. Its construction is top-notch. The cover material is a heavy card stock imprinted with a leather grain pattern. The covers are soft and flexible, but should still offer decent protection with regular daily use.
Another great feature of these notebooks is the binding. They are smyth-sewn, which is regarded as the most durable binding style for books that get heavy use (such as library books, laboratory journals, etc…). Another feature of the binding style is that the notebooks open and lay flat. Many other notebooks claim to lay flat, and while they do, they usually need a little encouragement by pressing down on the sides when the notebook is open. Elia Note notebooks are probably the first that I’ve used that just open and lay flat without doing anything else. The first and last few pages might still need a little help, but otherwise this is truly a lay-flat notebook.
Elia Note notebooks are relatively feature-free. They don’t have a rear pocket, a page ribbon, an elastic closure or index page. The storage case is about the only feature that they have. Fortunately, notebooks don’t need a bunch of extra features to be a good notebook. Of course, you might want some of these features, which means this might not be the best notebook for you. Personally, I like how the lack of add-ons keeps the notebook compact and streamlined.
There is one thing about this notebook that bothered me, and believe me when I say that it’s specific to the dot grid version and is a very minor thing. The dots on one side of the page don’t line up with the dots on the other side. From what I could see on my other dot grid notebooks, the dots all seem to line up. I think that the effect is exacerbated by the fact that since the 52gsm paper is so thin, it’s easy to see through. Maybe other notebooks have the same issue but you just can’t tell because the paper is thicker. Of course, the dots not lining up doesnn’t affect the performance of the notebook at all and is actually pretty easy to ignore, but for anyone who’s a perfectionist it’s worth being aware of ahead of time.
For as popular as Tomoe River paper is amongst fountain pen users, there are surprisingly few notebook options out there. Most other similarly sized Tomoe River notebooks have the 68gsm paper, which makes them significantly thicker and heavier, especially if they have as many pages as the Elia Note with its 52gsm paper. While it doesn’t have a lot of features, the Elia Note is a high quality notebook that is simple and elegant. The one feature that it does have, an attractive storage case, will protect your notebook and keep it looking like new for a very long time.
As I said at the beginning of this post, if you love to write and want a great notebook that’s full of amazing paper, the Elia Note is hard to beat. You can find the Elia Note dot grid notebook (as well as other styles of notebook) on the Elia Note website. Although they are located in Malaysia, the shipping is quite fast and I received my notebook in less than a week.
Disclaimer: This notebook was provided to me for free for the purposes of this review. All opinions in this review are my own and were not influenced by the generosity of Elia Notebooks.
Hi, my name is John. I’m a Colorado-born professional photographer who recently moved back to Denver after spending 3 years in San Francisco. I’ve been using and collecting fountain pens for over 20 years. I got my first one in college when I got bored taking notes with ballpoints and pencils. Since then I’ve bought and sold hundreds of pens, but have consistency in my love of Esterbrooks.