For some reason, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Profolio Oasis notebook. I don’t have anything against it, but it just doesn’t check the boxes I want it to check for a notebook. When I found out that Profolio started offering a different version of that notebook, the Profolio Oasis Light, I wasn’t very excited to try it out. Still, what kind of reviewer would I be if I didn’t grab one and test it? Hopefully this notebook is not light on performance and can win some points back for Profolio notebooks.
To be honest, I am always underwhelmed by thin notebooks. They just don’t feel very substantial and, compared to a thick notebook, seem much less desirable to me. The Oasis Light is a B5 size, so since it’s even larger than an A5 notebook, it seems even more flimsy than most thin notebooks. So that was my first impression… thin and flimsy.
I knew that this was a very superficial first impression, so I looked beyond it. Simple design, lots of color options, unique Profolio page layout? It looks like these notebooks have some good things going for them as well. The paper feels nice and smooth, so that’s always a good thing.
Here are some technical details for the Profolio Oasis Light notebooks:
- Pages: 60 (30 sheets)
- Paper Weight: 70gsm
- Binding: Stitch
- Page Style: Custom Pattern (7mm spacing)
- Size: B5
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: High
- Shading: High
- Bleeding: Very Low
- Ghosting: Average
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: Average
- Many different colors available
- Top and bottom margins with date area
Let me start out by saying that I like the paper in the Oasis Light much better than in the regular Oasis notebooks. Both have a similar texture when writing (slight feedback, but still nice and smooth), but writing on the regular Oasis feels a little more dry, while writing on the Oasis Light makes my pens feel a little more wet.
The Oasis Light shows a good amount of sheen and shading. I observed no feathering or bleed through, even when I put big drops of ink directly from my pen on the paper. While there is some ghosting, I had no problem using both sides of a page.
Here is a look at the results from my standard ink tests:The notebooks themselves are fairly simple. The stitch binding is great and helps the notebook lay flat, although you’ll have to give it a little encouragement since it consists of only one signature. There are no extras such as page numbers or an index. Each page has Profolio’s unique grid pattern, which I enjoy more every time I use it.
One nice surprise about this notebook is how lightly the grid pattern is printed on each page. In the regular Oasis notebooks, the pattern is fairly dark. This may have to do with the cream color of the paper used in those notebooks and the pattern needing to be darker to make it more easily visible. In the Oasis Light notebooks, the grid is much lighter and is very easy to ignore (if you want to ignore it). The paper is also much more white and doesn’t really have any color tint to it.
I guess I should also mention where the “Light” comes from in the name of this notebook. According to the Pofolio site, the physical properties of the notebook are what makes it light. The weight and thickness are what contribute to this, but the paper is also a little lighter than the original Oasis notebook, weighing in at 70gsm vs 75gsm. It also has lighter colored paper and a lighter grid pattern, but I guess this isn’t what Profolio meant when they named it.
When I first picked up a Profolio Oasis Light notebook, I was underwhelmed. But the more I used it, the more I appreciated and enjoyed it. I like the paper more than the paper in the regular Oasis notebooks and also appreciate that the grid pattern is much lighter, making it much less intrusive when writing or reading.
Many people may find these notebooks to be boring and, to be fair, they aren’t very exciting. Still, the price is right and the performance is there. If paying for extras that you don’t use doesn’t thrill you and you just want a solid notebook with good paper, the Profolio Oasis Light would be an excellent choice.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Interested in trying this paper before buying a notebook? Head over to my shop and pick up a paper sample pack.
Profolio Oasis Light Notebook
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Great paper, inexpensive
Cons: Only available in B5 with Profolio line pattern
Value Rating: 4.00 Stars, Cost per B5 sheet: $0.08
Who this notebook is for: People who want an inexpensive notebook that is very fountain pen friendly
Upgrade to this notebook from: CVS Caliber
Upgrade from this notebook to: Apica CD (non-premium)
Talk about serendipity! I picked up a regular OASIS and I have to admit that I like it a lot. And now you review the light version, and I’m thinking of adding those to my collection as well. I’ve really come to like the Profolio ruling. I also like the soft but light feedback from the paper. I think unlike you, I’m *more* attracted to a notebook when it is thin, light, and flexible. I get more excited holding a neat, slim B5 university style book than I do a heavy A4 style Life Noble Note. The light notebooks are just fundamentally more comfortable to write in. They allow you to write any way you want without your hand riding over humps in the notebook when the notebook is too thick. I’ve noticed, for instance, that with light notebooks, when you writing on the first few or last few pages, you get full contact with the desk on the page, whereas with thicker notebooks, you always end up with a gap between notebook and desk near the spine, which is annoying to write on. It’s also easier to bend them back on themselves for writing, giving you the same benefits you would get from a ringbound notebook without the disadvantages.
I’ve also discovered that with Sailor Seiboku ink out of a Broad Sailor KOP nib, that ink looks better out of the Profolio paper than many other papers, such as Apica CD (A.Silky and regular), as well as MIO, Tsubame, Life Noble, and a few others. The only one where the ink looks better I’d say, with a richer blue hue to it, is in the Midori MD notebook. On the other hand, I think the OASIS is a fundamentally more practical notebook, in both the original and thin formats, than the MD notebook, even if the MD notebook gives a slightly better color, and probably more fun feedback, as well.
It’s funny, with Platinum Blue Black and a thick nib, Apica’s A.Silky or Kokuyo’s MIO paper delivers the right color and a better look, but MD and LIFE tends to turn that ink too light and teal in hue. But I find the opposite effect with Seiboku, where it’s too light and teal in the A.Silky and MIO paper, but on the ivory MD and Profolio paper it gets bluer and richer. Very weird for two blue black inks to behave almost opposite in terms of color behavior on these papers!
I completely agree with you, Aaron, that slim notebooks are so much easier to write in! They may not feel as substantial in the hand, but feel great under your hand. I have really come to appreciate thin notebooks for this reason.
I also enjoy the slight feedback of the Oasis notebooks, but like you, prefer the feel of MD notebooks even more. The Midori MD notebooks are my go-to everyday notebooks, but I could see myself using the Oasis Light for random notes and being completely happy with them.
I find myself wishing that I could use the MD notebooks as my everyday notebooks, but I always end up feeling a little miffed with them. The paper is very fun to use, but for some unknown reason, I just can’t fully embrace them. Maybe it’s my love of the traditional form of the “Japanese notebook” or the fact that MD has the diary oriented line rulings. Or, well, I think a big part of it is them not having a B5 size in their notebooks. If I want to commit to a notebook, I want to know that I have the option of a B5 size, I think, when it comes right down to it. Honestly, I kind of find myself leaning towards Apica’s A.Silky Premium notebooks for a regular notebook, or a Tsubame Note. Though, I know you don’t particularly like the A.Silky paper. 😉
I really wish MD made a university style japanese notebook that was thread-bound and came in B5 30-40 sheet versions as well as 80 – 100 sheet versions that were bound as well as the Apica books (Tsubame and LIFE definitely have inferior construction when it comes to their larger notebooks compared to the MD or Apica series).
I just noticed this, but your price per A5 sheet is listed as 0.08. Shouldn’t that be price per B5 sheet? If you calculate the proportion difference in paper sizes, won’t that give you a price per A5 sheet of $0.06?
I suppose it would cost a bit less if you calculate for the paper area, but since they’re not available as A5, I think the best way to show it is what it costs per sheet. As such, I just changed it to say B5. Thanks for pointing that out! Now I’m off to see which others need changed. 🙂