I didn’t have high hopes for this Amazon Basics Classic Notebook (via Amazon, obviously) when I first saw it. I figured I had to order one anyway and give it a chance. I did just that, and here we are today with fair warning that my initial thought turned out to be a good first instinct. As a spoiler alert, you can already tell where this review is heading so it won’t be a long review today.
You already saw the first picture up there, of the cover, so I probably don’t need to tell you how awful that looks. For some reason I expect to have a bit of excitement when I pick up a new notebook for the first time, and this Amazon Basics Classig Notebook doesn’t hit that mark on its first impression. The label looks like someone just printed it up on an as needed basis somewhere at Amazon HQ in Seattle using the same printer and paper they use for the throwaway packing invoices that go in their shipments. I was however at least impressed to see that the notebook does mostly lay flat when opened, and the binding, edges, and seams all look pretty clean and neat. I was half expecting sloppy glue and uneven cuts and edging on the insides so thats a small win. The page finder is just hardly thicker than one of the sheets of paper in the notebook though.
The Amazon Basics Classic Notebook measures 5 inches by 8 and a quarter inches and contains 240 ruled pages of archival quality and acid free paper. In addition to the ruled version you see here with quarter inch wide rulings, there is also a squared and blank page version. I would say the pages are kind of an egg shell color and the rulings are a light grey. I should mention that the ribbon page finder is also a light grey color, so they match.
Amazon Basics Classic Notebook Writing Sample:
Writing in the Amazon Basics Classic Notebook was just about as uninspiring as the hastily slapped together label on the front led me to believe it would be. Both the Pilot Precise V5 and the Pelikan M805 with Noodlers QEternity ink showed some feathering when I wrote with them. Worse than that though, I feel like the ink spread more than I would have expected, especially with the fountain pen ink. This paper seems to be a Moleskine wannabe that manages to meet that low standard.
My bigger issue with the Amazon Basics Classic Notebook was the show through on the back of the page. The scan above shows just how bad it was, but I don’t think the scan even does it justice. The green ink of the Pilot Precise V5 shows through as if its solid black ink, and the dark blue Noodler’s QEternity is even worse. Beyond just showing through though, the Noodlers ink was soaked through the page and the back of the page was actually wet. It didn’t get a chance to hit the font of the next page, but its a telling sign. The best I can say about this notebook is that I probably won’t throw it out or set it on fire, and might keep it around to jot down reminders or something. Even that seems like a waste considering how many other nice notebooks I have though. Anyway, if you must, the Amazon Basics Classic Notebook (via Amazon) is a great way to waste $13 when for a little less you can get a much nicer notebook in something like the Black n’ Red Casebound also via Amazon.