Today we have a guest review of the new Evernote Moleskine Smart Notebook from one of our readers, Will Hopkins. Will was kind enough to take on the task of writing this review since I am not an iPhone/iPad user, oh and maybe it helped that we bribed him with a free version of the notebook to try out. So lets see what Will has to say, shall we.
About Will: Will Hopkins enjoys writing with analog tools and reading the Office Supply Geek in his spare time. Thanks to Brian for giving him a chance to do a review.
One line verdict: I like the Evernote Moleskine.
The longer story: A lot of what I like about the Evernote Moleskine has to do with its general notebook qualities, as opposed to its Evernoteness or Moleskineness. As far as themed Moleskines go, it is relatively nondescript. I appreciate that. The ornamentation isn’t important—what goes inside it *is*. There are 2 elements that make it stand out a bit more, though. The deposed cover and the green ribbon/elastic. I like both, and they’re just subtle enough.
One other important difference from a traditional Moleskine is the dotted ruling. In general I prefer dot or grid notebooks, but the dot ruling actually appeals to me. I noticed the ruling when I first opened the notebook, and wondered how I’d feel as I used it. As it turns out, after weeks of sketching, scribbling math problems, and occasional journalings, I really like it.
As I understand it, the dot ruling helps Evernote’s Page Camera line everything up, and the ruling practically disappears when scanned or photographed. The lines are also just hidden enough to allow for free styling while still being a useful writing guide. In my opinion, Moleskine should do all its rulings this way.
The notebook also comes with a set of stickers in the pocket at the back. To be honest, I barely used them. They do stand out reasonably well, but, while eye-catching, they were a pain to pull out and use. Perhaps for someone who relies more on notebooks (within Evernote) and quick categorization they would be more valuable.
Now, on to the paper. In short, it’s just like all other Moleskine paper. I like the off-white color, and it worked well with my Pilot G-Tec-C, my daily writer. I didn’t dare bring my fountain pens near it, though. The Platinum Preppy worked okay with only a little bleed-through at the ends of letters. Most of my inks and pens run much wetter, though.
I found myself using the Evernote Moleskine quite often, more than I had anticipated. It served most of my daily notebook needs and became the first thing I grabbed for longer writing. The Evernote Premium 3-month subscription included in the back pocket was a nice addition and definitely incentivized me to scan pages more frequently than I would have otherwise. The way the pages laid flat made it great for quick digital archiving, but the actual scan quality differed little from a Pelle journal or Field Notes notebook. It’s also worth pointing out that Page Camera did no better than Jot Not Pro, but it did remove a few steps from the process. That is definitely worth considering if you scan your notebook pages on the go regularly. See my scanned note here, or below for one of the scanned pages.
If you use Evernote, want to try Premium service, and need a new large-format notebook, give the Evernote Moleskine Smart Journal a try. It’s a solid performer with some nice perks, but don’t expect it to change your workflow much by itself.
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