The M by Staples Arc Customizable Notebooks have been around for a little while now, and the kind folks from Staples sent over this new Neoprene version of their Arc Notebook for today’s review. As you can see from the photo above, it comes with a strip of sticky tabs as well as plastic page or subject tabbed dividers, and 60 blank sheets of ruled paper.
This particular version is the 6.75 inch by 8.75 inch junior size version that holds 5.5 inch by 8.5 inch sheets of paper. It is also available in the larger 8.5 inch by 11.5 inch format if you need a standard size notebook. The entire front and back cover are made of a very smooth and nice feeling neoprene material. As you can see, the front cover also has a convenient zip-up pocket that I was able to easily fit my phone in. I wouldn’t recommend carrying your phone in there on a regular basis though because it doesn’t really have any padding to protect it. It’s definitely not a bad place for it when running between meetings in the office though. It is however great for carrying anything from pens, pencils, flash drives, or a few extra index cards or sticky notes on a more regular basis.
Writing on the Staples Arc pages went very nicely, even when using a fountain pen. The ink handled really well on the paper with no real feathering or bleeding, and the show through was very minimal, to the point where you it really didn’t show up in a scan here. We did a more extensive test of the Staples Arc paper a while ago that showed multiple fountain pen inks and a couple of other types of inks. It is definitely a solid paper that should handle most inks well.
One minor thing I forgot to mention before is the pen loop that you can see in the above photo. In this photo you can also see the blank tabs on the subject dividers and one of the sticky flags in use as well. The blank tab stickers were already on the dividers when the notebook arrived, but it also came with a strip of blank extras. I do like having the page divider with the sticky flags with one minor caveat. On the junior size notebook like this, it can be a little tight in terms of space when trying to use the sticky flags on the lengthwise edge of the paper. The tabs tend to hide them a bit with the notebook closed where with the larger size you wouldn’t have that issue.
Another great feature of the Staples Arc Neoprene version is that it still folds over on itself so you can save space and have a more compact footprint. I’ve definitely found this to be very helpful when seated at a crowded meeting table, so although it seems simple it can be a deal breaker for some people so I wanted to be sure to mention it. I was going to recommend grabbing some calendar refills for this as we start off 2014, but it looks like Staples is out of them. They do however have the Academic Year Planners still available, or this interesting concept of an undated weekly refill, which makes things a little more flexible for you.
Regardless of how you use the Neoprene version of the Staples Arc Notebook, you really can’t beat the customizable nature of these notebooks. Why not try something new in 2014 and give the disc binding notebook system a try? It has been a great help in keeping me a bit more organized, so maybe it can do the same for you.