During my recent trip to San Francisco, I wanted to make sure I found some stores that sold unique office supplies and stationery so I could pick up some stuff for new reviews, luckily I found Maido Stationery to fill that need. One of the first items that caught my attention there was the B5 Twist Ring Note by LIHIT LAB. Check out their site at that link, but dont ask me to translate anything on there for you. 🙂
On the surface the LIHIT LAB B5 Twist Ring Note looks like a pretty basic notebook, but what caught my attention was the thicker spiral coil that binds it together. If you look closely, and if you look at the diagram on the lower left corner of the cover page, you can see that its a little more than just a simple plastic coil. It has a spring running up the inside of it, and you can see some interlocking teeth embedded into it. Additionally the diagram on the cover kind of gives away the fact that this binding system opens and closes in order to add or remove pages from your notebook, similar to the Levenger Circa Notebooks.
If you take a look at the individual pages of the notebook you can see in light gray watermark style text how to open the binding system to add or remove paper, clicking on the photo above will give you a better view. My first attempt at opening the binding system was very easy, a slight pull on the top inside corner, and the bottom inside corner in opposite directions opened up the plastic binding to allow for adding or removing the paper.
The above photo shows the close up of the individual rings on the binding system of the Twist Ring Note, and lets you see the simple instructions printed on each page. Once you open the notebook and either add or remove pages, its quite simple to close it back up. You simply start at the bottom of the binding, and just squeeze the two sides back together, working your way to the top. There is no guess work involved in closing the binding back up, you can see and feel once it is firmly closed up and ready to hold all of your pages together. Its a pretty simple and seemingly sturdy system, and it only takes one or two opening/closings to get the hang of how to use it.
Just wanted to include one more photo of the LIHIT LAB B5 Twist Ring Note ring system so you can get an idea of how it functions. The plastic on these rings is the harder less flexible type of plastic, so it seems like it should be quite sturdy and hold up to daily use.
Before getting down to the actual writing sample and results, its important to note that this notebook is great if you are the fold over type. It folds over pretty nicely and does not cause any buckling or bunching up when you do it. At 30 pages thick (40 pages when I added the 10 extra refills that came with it) it does not become at all bulky or hard to write on when folded over.
I found that all of the pens that I used on this notebook performed fairly well, everything from gel ink, to rollerball, to fountain pens were use. There was very minimal feathering with a few of the pens, but not anything that was disruptive to my writing. On the bleed through issue, there was somewhat of a noticeable amount on the other side of the page. The Uniball Signo, and Pentel Slicci seemed to do best in the bleed through department, but they were also some of the thinner tipped pens that I used, so that could also be why. Id say if you are picky about bleed through you might be cautious about this notebook, but overall its not TOO bad.
As I mentioned before, the removable nature of the paper in this notebook, and the proprietary binding system remind me of the Levenger brand of notebooks, but clearly not as high end. I could see these notebooks being kind of “Levenger for the school budget” if you will. At $6.15 for the whole notebook and extra pages, its not a bad deal, considering you can keep adding paper refills, and you can move your notes around while keeping a clean and neat appearance with them.
Also, in regards to full disclosure on this, there was no discount or special consideration given to me for the purchase or review of this notebook. This notebook was paid for in full from my own office supplies budget.