Mini Review: Rhodia Webnotebook A6 Black

21 05 2011

Ladies, gentlemen, and individuals who choose not to gender-identify, here is a notebook worth buying.

The Rhodia Webnotebook (a.k.a. the Rhodia “Webbie”) is probably about as far as you can get from a Moleskine while still falling in the “little black book with a back pocket and elastic band” category. The cover is a soft, black leatherette which is lovely to rub on your face, or to stroke as if you are an insane evil villain who has mistaken a notebook for a cat, but it tends to accumulate little smudges, scuffs, and remnants of fingerprints as though it were born for the job.

The specs: 3.5 x 5.5 inches, bit thick on the profile side, featuring 96 sheets of 90g ivory Clairefontaine paper. Oh, and you can use BOTH sides of those 96 sheets.

In profile, you can see how the exceptionally tight elastic closure has forever warped the hard cover. My guess is that starting with an almost impossibly tight elastic means an overall greater lifespan for the useful elasticity of the closure; I’ve certainly had some SHODDY NOTEBOOKS WE SHALL NOT NAME whose elastic bands have gone uselessly limp. I do wish there were a way to have a better elastic and also have it not warp the cover though.

I'm sorry; were you still trying to write on that page?

Wrapping up the general complaints and grievances section, I need to note that this notebook will not lay flat of its own initiative. You have to hold it down, like a prisoner. Now, my Webbie is fairly new, and only has about 4 pages that I’ve written on so far. My guess is that with extended use, the Webbie will eventually learn to lay flat on its own. Or perhaps I could go through and try to crack the spine a little. Just a warning though, when the notebook is new: do not expect it to lay flat. If you need the pages to lay flat, say to dry, then weight them down or the book will shut itself.

In spite of the little flaws, I love the overall design of the Webbie; I like the subtly embossed logo, I enjoy the rich and supple feel of the cover, even if it does get a bit dinged up…but this isn’t a beauty pageant. Let’s get on the paper.

everything is so beautiful...

Drying time is a bit longer than most, though I didn’t do any informal time-test, I have not yet had a problem with smudging any of my still-drying writing. Maybe I just pause too long to think when I write. Every pen’s writing looks gorgeous on the page; lines are crisp, they have character, and I see no fuzzing or feathering.

Still usable! WHOA

And look! No bleedthrough. You can somewhat see the shadow of the writing through the page, which I’m guessing will be a problem you’ll have with any paper that isn’t some kind of 140lb (300g/m²) watercolor paper. If this really bothers you, try writing on watercolor paper. Problem solved!

What even HAPPENED with the colors on this. I do not know. I would like to thank/blame the cloudy day, and my continued lack of skill in Photoshop.

Doesn’t that look delicious? It certainly feels delicious. Writing in the webbie is smooth and enjoyable. The paper works with the writing process, instead of against it.

The webbie runs a little more expensive than a standard pocket Moleskine, but with the unique experience that you’re actually paying more money for a quality product, instead of just for the heck of it. Typically, the pocket webbie seems to retail around $16, but with a little snooping on the web you can find a better price. Goldspot pens has a good price on them right now (though I think it might have been even more on sale when I tweeted about it last week…or I’m hallucinating); JetPens also has a pretty good price, provided you are buying at least $75 worth of assorted notebooks (which is about never for me, so this will never actually be a good deal for yours truly). I don’t feel like doing the mathematical gymnastics required to divine exactly which combination of sale price and shipping price yields the exact lowest price among every retailer with a Rhodia webnotebook in their stock; I’ll leave that to you, and assure you that even if you don’t finagle the most bargain basement deal in getting one of these notebooks, it’ll still be worth it.




9 responses

21 05 2011

I’ve been a happy Webbie user for a few months, and I gotta say, there’s nothing my .3mm pens like more than that sweet, sweet paper.

26 05 2011

Great review and thanks for the link to our website! We’ll be getting the Dot webbies in the next few weeks and I’m eager to see how customers respond to the dot grid page format.

26 05 2011
No Pen Intended

Oh man no way. I love using the regular Rhodia dot grid for doing hourly comic day exercises….now there will be dot grid in webbie form? You already have my response: NEED WANT WILL BUY :D

24 06 2011
Danielle (@Danisidhe)

I fell in love with the webbies the moment I touched one and I now have several for different purposes. The only problem I’ve found is telling which black or orange book is for which topic (on my clairefontaine cloth bounds I write on the spine) I’ve suggested on the facebook page of the Rhodia blog that they come up with some kind of ‘webbie jewelry’ that we could slip or stick on the spine or bookmark so that we can distinguish between them. For now, I’ll just keep them in different places so I know which is which (and there’s always one nearby to stroke :)

14 07 2011
Note Booker, Esq.

I wouldn’t worry about your photoshop skills too much. My photography makes yours look like genius. I’m afraid no matter how much I talk up a product, everyone will think it stinks because the pictures are so bad!

30 09 2013
Monologue Ruled Notebooks (A5, A6, A7, & A8) | No Pen Intended

[…] obvious comparison to make for these notebooks is the Rhodia Webnotebook, so let’s go ahead and get it out of the way. Where the Rhodia Webbie only comes in A5 and […]

31 01 2014
Monologue Platinum A6 Silver | No Pen Intended

[…] biting so badly through the cover like it does on the regular Monologue Ruled Notebook. Take note, Rhodia, it might be worth a try (or a prototype? wink wink my mailbox is […]

29 10 2016
Galen Leather Goods – Leather Pocket Moleskine Journal Cover – Purple | No Pen Intended

[…] longer to review because I spent so much time trying to find the right notebook to put in it. Rhodia webnotebooks fit, but just seem a little too thick. Moleskine notebooks are perfect, but the paper is awful. The […]

30 01 2017
Quo Vadis 2017 Plan & Note Planner | No Pen Intended

[…] & Note in Violet. The cover is a rubberized soft-touch cover, somewhat but not quite like the Rhodia Webnotebook in texture, of a mostly firm, semi-flexible cardboard stock. The binding is designed to lay flat, […]

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