As I said earlier in my review of the Hermès Ostrich GM Notebook Cover, I love items that bridge my interests, and while the Rhodia Clic Bloc combines my love of pens with my love of technology it hasn’t exactly won me over.
The Clic Bloc is a notepad that doubles as a mouse pad and unfortunately serving double duty makes it both a bad notepad and a bad mouse pad.
The pad measures 7.5″ x 9″, contains 30 sheets and has a nonskid backing. The Clic Bloc looks like a regular Rhodia notepad with an orange flip over cover, only the Clic Bloc does not have a cover, it is merely a color picture of a folded cover that even has a shadow line.
It is nice that they want this product to look like the other notepads in their line but to me it is a waste of space to print a fake folded cover on every page. I also don’t like that “www. bloc-rhodia.com” is printed on the bottom.
The paper is the same 80g paper that Rhodia is famous for and of course it performs superbly with fountain pen ink. No bleeding or feathering.
It should also be noted that the grid is only on one side of the paper, the opposite side is completely blank. The pad is bound with glue on the bottom and left edges and tears off easily. Because its glued on the left it isn’t going to work well for left handed people as the paper is not going to stay put when you brush against the pad.
As a mousepad, the nonskid backing is not as secure as a regular mousepad but it works well enough.
I found no tracking issues using the pad but I found the edges of the pad to be uncomfortable to brush up against while moving the mouse around and this is ultimately what caused me to stop using it. It’s just not comfortable.
Rhodia (and Clairefontaine) products have been a staple at my desk since middle school and there are not many formats I haven’t tried but the Rhodia DotPad # 38 and the Rhodia Clic Bloc mouse pad (review to come) fit the “new-to-me” criterion.
The #38 DotPad is the largest format top staple bound pad that Rhodia offers. It measures 16 ½” x 12 ½ “ and contains 80 sheets of Rhodia’s classic 80 g paper.
I purchased the #38 because I am currently using the end of my dining room table as a makeshift desk while I am in the process of remodeling and I was getting tired of juggling my Rhodia Reverse pad with my keyboard. Now I just sit the keyboard right on the #38 so that I don’t have to move my keyboard when I want to write a quick note.
The dot grid is the standard 5mm interval and Rhodia calls the dots “pale violet” in color but on the Black version that I have they look grey to me and are clearly different than the light purple color I see on my orange cover Reverse pads. The paper is micro perforated so it is very easy to tear out a page.
Using Rhodia’s standard 80 g weight paper, this pad does very well with fountain pen ink. Dry times are slower but tolerable and I use both sides of the paper without problem. I have been using the pad for a while now and I really like it. With a retail price of $16 and a street price closer to $13 it’s an affordable notepad that I plan to make a staple in my new office.
In recent years LIFE has become one of the most coveted brands of Japanese paper. It is generally more difficult to track down than my favorites Midori and Maruman. The prices of LIFE products in the US seem to be uncontrolled as they vary quite a bit and tend to be overpriced.
The product I will be reviewing is the B7 size LIFE Noble Memo Section pad and leatherette cover that I picked up on my recent trip to Japan.
The Memo pad features 100 cream colored sheets with a faint 5mm graph. The graph is printed on one side only; the back of the page is blank. The orange cover has a great vintage look to it with the black scrollwork boarder and raised gold and black “LIFE” letters.
This memo pad oozes quality. Everything on it is tight and the taped binding is one of the best I have seen. You can open up to the middle of the book and it will lay flat and then you can close it and you would have no idea that this book as ever been open.
The cream colored pages are very high quality. If you look at the blank side of the paper you will see that is ribbed. I tested the paper against Rhodia’s 80 GSM paper and found the dry time to be about equal. The LIFE paper is a bit thicker and is more resistant to bleeding. It took multiple strokes with my fat music nib to see any bleed. The grid lines seem to resist ink and while that doesn’t bother me it may bother some.
The cover is a brown leatherette that looks sorta like leather but definitely doesn’t feel like leather, that is to say anyone who touches it wont likely be fooled.
Pressed into the leatherette is “LIFE” and the same scroll work we saw on the paper cover. The fit and finish like the notepad is immaculate with beautifully aligned stitching. I have found that in addition to protecting the notepad the cover also helps keep the pad open when you are at the beginning of the pad. I really wish they did this thing in leather.
So what about the price? The notepad with notebook cover retails for 1,000 YEN which is just under $10 USD. In the US, unfortunately, the prices are considerably higher. I found the cover (no pad included) for $20 and I found the pad for $8. To me even with the unusual high quality, $28 is too much money for a little notepad with a leatherette cover. At $10 it’s still expensive but much easier to justify.
The best prices I have seen for LIFE products in the US are at:
Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang is rich red with a bit of a pink hue. The flow is average but this ink seems to feather quite a lot on the Maruman Smooth to Write paper I used for the written review. I tried this ink on a Rhodia No.18 pad and my Exacompta FAF pad and there was less but still noticeable feathering. I have heard of feathering issues even with extra fine nibs which is too bad because this ink is beautiful. There is some shading and the ink is fluorescent. Qin Shi Huang is not waterproof and has an average dry time. I really love the color of this ink but the feathering even on high quality paper is a turn off.