Posts filed under Bellroy

Bellroy Work Folio A5 Review

Bellroy Work Folio

I’m a Bellroy fan, and what they created with the Work Folio A5 is truly beautiful. The build quality is fantastic, the leather is strong yet pliable, and the full aesthetic of the product is a designers dream.

It knocked my socks off when I opened the box, yet it doesn’t fit as part of my daily carry for reasons which you will read below.

Bellroy’s tagline is “Considered Carry Goods”. To me, that means they consider a wide range of details in making their product designs the best they can be. I think that is clear across the board, from wallets, to phone cases, to bags, and more. With the Work Folio A5, I think the burden of consideration is placed on the user. How, exactly, do I use this case in the best way possible for me?

Bellroy Work Folio Open

Let’s start with the size. A5 is the Goldilocks size as far as stationery goes. It is just right for a vast majority of uses, providing enough space to be creative while small enough as to not be overwhelming. Choosing this size for a carry folio is smart, except when it isn’t.

The provided slim, softcover notebook is the perfect compliment for this folio. It is a personal favorite format of mine actually. But the fact of the matter is, if you are spending $200 on a leather folio, you want to use your nice hardbound A5 sized notebook, like a Leuchtturm1917. It fits perfectly, but you may be limited to what else you can fit in the folio and still be able to zip it closed. This includes using the pen loop. (For my tests I chose the medium-sized Sunderland MK1, a pen I would consider an average size.)

  Maxed out with a Leuchtturm1917, pen, and Kindle Paperwhite.

Maxed out with a Leuchtturm1917, pen, and Kindle Paperwhite.

Alternatively, popular hardbound notebooks like the Baron Fig Confidant and Story Supply Exposition that are around 1/2” narrower than standard A5 do fit easier with the pen loop filled. Surprisingly, the A5 Nanami Paper Crossfield fits easily, likely due to its lack of a hard cover. It’s possible other similarly styled soft cover A5 notebooks will fit as well. Regardless, you will be limited in what else fits in the folio using a standard harcover notebook.

Bellroy Work Folio Front

The left hand side of the case provides several storage options, including two credit/business card size storage slots, and two flex-fabric pockets for larger items, like a pocket notebook or phone. This is my favorite section of the folio, as I fit a Field Notes memo book, Nock Co. DotDash 3 x 5 notecards, business cards, and credit cards - all without a hitch. If you plan on carrying a phone on this side and a hardbound A5 on the right, you will struggle with closing the case yet again. And don’t even think of sliding a small tablet under the notebook and being happy with the situation.

It’s clear to me at this point that this design was based solely on using a slim, soft cover A5 notebook. That’s fine. Like I said above, I adore this size. Unfortunately, the included Bellroy A5 notebook is terrible, and that is being generous.

Bellroy Work Folio A5 Notebook

I understand that complaining about a $5 notebook in a $200 folio is like complaining that the paracord zipper pull on your new backpack is frayed, but this is next-level bad. The first page of the notebook has a layer of the page torn off, the lines are crooked on both sides, funneling toward the middle of the page, and it looks like someone dropped a 25 lb. weight on each page, causing a raised ridge around the edge throughout the notebook. Like I said, it’s bad.

I think it is unfair to knock the overall package for the failings of the notebook, but when the exterior is so pristine I expect more. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to swap out.

Considered carry is how I recommend approaching the Bellroy Work Folio A5. It is a stunner to look at, and can be used in a functional manner. You just need to consider exactly how it will work for you before pulling the trigger.

(Bellroy provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Bellroy Work Folio Front Pocket
Posted on January 22, 2018 and filed under Bellroy, Notebook Reviews, Folio.

Bellroy Pencil Case Review

I am a fan of Bellroy’s design style and aesthetic. They made their name in the slim wallet market, and over the years branched out into phone and tablet cases, plus related accessories. The Bellroy Pencil Case falls into the latter category, as more and more of us carry a mix of analog and digital tools with us on a daily basis.

The outside of the case is a thick grey canvas which should age well and withstand plenty of wear and tear. The inside is partially coated with I’m not sure what exactly, but it feels like a thin layer of plastic/rubber. Assumedly this is for added structure, durability, and it probably makes the material easier to clean too.

The structure of the case comes into play with the ability to fold the top edges of the case out to form an open tray. This works well if you are planning on staying in one place for a while and need to get in and out of the case frequently.

Each end of the case features sewn in pull loops that are integrated into the case design. Technically, they did a great job integrating the loops. Aesthetically, they look fantastic. Functionally, well, let’s call that a mixed bag.

On the exterior of the case, the loops are perfect. They allow for extra spots to grab and pick up, or hold and pull the zipper open and closed. I imagine they would allow you to clip this case on the inside or outside of a bag, although I haven’t specifically tested that. The loops are certainly strong enough to withstand it.

But, there is a but. From end to end, the case is 9-1/2” long. Since the loops are integrated and take up inside space, they limit the interior opening of the case to around 7”. An unsharpened Blackwing is 8”. You see where I am going with this.

  Unsharpened Blackwing sitting atop the interior pen loop structure

Unsharpened Blackwing sitting atop the interior pen loop structure

That’s not to say you can’t fit one, but it takes work. Even after the first sharpen, you have to angle it into the bottom of the case, under the loops, from top left to bottom right, or vice versa. Alternately, you can float them above the loops at the top of the case right under the zipper. This is something you will have to consider with all long pencils.

I agree that is a very specific use case, and an awfully fine nit to pick, but that is the first thing I wanted to know about this case. Otherwise, I think it is excellent. It you are loading it up with gel pens, art markers, erasers, and smaller accessories, I think you will be happy with it, if not thrilled. It is a fun, functional, well-made case that I will get good use out of.

(Bellroy provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on July 31, 2017 and filed under Bellroy, Pen Case.

Field Notes + Bellroy Everyday Inspiration Review

I’m always excited when two of my favorite brands collaborate on a product, and this one is right up there with the best I’ve seen. We are talking peanut butter and chocolate levels of goodness here.

Field Notes, one of the premier notebook makers on the planet collaborated with Bellroy, the Australian leather goods and accessory maker, to release the Everyday Inspiration, a compact leather memo book cover.

Field Notes launched a now-discontinued leather cover of their own in 2013 called the Gentlemans Memo Book Cover. I’m not sure what sales were like, but the product was pulled in early 2016. Anecdotally, I don’t recall ever seeing one in the wild, and I never owned one myself.

Bellroy launched their own Notebook Cover Mini in late 2016 and it was met with great feedback. In fact, it is currently available at Bellroy in five different leather colors. On top of that, it is the exact same cover as the Everyday Inspiration, minus a few special Field Notes Brand tweaks.

From the outside, the Everyday Inspiration is pure Bellroy. It is is clean with minimal stitching, with only a small stamped Bellroy owl logo on the entirety of the exterior. The interior is equally as clean, with the added Bellroy/Field Notes name stamping inside the front cover.

The inside also features an orange backing on the grey leather, which I wholeheartedly approve of. The large interior flaps (or pockets) where the notebook cover slides in are easily accessible with rounded corners and stitching only on two-thirds of the edge for easy in and out access.

Credit and ID cards have two sneaky interior pockets under the inside front flap as well, allowing the Everyday Inspiration to be used as an all-in-one wallet as well. Business cards stick out a bit, but the edge lands before the middle fold to keep them from getting damaged.

As with nearly every pocket notebook cover I have tried, space for a pen is at a premium, or non-existent. I’m completely ok with this because I’d rather carry a pen I want to use elsewhere on my person than sacrifice the pen quality just because it fits the cover. The Everyday Inspiration is no exception. You can fit a pen inside the fold, but I don’t plan on ever doing that.

Also included with the cover are three Bellroy-branded Field Notes memo books that looks fantastic. Plus, a single notebook in the case is able to be secured with thin magnets inside the front and back cover. They are so stealth I had no idea they were there when I first opened the package and was loading up the cover.

$85 is an excellent price point for a cover of this quality. Every detail is thoughtfully considered and executed perfectly. I’m a fan of what Field Notes and Bellroy have collaborated on with the Everyday Inspiration and I hope they can find a way to work together again in the future.

(Bellroy provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on May 1, 2017 and filed under Field Notes, Bellroy, Notebook Reviews.