Posts filed under Moleskine

Moleskine Go Ballpoint Pen Review

Moleskine Go Ballpoint Pen Review

Moleskine surprised me several years ago when they updated their pen and pencil lineup. And by several years ago, I mean 2011, when I first reviewed the Moleskine Classic Roller Pen. Has it really been that long?

It has. I enjoyed that pen at the time, but the real winning feature of it was the Moleskine 0.5 mm Parker-style gel ink refill it was loaded with. I remember snapping up extra refills and using them in various compatible pens - at least until Moleskine stopped making them.

Moleskine Go Ballpoint Pen

Despite the disappearance of one of the best gel ink refills on the market, Moleskine continued to produce pens, but stuck to a more basic ballpoint refill. The rectangular barrel shape and side-opening clip remained the same, which allows users to clip the pen easily to the cover of their Moleskine notebooks. That is a nice, well thought out feature, although some users will not be able to hold the pen comfortably if they use a non-standard grip.

Moleskine Go Ballpoint Pen Clip

I had forgotten about Moleskine pens until my trip last fall to New York City, where I went on a city-wide stationery tour with my friends Ana, Myke, and Tiff. That tour brought us to Goods for the Study one afternoon, where I managed to spend way too much money. That’s what I was there for, right?

Moleskine Go Ballpoint

One of the benefits to shopping at a brick and mortar store is the ability to stumble into things you haven’t seen before. I was surprised when I saw a grouping of Moleskine pens - not realizing they still made them - and even more surprised when I found one calling my name.

Having enjoyed my previous Moleskine pen experience, there was no way I was going to turn down one with a graph paper ruling on the barrel. Specifically, this one is called the Moleskine Go Pen, Squared, Ivory. The name is that detailed because by my count there are 12 different models in this particular lineup (yes, including Lined, Blank, and Dot Grid versions.) On top of that, the pen costs only $5, which surprises me a little bit.

Moleskine Go

That’s more than fair in my book. In fact, I apparently also reviewed the predecessor to the Go pen - the Moleskine Click Roller Pen - and had this to say: “At $15 they are way overpriced - it feels like a $5 pen.” Moleskine reads The Pen Addict!

Ok, not really, but I’m glad to know that the price is now accurate for what this pen is. The Moleskine Go features a lightweight plastic barrel that is great for pocket carry, or notebook attachment. The refill is a 1.0 mm black, Parker-style ballpoint that is good, not great. It takes a second to crank up on occasion, but is consistent once it does.

Moleskine Go Ballpoint Writing

Most of all, this pen is fun. I love the look and style of it, and my grip gets along well with the rectangular barrel. Even when I am not actively using it, it stays on my desk for me to fiddle with, and because it looks cool. Not many of my pens retain desktop status, so it means a lot when one does.

I pay attention to what Moleskine offers as a brand. It’s time for me to watch their pen lineup a bit more closely going forward.


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Moleskine Go Ballpoint Notebook
Posted on July 8, 2019 and filed under Moleskine, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.

Moleskine Classic Notebook Review

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The great Moleskine experiment is over.

It was short, but telling. And I wish it would have ended differently. I appreciate Moleskine as a company. I love the projects they take on, like digital apps and online magazines. I love their product designs and their product tie-ins. I’m a fan of their pens too.

But their notebook paper sucks.

I bought this notebook to see if the rumors I had heard about improved paper were true. It is worse than I expected. With a fountain pen, it feels like I’m using a stone paper notebook, which if you have ever tried, you will know that the paper feels spongy and soaks up the ink. It was instant absorption with every fountain pen I tried. A picture is worth 1000 words

There was no need to go much further, but I did my penance on the next page for thinking this would work. There are a few redeeming choices if you absolutely must use this notebook:

Good pens for Moleskine:

Ballpoint, like the Bic Cristal or Uni-ball Jetstream.

Gel, like the Uni-ball Signo or Zebra Sarasa Clip.

Drawing pens, like the Sakura Pigma Micron.

Average pens for Moleskine:

Rollerball pens, like the Uni-ball Vision or Pilot Precise V5.

Liquid ink refills like the Schmidt P8127.

Brush pens, the finer the better.

Bad pens for Moleskine:

Fountain pens, any nib size or ink type.

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Pens in the Good category feel nice on the page and don’t feather or bleed. Pencils fall into the good category as well. Average pens can experience some bleed and feathering, especially with wider tip sizes in the category. Bad pens, well, let’s just say don’t use fountain pens with Moleskine notebooks. Your office copy paper is a better choice.

“But Brad, I don’t use fountain pens!” I hear ya, and you may be ok purchasing and using a Moleskine notebook. I’d say with ballpoints and pencils you will be perfectly happy. And while gel and drawing pens fall under the Good category, the wider tip sizes could get you in trouble, especially if you like to draw or sketch. For that, you should use the Moleskine Sketch Notebook, which is a great product.

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Recommending a Moleskine is too difficult. There are too many caveats. Too many what ifs to dance around. And there are too many other good options on the market that don’t have the ink challenges Moleskine does. In hardcover format, Leuchtturm1917, Rhodia, Baron Fig, and Apica are easy to find and are far superior in every way. For softcover, that list easily triples.

If you are reading this blog you know all of this already, yet Moleskine remains the most popular notebook of this style in the world. The marketing machine has ramped up to epic proportions. They are synonymous with the little black notebook. But there are better choices. A lot of them. Remember this: Pen friends don’t let their friends buy Moleskine.


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

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Posted on November 13, 2017 and filed under Moleskine, Notebook Reviews.

Moleskine Alternatives

Baron Fig Confidant

Baron Fig Confidant

I spoke about Moleskine journals on the podcast this week and it generated a lot of spirited conversation on both sides of the ledger. I think it's pretty clear that I am not a fan of the brand, but I wanted to elaborate a little bit as to why.

When I say Moleskine as a general term I am talking about one specific model: the hardbound Classic Journal in 8.25" x 5". This is the ubiquitous Moleskine. The one that is fawned over by the press, and the one that doesn't fit my needs. That's the key here. My needs. If it fits your needs that's fantastic. You should definitely keep using them. But for me, Moleskine paper falls short of its competition.

For the most part, Moleskines work well with ballpoint pens, fine liquid ink pens, and pencils. I've traveled before with just a Moleskine and a Fisher Space Pen refill and been completely satisfied. But my two favorite pen types - micro tip gel ink pens and fountain pens - perform poorly on Moleskine paper. Luckily, we live in a world where other options are only a mouse click away. I've tested all of the notebooks below and would choose any of them over the standard Moleskine Journal.

Moleskine alternatives (Classic Journal, 8.25" x 5"), in no particular order:

Leuchtturm 1917 - The closest in look, style, feel, and price, but with better performing paper for a wider range of pen types.

Rhodia Webnotebook - My personal favorite, and the best for fountain pens. Longer dry time is the tradeoff.

Baron Fig Confidant - Great style and format, could work better with fountain pens but great with gel ink.

Quo Vadis Habana - Slightly bigger and more expensive but on par or better than Rhodia.

This list just scratches the surface. Don't even get me started on other sizes, such as pocket notebooks and top-bound pads. We could get into the hundreds on that list!

I just ask that you keep in mind one thing when reading this blog or listening to the podcast: You don't have to agree with everything I say. And you shouldn't. Disagreement is good and healthy. We all have specific needs that we are trying to solve for, and within that journey lies the fun. I'll keep having opinions, and you should too.

Posted on June 18, 2015 and filed under Leuchtturm, Notebook, Rhodia, Baron Fig, Moleskine.