The Zequenz Classic 360 journal is one of those rare notebooks that's affordable, easy to find, and really well made. If you go through notebooks fairly quickly, want a range of sizes to choose from, and require good paper, then the Classic 360 is a great option.
The Zequenz Classic 360 notebooks come in a variety of sizes, from pocket (3.5" x 5.5") all the way to large (7.5" x 9.8") in grid, blank, or lined paper. Depending on the size you get, the sheet count is between 120 and 200, which is quite a lot. The model I'm using is called medium (5" x 7"), and I think it's a great size. At 200 sheets, it's a bit thick, but still manages to be roughly the same thickness as a Baron Fig Confidant. At 70gsm, the paper isn't going to win any awards with the fountain pen crowd, but it does handle fountain pen inks fairly well. In my use, some inks feather a tad, but it's not that bad. Also, almost all inks show through on the opposite page, save gel and ballpoint inks. So, if you plan on using these notebooks with a fountain pen or rollerball, you can effectively cut the page count in half since the back sides of pages aren't totally usable.
Despite the thinness of the paper, it's really smooth and enjoyable to use. Even though water-based inks show through, it's a delight to use. Leuchtturm1917 notebooks are similar in price and handle fountain pens and rollerballs with almost not show-through, but you also get about half the number of pages (~249 vs. 400) in the Zequenz notebook. It's a great value for the quality of paper inside, and you can also rest assured that the paper is acid free.
The Zequenz notebooks come in black or red and feature a polyurethane "leather-like" cover that looks and feels very nice. It's very pliable, and Zequenz touts that you can roll the book up. I'm not sure why you'd ever want to do this, but it is indeed possible.
The binding is unique on the Zequenz 360 notebooks in that it is curved. The pages are bound with a strong glue in a slightly curved fashion to improve the strength and usability of the notebook. In practice, this notebook feels well-made and sturdy. Even after bending it back and forth, throwing it in bags, holding it up for long periods, rolling it into a baton of sorts and throwing it back on the desk, it retains its shape and looks no worse for wear. Zequenz have done a great job on the binding for these books.
Unlike most of the competitors in this market, the Zequenz 360 notebooks do not have a fabric bookmark tail for marking your place. However, they do come outfitted with a handy magnetic bookmark so you can easily pick up where you left off. The magnet bookmark is a nice touch and is really easy to use. It's just strong enough to latch onto a single page, but it loses its grip when you put more than ~20 pages between its jaws. Overall, a great tool for the notebook.
Writing in the notebook is a great experience. The paper is smooth with a tiny amount of feedback, and the ruling is very light. Due to the thickness of the notebook, it can be a bit uncomfortable writing on something that's almost an inch tall, but this is true of any thick notebook as you get to the bottom of a page.
Unlike the competitors, the Zequenz notebooks do not feature any front pages for noting your name, email, phone number, etc., and there are no pockets included in the front or back covers. There also isn't an elastic closure band to keep the notebook shut, but I haven't had any problems with this book staying shut on its own.
Overall, the Zequenz Classic 360 notebook is a great value, and one that I've enjoyed carrying around using over the past few weeks. At 200 sheets, it's bound to stick with me for quite a while before it's time for a new one. Based on how it's held up to abuse so far, I have no worries that it will be in great shape when that 400th page is filled up.
(Papier Plume provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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