When my friends Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost from Studio Neat told me they were interested in making a notebook I was hyped. Knowing these guys like I do, I knew no detail would be spared, and I was right. The Panobook is an awesome notebook.
Yes, I consider Tom and Dan friends, and yes, I gave feedback throughout the design process. I even have some early prototypes laying around here that changed a good bit before the final product was settled on. This is so you know where I’m coming from with my review. But as you know, and as Tom and Dan learned, I don’t hold back my opinions. I deal in honesty and facts based on my experience with the product in question. And with the Panobook, there wasn’t much questioning to go around.
I’ll start you off with this: This is my most used notebook over the last month. By far. What I am enjoying so much about the Panobook is that the firm covers allows me to write comfortably with the notebook in my lap. I’ll grab a drawing pen - recently the Deleter Neopiko - or anything with a Schmidt P8126 refill - recently something Top Secret - and go to town. I can sit in a comfy chair in my living room and just write away. Like I told Myke on last weeks podcast, I wrote two pages of notes in my Panobook for one of the topics we covered. It made for fun and easy show prep.
The Panobook is designed to be a desk notebook, and I use mine there too. I generally keep it to the right side of my laptop or keyboard and in the vertical position. I surprised myself by using it in that orientation, as I love landscape mode in notebooks. But that is what works for me. It’s like a tall A5 pad.
It handles all inks very well, including fountain pen ink. I don’t like using fountain pens with the Panobook though, as the paper is dry and uncoated. There is no feathering, bleed, or ghosting, but the colors are flat with no shading or sheen, like the line from a drawing marker. They work fine, but I enjoy other pens and pencils more.
From a design perspective, Studio Neat thought of it all. The covers are firm but have a soft feel. The dot grid is a light grey with subtle guide markers for UI design or storyboards. The wire binding is strong and smooth, allowing you to turn the page easily and lay flat. There is even a slip cover for storage between uses or when done and filed away.
At $20, it is priced right in line with every other quality notebook in this category. I bought all three of mine through their very successful Kickstarter project, and they are taking pre-orders for them on the Studio Neat site for the next batch.
As a Studio Neat fan and customer for years, I’m glad to see them dip their toes into the stationery market. I have a feeling this won’t be the last product we see from them in this area.
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