At this point, most people are familiar with pocket notebooks — pen addicts and non-addicts alike. The popularity of Field Notes in the last several years has opened the flood gates for lower quality, lower cost alternatives in big box retail stores, and it's because the pocket notebook is an invaluable tool. Well, I recently learned that there are pocket notebooks, and then there are pocket notebooks that can fit in the pockets of those aforementioned pocket notebooks.
The Maruai Basic Notebooks line is a selection of miniature notebooks that are even smaller than the standard 3.5" x 5.5" size with which we're all familiar. The "Mini" Notebook comes it at a whopping 3.2" x 2.2", while the "Pocket" Notebook is a much larger 4.1" x 2.4". While both notebooks are quite diminutive in size, they have a lot to offer in quality and easy-to-store-literally-anywhere-ility.
Let's start off with the common aspects of these two notebooks. Both share the same quality paper, which is a pleasant ivory color. I don't know the actual weight of the paper, but it performs about as well as the standard Field Notes paper. I wouldn't say it's fountain pen friendly, but it holds up pretty well. For gel, ballpoint, and hybrid ballpoint inks, it's fantastic. The paper is smooth with a small amount of texture, providing a pleasant level of feedback.
Both notebooks also come with the same color options — Black, Orange, Yellow, Green, Gray, and Navy. The colored covers are simply that — each color uses the same paper and line type, unlike other brands that use the color to indicate the line style on the paper.
The covers are also made of the same robust, textured material. They aren't smooth, and the subtle texture feels great in the hand. They're the weight of a very light cardstock, very similar to other pocket notebook brands.
As far as similarities go, that's the end of the road. The differences at this point aren't gigantic, but they might certainly sway your preference outside of the size option alone.
Starting with the (adorably) smaller Mini notebook, it offers 48 pages in a twin-staple binding. The paper on this size is all blank, so you don't have any decisions to make on that front.
At just over 3 inches tall and 2 inches wide, it shares the dimensions of a credit card. Sure, it's a lot thicker, but that's pretty impressive. Like JetPens claims, you can store this notebook in a credit card slot of a wallet. This shows just how many options you have when it comes to storing this little guy. In fact, it's so small that it becomes prone to being lost. It can easily slip into places other items can't, increasing the likelihood of misplacing it or mysteriously vanishing.
The binding (which is on the side of this notebook) and cover are well made, but once you start using this notebook, it will not stay closed.
Moving on to the larger cousin, the Pocket notebook is only slightly larger, but it also sports a sewn top binding, which completely changes the usage options (at least for me). I've always been a huge fan of top-bound notebooks, and this unique size has been interesting to use.
With 64 pages of 5mm grid paper, this notebook offers the structure many crave. While it won't fit in a credit card slot, it's still incredibly small and capable of fitting places other notebooks can never dream of. I've really enjoyed using this notebook over the Mini because it seems to be easier to use when writing and jotting down quick notes. That might be because it's larger, is top-bound, or a combination of both.
The Mini comes in at $4 and the Pocket is $5.75. This is a premium price considering how you can usually pick up a three-pack of notebooks for around $10 from other makers, and the paper quality isn't amazing by any stretch. To me, this is a niche notebook that fits a size criteria that other notebook makers simply aren't offering at large scale. If you have a specific use for these notebooks and their diminutive size, I'm sure they'll serve you well! As far as notebooks go, they perform quite well for jotting down notes and disappearing when not in use.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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