- 5.8″ x 8.3″” (A5)
- Lined Ruling
- 8mm ruled, fine cream colored paper with watermarking
- 100 sheets
- Turquoise Cover with gold foil logo, thread binding with a taped spine
- $15.99 USD from Nanami Paper (no affiliation, but fast shipping and nicely packaged!)
- Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black in Fine Nib
- Diamine Eau de Nil ink
- Various other ink / nib tests
Notes: What drew me to this notebook was how great it looks. The embossed gold “LIFE” on the cover, surrounded by screened scrollwork in black ink really pop off of the turquoise heavy card stock cover. It also helps that this notebook is full of wonderful, thick, high quality Japanese paper. I’ve been using more and more Japanese stationery lately, and this notebook is really great. Thanks for reading and enjoy the review!
Appearance and Construction:
This notebook is awesome looking. Outward appearance is very impressive and the construction is just as good. The turquoise cover corresponds to the ruling (in this case, turquoise = lined ruling) and really stands out on my black desk. I keep the notebook out on my desk even if I’m not using it, just to stare. In terms of construction, there are 4 signatures. A signature is a smaller section of bound paper that makes up stitch-bound notebooks. A standard notebook of this size uses around 10. The construction is simple and sturdy and I’m confident it will stand up to being bounced around in a bag or carried around. There are also small dots at the top and bottom of the page. I’m not sure of the purpose, but I like the visual appeal.
Performance and Feel:
The LIFE Noble notebook is loaded with 100 fountain-pen friendly sheets of cream colored paper. It’s nice and smooth, but the watermarking in the page gives it some welcome feedback. The fine Sailor nib never got hung up on the page and it doesn’t shed fibers into narrow nibs. The feedback from the paper’s texture is noticeable, but it’s a welcome feel for me. There’s a bit of show-through from the other side of the page, but no bleed through (even with Baystate Blue). I’m content with the feel and performance of the paper, no complaints here.
Color & Ruling:
The paper in this notebook is a pleasing shade of cream. It’s on the darker side, but it’s not too yellow and doesn’t change the appearance of the color of ink too drastically as some papers can. When held up to the light (or looked at closely), you can see the watermarked lines from the milling of the paper running in horizontal and vertical lines. These watermarks give the paper a rustic and quality feel, but do not get in the way in terms of performance. The ruling is printed in a very light grey ink and is minimally intrusive, allowing your eye to focus on what is on the page, not the guides. I prefer 6 or 7mm ruling for a notebook of this size to accommodate my smaller writing, but the 8mm rule in this notebook isn’t a deal breaker.
Overall Thoughts and Recommendation:
The LIFE Noble notebook looks great, is well made, and loaded with high quality fountain pen-friendly paper. Since this is an imported item, it’s a bit pricier than other notebooks of its size. This A5 notebook was $15.99 and larger sizes have larger prices to match. If you’re looking for a great looking journal that you’re going to cherish, it’s worth checking out the LIFE brand. If Rhodia’s WebNotebook paper is too slick for you, then definitely check this one out. I bought this notebook based solely on how it looked, but I was pleasantly surprised by its overall high quality and performance with fountain pens.
Thanks for reading!
14 thoughts on “LIFE Noble (A5) – Notebook Review”
Wow thank you for the great review and the tip on where to buy them. JetPens sells the A5 for $25 and the A4 for $46!!!
No problem! JetPens is always good too though.
Yes they are one of my favorite retailers. Ultra fast shipping and great service.
Nice review. Do you know if this uses the same paper as the Life Vermillion pocket (A6) notebooks?
I’m not 100% sure, but it looks to be the same heavy, laid paper.
Great review thanks. Little too ornate for my tastes but fountain pen friendly in a very flat laying design that takes up minimal space. I still might bite.
Thanks for reading! I believe that the brand has some less ornate offerings with the same paper. I’ve really been enjoying mine.
I am in Tokyo. I bought the A5 Life Noble Notes ruled notebook at Tsutaya in Daikanyama for 945 yen (about $10) and the leather cover for 2200 yen ($22). I posted my photos and review on Shopplr: http://www.shopplr.com/2013/10/life-noble-notes-good-notebooks-fountain-pen-writing/
I think the dots are guides for creating columns. Muji notebooks often have these.
I just love this notebook! A great alternative when I get tired of my Rhodias. 🙂 i also did a review of it lately, but unfortunately my giveaway was over already 😛 http://onfountainpens.com/2014/11/life-noble-note-review/
Sorry for such a late comment, but I just read your review and found that it reflects my experience with this notebook, too. Like you, I really appreciate the slight feedback the paper gives. I like to feel my pen on the paper. Lately I’ve had the unpleasant experience of several of my stub nibs sliding around & skipping on paper that is too slick. I ordered a couple of these Life notebooks, remembering that they seemed slightly more toothy. And my memory was right; the paper is the perfect balance between smooth creaminess and feedback. In my mind, I think of a feedback like this as “sweet.” I also like the creamy ivory color; it’s a nice change from stark white or eggshell. Personally, I kind of like it when ink colors are slightly influenced by the color of the paper, as long as it’s not overpowering. And while I can handle 6 mm lines, I prefer at least 7 mm; however, 8 mm gives me the freedom to be more expressive with my handwriting, so it’s a nice change. I’m glad that I rediscovered this notebook and plan to keep several on hand in the future. BTW: I found some at a great price on Amazon. I’m all for supporting small stationery shops, but when I can save $6 – $7 per notebook, I’m gonna snatch up a few. Of course, the price I found might just be a Christmas sale, but hey, I’ll take a nice discount when it’s available! Ed, thanks for another great review.