Yes, we’re reviewing a paper notebook. The thing is – spoiler – this one is awesome. Forget Moleskine, which is nice marketing wrapped in faux leather wrapped around thin, porous, easy-bleeding pages. The Baron Fig Confidant is what you want.
Works With: Pen or pencil
It’s packed with clever “features,” and yet you don’t notice the book at all when you’re using it. Does any of that sound familiar to you Apple users?
What It Is
The Confidant is a 192-page notebook, packed with blank, ruled or dot-grid paper. It opens flat, has its own cotton bookmarker, is covered in pale gray fabric and has neat, extra-wide pages.
There are also 12 perforated pages at the back of the book so you can tear them out without ruining the binding. My copy doesn’t have these, so maybe I have a beta version.
And that’s not just an idle joke. The folks at Baron Fig are open to suggestions and plan on making upgrades to future versions.
My review unit is about half-filled with my scrawlings, and so I figured it was time for a review. I love this book, and here’s why.
First, it stays open. When you turn to a new page it’s like any other book, and it flips back to the previous one. But once you’ve written a bit, it stays open. This is thanks to the stitching in the binding, and it not only lets you write instead of wrestle with the pages, but it lets you get to the very center of the sheets – the edge doesn’t disappear into a gully.
Next up is the shape. The pages are very similar in size and shape to the iPad mini, a littler wider and shorter than the typical Moleskine. This makes writing a lot more comfortable. Just like the non-16:9 iPad is way better in portrait orientation, so it is with paper books. The Moleskine is the Android tablet of the notebook world.
The acid-free paper is also beautiful to write on. I use one of Mitsubishi’s Uni Jetstream pens, or a Uni-Ball Eye, and neither of these bleed through the paper. Speaking of paper, the sheets in the Confidant are thick enough to be stiff and satisfying, but not so thick that you feel they’re wasting space in the binding.
The book I’m reviewing (aka scribbling over) is the dot-grid option. It’s as good as blank, but offers some help if you’re the kind of person who can’t write in a straight line. Which, given that none of use writes more than a shopping list on paper these days, is everyone.
There’s not much wrong with the Confidant. Just two things in fact. One cosmetic, and one easily fixable.
The pale gray cloth cover looks and feels great, but it picks up dirt. I think it adds character, but some may not agree. Perhaps a dark gray option in future?
The second problem is with the golden yellow bookmarker. Mine frayed, and looked like it was going to keep fraying, like a wool sweater in a Tom & Jerry cartoon. To fix it, I chopped of the offending fringe and dipped the tip in candle wax. It looks cool, and is fray-free.
At $16, the Confidant goes up against the $19 large Moleskine Classic Notebook, which has more (240) but thinner pages, a pocket in the back and an elastic strap to keep the book shut (until the strap breaks or perishes, that is).
The Confidant has better paper, a better shape, is better made and if you buy it your money goes to people, not a big company that went public last year, valued at $626 million.
It’s not that giving money to big companies is a bad thing. It’s that the alternative is so much better. The Confidant does have some faults, but its strengths easily outweigh them. I’m confident in saying that the Confidant is my favorite notebook around. Recommended.
Product Name: The Confidant
The Good: Beautifully made, surprisingly light, disappears when you use it. Wide, fold-flat pages really make a difference.
The Bad: Gets filthy fast.
The Verdict: You’ll love this notebook, and it’s clear that the folks at Baron Fig really love it too.
Buy from: Baron Fig