Review: Paper-oh Ondulo Black A5 Journal

A few weeks back I visited my local book store (how excited am I that I can say that my city has a bookstore!?!) and while browsing found a good selection of Moleskine, Rhodia, and other brands of notebooks. On a whim I picked up a lined Ondulo Black Paper-oh Journal for $12.99. 

The Ondulo is 148x210mm or 6×8 inches aka A5. The outer cover is corrugated black paper. The front cover sports a small oval cut out near the spine. It’s nonsensical but does allow for a firm grip when pulling the notebook in and out of a back or slot. There is a magnetized flap that holds the whole thing shut. The magnets aren’t particularly strong but they do stay shut for the most part. I like the cover material. It does show wear and tear relatively quickly, but I like that look. The other cover materials offered likely would not show wear as quickly. Inside the cover are 112 pages of smooth cream colored paper. The weight and brand of the paper isn’t reported. It feels like a pretty standard weight text paper to me. The pages are stitched and glued in a standard smythe sewing. The ruling is very pale gray in color and it recedes to the background with every pencil and pen I’ve used. I like the ruling, though it is a very wide 8mm and doesn’t extend to the edge of the page. Rollerball, ballpoint, gel ink, and pencils are really nice on this paper. There is enough tooth that even harder pencils like the USA Gold or the Caran d’ Ache Stinkwood perform well. Softer smoother pencils tend to smear and smudge.

This paper is garbage with all the fountain pen and ink combinations I’ve tested. All the inks in the narrowest of pens soaks, spreads, and bleeds through. Even the finest of nibs is a broad on this paper. The feathering is intolerable and awful. It’s too bad because pens feel nice on this smooth paper and the color of the page is nice with my teal and blue inks. 

Included as a bonus type item is a unique book mark. You can use it one or two ways. I opted to use the stick and flap style versus the typical bookmark style. See the pic for a better description.

There is a lot that is nice about this notebook. They look spectacular and work well with pencils. They aren’t so great if you write or journal primarily with fountain pens. I’ve been using mine as part of my media intake journal (needs it’s own post) for a few weeks now, and I do like it for that purpose and with pencils. For $12.99 it’s not a great value but it would be a good gift for a stationery nerd.

Most links are affiliate links and I get a small amount of pennies aboud you chose to make a purchase following my links. It’s not a lot but it does help me to fund the hosting for the blog and buy new things to test and review. I bought the goods in this review with my own cash money and no one influenced my review.

  • Tina

    I was just given some PaperOh notebooks — an A5 cahier and an A6 Puro — and I was surprised to find that their papers are very different. The Puro’s paper was as you describe — bleedy, feathery, somewhat toothy — but the A5 cahier’s was much smoother and much more tolerant of fountain pens (though still not great). I wonder if one was older stock and was being phased out or vice versa. I really like how flat the books open.

    – Tina

    • lessherger

      Interesting I was planning on picking up a set of their cahiers for review. Def will now.