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Review: Yoobi Document Organizer

Back to School Sales are irresistible. I end up picking up stuff I really have no interest or need for the Yoobi Document Organizer (YDO) is one of those things. The YDO is reminiscent of two very different products, but not exactly like either. The first is a favorite of mine, the Lihit Labs Bag-in-Bag organizers. The YDO is close in size to the large. The other item it reminds me of, and you can thank Leadfast for the comparison, is the Nock Co Lanier. It’s not exactly like that either. I’ll get to those comparisons later.

The YDO is available in 4 colorways- Goin’ Bananas, Aqua and Checks, Aqua and Black Dotty, and Yoobi Awesome. Aqua and checks is a bright shade of blue, while Aqua and Black Dotty is more of a seafoam green. Not at all aqua. There are also 2 different price points, which is weird. The Goin’ Bananas and Aqua and Checks are both $10 while the other two are $13. Why the price difference? The two higher priced YDO have velcro flaps on an inside pocket.

I picked up the Aqua and Check because it was the only version my local Target had. If I’d had my choice I’d have gotten Goin’ Bananas. The quality of the stitching is acceptable, for a $10 item. If I had spent any more on this I’d take it back. There were a few loose threads here and there, that didn’t have an effect on the sturdiness of the item, so I hit them with a lighter and sealed them off. The zippers seem fairly sturdy but not as sturdy as say, a Tom Bihn bag. But then this isn’t intended to hold a backpack’s worth of stuff. Rather the YDO is intended to hold a few items in a well organized manner.

The organization inside is simple. One large pocket, two smaller pockets, a mesh pocket, and a flap. The zipper unzips fully around three of the four sides. The remaining side holds a handle.On the outside there is a zipper pocket and two smaller pockets. The whole thing is just under 2 inches thick, 13.5 inches high, and 10 inches wide. The polyester canvas slides in and out of my backpack and bags with ease. The handle is far from comfortable as it’s just a thin strap made of canvas. It’s also rather small. I can’t imagine carting the YDO around for more than a few minutes fully loaded.

Speaking of fully loaded, this thing can hold a lot more stuff than I first thought. Loaded to comfortable non-bulging it holds the following: tablet w/case, BT keyboard, composition notebook, pocket notebook, handful of pens and pencils, earbuds, cord and one small charger. If I pack it to bulging I can add to the above a back up power source, another cable, my pocket notebook in case, phone, and my BT speaker. Either way, this is a decent amount of stuff if you want to use it to organize a specific set of tools for a specific purpose- like heading to the cafe to peck out your next novel without carting around a large backpack or messenger bag. If say I was heading into work and I knew I had a block of time where I wasn’t going to work but I could head to the cafe this would be a fast way to ditch my backpack and take only my tablet and keyboard with me. Also, I could see myself taking this with me on the weekend to the cafe. Or I could slip this into my backpack and have all my stuff ready to go in seconds.

The big drawback to this is the lack of shoulder strap. I should weigh how much stuff I can cram into it, but at the end it’s heavy and if I were to cart it around by the strap, my fingers will go numb before I get to the cafe. Unlike the Lanier*, I don’t mind adding loops for a shoulder strap to this because I paid $10. If I look at this as a Bag-in-Bag contender the strap doesn’t matter.

I guess if you wanted to back the Lanier and you want something similar at a budget price, this is a great alternative. Just don’t expect it to wear and last like a Nock product would. If you want a Bag-in-Bag at a budget price, this will do the job really well. Yeah some of the patterns are silly- but I kinda love the silliness of the bananas. Yoobi makes some silly products, but they are aimed at teens and fun loving adults.

Overall I like this product. It functions for my uses and I’ll be adding a shoulder strap to the outside so I can lug it to the cafe without carting a full bag of junk. It is really interesting to pare down my carry and look at what I need and what I don’t need. But that is a whole other post. Continue reading

Review: Yoobi Journal

The Yoobi Journal is available in 2 sizes and styles: The vinyl covered 12.7×20.95cm or 5×8.25 inches which retail for $6 and the paper printed 8.5 x 6 inches and retails for $7. This review is for the vinyl covered version, though I’ve used both and the interior is the same.

The Yoobi Journal is just another vinyl covered journal/notebook. It breaks no new ground in the category of Moleskine knock offs. It’s got a hard vinyl cover with matching elastic and generously long place marking ribbon. The ribbon is heat sealed to prevent fraying. The corners are rounded. It lacks a pocket, but that is no big loss for a journal meant for writing. There is a 3mm overhang on all edges. They are available in a range of colors and prints- aqua, blue, pink, purple, white, and black. Sadly, they aren’t yet available in the new Yoobi color of coral.

Inside is a book block that is smythe sewn. In some of the signatures there is glue creep along the stitching, but I’ve seen worse. It bears mentioning. There are 160 pages of off white paper. The lines are thin and gray. The ruling is 6.5mm and does not go to the edge of the page. There is a 1cm gap around the page and a generous header..The color is pale enough to disappear behind my writing with most colors. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you know that this pleases me greatly. The paper is smooth but has enough tooth to be very nice with pencil. It does okay with extra fine and fine fountain pens, but those gushing mediums and broad nibs are going to soak through. The EF and F did have a tendency to show through but not bad enough to be a deal breaker. These really shine with pencil, rollerball, ballpoint, and gel inks.

The cover is able to be folded over onto itself for writing in hand. The covers are stiff enough that this is comfortable. The notebook does lay flat on a desk even when first opened.

It has the bonus of being inexpensive even at full retail. If you are patient, you will end up finding them on clearance for half price at Target or even the Yoobi website. I have picked up all of my Yoobi Journals for $3 each. This is a great value. This is a budget journal that is serviceable and tough. That vinyl cover stands up to abuse. I’ve been carting one around in my backpack and abusing it for months now and you’d barely notice the wear.

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Review: Highlighter Pencil Round Up

Consider this a mass review, or comparison, or whatever. My favorite highlighter will always be an eye droppered Platinum preppy with a 50/50 mix of Noodler’s Electric Eel and Year of the Dragon inks. It’s the best highlighter ever. I had to test out some highlighter pencils, simply to satiate my own curiosity. It also makes sense for when I’m reading books printed on cheap pulpy paper and my Preppy soaks through the cheap paper like it’s TP.pencil highlighters

I looked at 4 factors that make a good highlighter pencil:

  1. Price- These things get used, and used pretty quickly when I’m reading a lot of text for school. Cheaper is better.
  2. Texture- This can get broken into 2 subcategories: smooth and crumble. Smooth refers to how the pencil applies to the page- does it glide or catch? When highlighting I want glide. Crumble has to do with how the pencil responds to pressure and application to the page. Does it crumble and make a mess or is it strong and clean?
  3. Transparency- Can I easily see through the color or do I need to underline with the highlighter? If I can’t see through it then what is the point?
  4. Sharpening- How well, or badly, does the pencil sharpen? Am I wasting a ton of core in each sharpening of the pencil?

Using this criteria I looked at a selection of highlighter pencils and tested them out. The best is listed first and the worst last, however none are truly horrible, just when compared to the others, not as good.

These are listed in the order of best to worst.

Koh-I-Noor Highlighter/ Dry Marker Pencil

These are reliably good highlighters. Transparent and smooth with minimal crumbling. They sharpen well unless they have been abused. They come in a 6-pack and are reasonably priced. My package was roughly $6 at Artist and Craftsman but they are a little more on Amazon.

Kutsuwa Highlighter Pencil

I picked this up at Jetpens for $3, which is it’s only downfall. It would be the best of the best if it weren’t $3 a pencil. It does come packaged with an extender and sharpener in one.These are perfectly smooth and transparently. They sharpen perfectly each and every time. If you don’t use your highlighters often this might be the highlighter pencil for you.

Stubby Pencil Studio, Eco Highlighter

I scored this jumbo pencil in a swap but they are available on Amazon. They are sold in sets of 4 of one color, 12 of one color, or rainbow packages. They average about $4 each. They are the largest of any of the pencils in length, with a thick core that sharpens well. If you like raw wood pencils, these will make you happy. That being said, the core does crumble in use, not as bad as the worst of the lot but enough to make note of the crumble. The core is nicely transparent so there is that. At $4 each, they are a little pricey for me, especially since the core is crumbly.pencil highlighters

Yoobi, Highlighter Pencil Set of 5

Available from Target and Yoobi for $3.49 a set or $11 on Amazon. I’m not sure why Yoobi has decided to price their products so expensive on the ‘zom but they have. Anway way, these are also a jumbo pencil, in lightly finished wood. They look great with a nice black imprint of the yoobi name on one side. There are 4 colors in a pack, with 2 yellow pencils. These sharpen well and are mostly transparent but I think a tad too dark over black text. The core itself crumbles and leaves a mess all over the page. I find myself sharpening the pencil all the time because the tip has crumbled off. If you are looking for a cheap alternative with a good cause, these are it, but they aren’t going to convince anyone to give up a marker style highlighter.

Koh-I-Noor Magic colored pencil  in red, orange, and yellow*

This is a jumbo colored pencil and not really intended as a highlighter but the blend of colors works well for editing and underlining. It is fairly opaque, which is why it does well for editing and underlining. It sharpens well and has a fun marbled paint job. Due to it’s multicolored core it can be a bit crumbly but it does okay. At $1.50 a pencil these aren’t a bad price for editing, but as a highlighter, meh.
Over all, I find myself reaching for the Koh-i noor Dry Marker over and over. They are regular pencil sized and I can get a nice broad tip going, then sharpen up in any sharpener. They work well and are priced right, when they can be found. The Kutsuwa is the better highlighter over all, but just so darn expensive. Also I chewed through one in a week of use. It was a heavy reading week, but still, gone. If you are looking for a highlighter, you’ve got some choices.

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Review: Yoobi Pencils

A few weeks ago I was browsing the stationary section at Target, don’t pretend you don’t do the exact same thing, and happened upon the new display for Yoobi. It’s a nifty brand that donates a pack of what you bought to a school in need. Cool.

I picked up a few notebooks and a pack of pencils. I selected the mixed color 24-pack and received bright magenta, purple, blue and yellow green pencils that perfectly match their notebooks, journals, pens, highlighters, glue sticks, and other desk items. They are very brightly colored, which I like a lot.IMAG2045The pencils are standard #2 HB graphite cores. The core is well centered and whatever wood it is made of, sharpens well in all my sharpeners, from the KUM Ellipse, Long Point and wedge. Easy as could be. The core is nice and dark for an HB and is good for writing. it does okay for basic sketching but for anything resembling deep dark shadows a 4B or 6B pencil will need to be used. Point retention is decent but with pencils this cheap you can have a dozen sharp and ready to go without being worried about cost. Written journalers will be happy with these pencils.yoobiSpeaking of price, a 24-pack was a mere $2.29! They give a package to a school in need so it becomes an even better deal. The fact that these pencils  are super brightly colored and give to charity is great thing. They also coordinate with their notebooks really well. Even if you aren’t using a matching color, all of the colors work really well together.yoobi yoobi yoobi yoobi yoobi