If there’s someone who’s an even bigger stationery addict than me, it must be my boyfriend. I mean, our favorite past time is browsing through stationery stores and trying out pens for the 10th time, just because. And if you’re reading this, then you’re probably one of us.
So when I received the William Hannah Notebook package and opened it, the first thing that he said was “Wow, this is one of those products that looks even better in real life than in pictures”. He then spent 5 minutes holding and smelling it, staring blankly at the floor. He must’ve been re-thinking his Christmas wishlist, I presume.
Before we dive into the review (or if you’re impatient like me), let me give you a quick overview of the notebook’s specifications.
WILLIAM HANNAH NOTEBOOK
|Dimensions||222 mm (H) x 162 mm (W) x 35mm (D) / (A5)|
|Outer cover||Tactile Italian leather|
|Color options (outer leather)||5 (Whiskey, Bordeaux, Red Chilli, Agave, Black)|
|Inner cover||High quality Italian suede|
|Color options (inner suede)||9 (Navy, Royal Blue, Kingfisher, Orange, Lime, Petrol, Ultra Violet, Fuchsia, Crimson)|
|Off-the-shelf color combinations||15||Paper||Acid-free 115g/sqm white paper||Paper options/combinations||60 total pages (choose between plain, lined, dotted (5 mm), grid – all in multiple color options)|
|Numbered pages||✗ (that would defeat the purpose of the discbound system)|
|Discs||8 discs made out of 303 gauge stainless steel (20mm in diameter, 5mm thick)|
|Lays flat when opened||✓|
|Pen loop||✓ (optional, +£6,00)|
* off-the-shelf model, excluding shipping. Price taken from their official website.
The notebook comes packaged in a beautiful box that I have repurposed and I now use as insert storage. Both the leather and the suede feel incredibly soft and high-quality, and as far as manufacturing goes, I couldn’t find any single flaw.
In case you’re curious, my notebook is in the color Whiskey and Orange.
PAPER & PEN TEST
I think you guys know by now how much paper quality means to me. You could give me a planner made of gold, but if the paper quality is “meh” then I just won’t love it. So of course, the absolute first thing that I did was a pen test to see how the paper handles ALL of my writing/drawing supplies.
Compared to the Leuchtturm1917, the paper is whiter and the dots are a bit darker. Obviously, the pages aren’t numbered – that would defeat the purpose of the discbound system.
I carried out the same pen test in my Leuchtturm1917, for the sole purpose of providing you with some kind of visual reference/comparison.
No surprises here: the Leuchtturm has 80g/sqm paper so it does ghost too much for my liking and even bleed-throughs in some cases, whereas the 115g/sqm paper of the William Hannah gives unnoticeable ghosting and zero bleed-through.
Moreover, the paper is much smoother (the good kind of “smoother”, not the slippery kind) and the pens simply glide – it’s a dream to write on, and it meets all of my expectations.
The notebook also comes with a clean and simple Yearly Calendar at the end.
What I’ve found interesting and unique about their system is the way that the discs are connected to each other by a stainless steel rod, which gives the notebook good structure and stability, so it won’t wobble around. “Wobble”. I like that word. That’s a funny word.
This also means that you could have as few pages inserted as you’d like, and that still wouldn’t compromise the stability of the notebook (which doesn’t hold true for my previous discbound planner).
The discs are comparable in size to the Happy Planner mini discs, except they are 1mm thicker and 3mm smaller in diameter. But the good news is, if you have a Happy Planner Puncher or you wanna transfer some of your old pages into your new William Hannah, you can do so because they fit perfectly (see picture below)!
The distance between the discs is the same as with any discbound system, and the pages can be turned with no problem – which I was SO excited about because I wanted to transfer some of my older spreads into it. On a side note, the WH inserts fit perfectly inside the Happy Planner disks as well.
The pages can be flipped with ease, and the thickness of the discs ensures that they will stay put unless you want to take them out. To do so, you have to grab the inner top of the page and pull up and towards yourself. You should only take out a few pages at a time (I usually take out 5-10 pages at a time).
If you want to insert new pages, you align them with the discs and press down in between until they fit in. Probably sounds more complicated than it is – this whole process is actually extremely quick and easy.
Christina had a point in her review when she suggested asking Santa for this notebook, because £95,00 is quite the amount to spend on a notebook, right? So let’s put things into perspective and you can decide whether it’s worth it for you or not.
For the past few months I have used the discbound notebook that I’ve made myself, using supplies from Happy Planner and printing/punching my own paper at home (read all about that here). I’d like to note that when making this notebook, I looked for the cheapest options available in my region – so if you’re lucky you probably could find even cheaper alternatives (for example the Staples Arc Notebook System – $14-30,00 or Levenger Circa $59,00 which we don’t have in Europe).
But let’s see how the prices of each of these compare (I excluded shipping costs for obvious reasons).
|William Hannah||My DIY discbound notebook||Filofax|
|Description||Off-the-shelf model||HP* Mini Discs – $7,50
HP Puncher – $29,99
Paper (32lb / 120g) – $10,99
HP Faux leather cover – $34,99
OR HP laminated covers – $7,99
|A5 leather organizers|
|TOTAL||£95,00||$83,47 (with Deluxe covers) OR
$56,47 (with laminated covers)
|£85,00 – £179,00|
* Happy Planner
** All prices are taken from the official company websites
THINGS TO NOTE
Just like any other planning system, the discbound has its pros and cons. To me, cons are outweighed (hence why it’s my system of choice at the moment), and you can read my thoughts on that here. So let’s focus on the WH in particular.
- Unlike the discbound notebooks that have laminated covers, this one cannot be folded under itself. So in order to write 100% comfortably on the non-dominant-hand side of the notebook, you’d probably have to take out the page and pop it back in when you’re done. Like I’ve said, this is an extremely quick and easy process so I don’t mind it, but you might.
- If you’re new to the discbound system, then the price wouldn’t make this an entry-level notebook simply because you don’t know whether you’ll like it or not. Unless you’re willing to take that chance.
- Something I’d love to see added to this notebook in the future is a closing option like on the Filofaxes or anything similar. I think it’s because of their pen loop system that they couldn’t add one, but if you’d want to carry this around then a closure option would be really useful.
All in all, the William Hannah is more than a notebook, it’s an experience. It’s the feel of the notebook, the smell of the covers, the pleasure of journaling in it, and the certainty that it can last for a lifetime.
So what are your thoughts on this notebook? Is it worth the “investment”? Let me know in the comments!
Here goes the disclaimer: I talk openly about everything. I have never and will never accept any form of compensation in exchange for a positive review. The notebook was sent to me for consideration with no strings attached. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.