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Hello all,


I picked up a Mead Flex notebook at a local office supply store. It's a very interesting binder-notebook cross, with the best characteristics of both.


The Flex is what you would get if you had a typical plastic notebook and used 3 flexible plastic rings instead of wire. The ones I saw were in different solid colors (pink, blue, green, black) on the front with black plastic rings and a black back. It comes in 1-subject, 3-subject and 5-subject sizes, although you can comfortably fit quite a bit more paper in a Flex than Mead says. Any US 3-hole punched paper will work (not sure if 3-hole punches are the same size in other countries).


I definitely recommend this if you like the paper-swapping abilities of binders but have trouble with the stiff sides breaking, the weight, the size, etc. It's the weight of a wirebound notebook, the size of a wirebound notebook except for right where the rings are, look and operates like a notebook (including folding the front cover around to touch the back to show only one sheet of paper), except that you can use any paper you want. The only thing that could be improved is the cover stiffness. Amazon reviews are generally very positive, so I feel good about its ability to stand up to lots of use. The only concern I can see at the moment is that the rings may eventually wear out, like binders will develop problems closing if used enough.


The front and back covers are solid plastic, and feel sturdy. They are flexible, not stiff. The notebook can be completely opened and the front cover moved to the back (just like a regular wirebound notebook), but remains flexible when that is done. It's not stiff enough to write comfortably without bracing it on a surface.


It's light enough that even with the thin Mead paper I'm not worried about a yank disordering my notes (my concern about disc-based systems). Here I'm holding the Flex by a couple sheets of paper. With heavier paper I feel comfortable yanking it around by whatever part's nearest.




The notebook uses a thin strip of cloth and 3 flexible plastic rings to keep itself together. The cloth is inside the plastic rings and is stitched to the front and back plastic covers. The rings keep the paper together with the cover. They're spaced like standard binder rings, but are plastic instead of metal. They are attached to a stiff strip of plastic which is bolted to the back cover of the Flex. Each ring has to be pulled apart individually, which isn't as noisy a process as most binders I've dealt with. More of a dull pop than a loud boing. One side of a ring is a hollow tube, which is contoured inside to be the mate of the plastic spear that is the other side. The rings are flexible, and not perfectly round, which makes them easier to write over compared to binder rings.


Here's both sides of the notebook cover, showing the binding



Closeup of a ring on the back cover showing how they're secured




Mead Five Star paper. It's OK, but doesn't really matter, because you can use any paper you want. :D



The Mead guarantees are only for a year, and looking at how the plastic rings hold together, I can see that something might become worn down if you swap pages around very frequently. This is a softer plastic. On the other hand, I haven't see any signs of wear yet, and not having to buy a $50 punch just to use a notebook makes this a much better investment for me. Pricewise it's cheaper than or comparable to the disc notebooks I've seen ($12 for the 3-subject).

Edited by WirsPlm
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  • Anne-Sophie


  • DanF


  • WirsPlm


  • kiwiigirl


Very interesting review. Thanks for the tip! In my seemingly never ending search for the perfect notebook, I may need to pick eons of these up



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Am I the only one who can't see the pictures?



"Life is like an analogy" -Anon-


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  • 4 weeks later...

Picture visible here.


This is a product, which has been around for a number of years, usually offered during back to school time.


The construction is quite cheap, I am not sure it will last six months of regular, let alone, heavy use.


Instead of buying the Mead product, I cleaned up the sale section of the big box office supply store of light weight plastic binders which heft is almost the same as the Flex, but have proper metal binder rings.


Those binders have been used consistently since I bought them, I have seen them offered in new colors.


I also never warmed up to disk systems and completely understand your quest for the perfect loose leaf paper handling and storage system.

Edited by Anne-Sophie

Is it fair for an intelligent and family oriented mammal to be separated from his/her family and spend his/her life starved in a concrete jail?

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I have these and love them for school! They really do fit a lot and it is nice to be able to move pages around if you don't like the positioning of it. Also on how long they last, i've had mine for a year and they have definitely had some abuse in my backpack but are still holding strong!

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