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Rosetta Notes | Mega Monster Review: Pocket Notebooks, Part 7


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This is Part 7 of my Mega Monster Review series on Pocket Notebooks.

Here's my review for the Rosetta Notes pocket notebooks along with a few pictures. Below are links to the full review, the main Mega Monster page, and the master spreadsheet (still very light as I ramp up on this project). As this is a work in progress that will likely take me a couple months to complete (I'm not that fast), I'd love any feedback you have that could help me make these reviews more useful. Thanks & enjoy!

Full Review



Introduction & About the Company:


Rosetta is the house brand of the fine folks over at iPenStore. Although currently an online-only stationery dealer, iPenStore is a fourth-generation family business that first opened in Chicago in 1932 as the Evers Office Supply Company. Over the past several years, iPenStore has released a number of products under their Rosetta name, including pens (fountain, rollerball, and ballpoint), pencils & leadholders, andpocket notebooks.




iPenStore seems to fly under the radar a bit. I've bought from them several times, and I had the opportunity to meet Jim Evers at the 2017 Ohio Pen Show (nice guy!). They carry a pretty wide selection of products, and they offer a curated, monthly subscription service called iPenBox that includes a fountain pen, some paper, ink samples, and other goodies.




Rosetta Notes notebooks are pretty nondescript at first glance. They are typical 3.5 in x 5.5 in notebooks with two staples on the spine and rounded side corners. The front covers are only adorned with the Rosetta logo stamped in a dark gold ink and the back covers have some info about the company and notebooks in the same gold color.


Rosetta Notes are available in Blank, DotGrid, Graph, and Lined paper, and each ruling comes in one or two different cover colors (Blank comes in Chocolate and Orange Fizz, DotGrid comes in Wine, Graph comes in Plain White, and Ruled comes in Black and Turquoise). You can get three-packs of any one notebook style, and they do have a mixed pack that comes with one each of the Blank (Chocolate), DotGrid (Wine), and Ruled (Black) books. That was the one I bought. All three cover colors are dark, rich, and muted.


Overall, they have a really classy look, but it's a quiet sort of classy...they don't jump out and scream "Look at me!"




The Paper:


Rosetta Notes are billed as having "Fountain Pen Friendly" paper. They use 70# (105 gsm) Smart White text paper from a family-owned Michigan company called French Paper Co. (if French Paper sounds familiar, it's probably because they've supplied paper for some other notebooks, including some of the Field Notes releases). The paper is bright white and silky smooth to the touch.




Is the paper fountain pen friendly? In a word: Heck yeah! Or...like...two words.


The ruling for both the DotGrid and Graph is 5 mm. I don't have a sample of the graph, but the DotGrid uses a fairly light gray, and I find the dots to be pretty large. I'd like to see smaller dots. The ruled version uses a darker gray ink, but the lines are super thin and spaced about 6.4 mm apart. With my small handwriting, I love the tight ruling (most notebooks are in the 7 to 8 mm range).




Pencil Results:


I have yet to find a paper that pencils don't like. Rosetta Notes fall in line with everybody else.

  • Palomino Blackwing: This is kind of a strange combination. It FEELS incredibly smooth, but it SOUNDS a little crunchy...like something I'd expect with more rough or textured paper. The graphite left behind also looks more uneven under a loupe, like I'd expect with rough/textured paper. I've also found that the graphite on the pencil seems to wear down a little quicker than I expected. Erasing had a stubborn start (took several passes before the graphite started to come away), and it left behind a fair amount of color.
  • Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil (0.5): Super, super smooth writing experience. Feels like I'm writing on air. The line is consistent and pretty dark—very comparable to the Blackwing. Erasing still leaves behind too much graphite for my taste, but it's a little more complete than the Blackwing.



Ballpoint Results:


They pretty much still work everywhere.

  • Uniball Jetstream (0.7): Very smooth, and the line comes out much finer than I expected. It seems closer to 0.5 mm than 0.7 mm. Excellent performance.
  • Fisher Space Pen (0.7): The Space Pen ink has a slick, oily feeling to it, but not in a bad way. Writing is very smooth and the line is nice and dark.



Gel Results:


You really can't go wrong with gel pens, and mine all work great on the Rosetta Notes.

  • Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro (0.38): Dark and flawless, baby! It's super freaking smooth on this paper. It doesn't come out completely black, but it's comes out darker than it does on several other papers. I think this is the perfect paper for this pen.
  • Pilot G2 (0.5): Wicked smooth. It's doesn't put down as crisp a line as I expected, though. Under a loupe I can see a tiny bit of spread. Otherwise, the line is dark and consistent.
  • Zebra Sarasa (0.7): Sloppy as always, but the paper handles it really well. There's some noticeable spread, but it's not awful. It is extremely smooth, though.



Liquid Ink Rollerball Results:


Someday when I'm president, I'm going to pass an Executive Order banning rollerball pens.

  • Pilot Precise V5 RT (0.5): It's smooth and dark, but I'm getting some feathering and spread. It doesn't look too bad, but it's definitely visible without a loupe. Look at the capital F, G, and J in the alphabet. Overall, it's a mushy experience, but serviceable.
  • Uniball Vision Elite (0.8): Very sloppy experience. Lots of spread & a little feathering. As with other papers, this ink dries a dark gray rather than black.



Fountain Pen Results:


I don't want to spoil anything too early, but this paper is magnificent for fountain pens. There were a couple tiny places that didn't dry within 10 seconds, but performance was otherwise flawless.

  • (EF) Platinum Preppy with Noodlers Midnight Blue ink: Very smooth. the line comes out super fine. There are some tiny areas of spread, but you can't see them without a loupe.
  • (F) Lamy Safari with Lamy Petrol ink: Zero spread or feathering and super smooth. In the dry test, the scribble didn't smear at all, but a couple spots in the preceding letters did.
  • (M) Platinum Cool with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo ink: Excellent performance with minimal spread and a few random tendrils (have to use a loupe to see it). My Cool is a really wet pen, and it needed a few extra seconds to completely dry.
  • (0.6) Nemosine Singularity with KWZ Standard Turquoise ink: Very good performance. No spread or feathering (although I do see a few random "artifacts" at the tops of some letters, but I think that's a product of the nib more than anything). Completely dried within 10 seconds, and shows off some really nice shading with this ink.
  • (1.1) Conklin Duragraph with Robert Oster Midnight Sapphire ink: Excellent performance! The lines aren'e especially crisp, but there isn't any spread or feathering at all. More awesome shading, too. Except for the colon after the word "Test," it rocked the dry time test.









Rosetta Notes are phenomenal little notebooks. Every writing instrument I used wrote smoothly, and most of them behaved well. I got some really awesome shading with a few pen/ink combinations, which is always a nice surprise for paper with fast dry times. I experienced some spread with my wettest pens, but none of them could be considered unusable. The ghosting was minimal and there were ZERO instances of bleed-through. Not a speck. Not an iota. None. So you can easily use the back side of every page.


Like I mentioned earlier, the only thing I'd like to see is smaller dots on the DotGrid version.


In the struggle to find pocket notebooks that can handle fountain pens and still offer acceptable dry times, Rosetta Notes nails it. And for everything you get out of these notebooks, the $7.99 price tag is an insanely great price.



Edited by KreepyKen
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