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Daiso 'smart Working' A7 Dot Grid Notepad



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A Smug Dill

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Recently I've suckered myself into buying a bunch of different A7 sized notepads that attracted my attention simply by being made in Japan, France or Germany, and offered at 'reasonable' prices in retail stores here. Personally I find A7 to be an awkward and almost useless size, because I have trouble writing decently and with a light hand close to (say, within a margin of 8mm to 10mm from) the right-hand and bottom edges of any notepad, and of course the margin-to-useful-writing-area ratio on an A7 notepad is quite significant. However, it's probably not a bad way to test out certain papers.

Anyway, I bought this one from Daiso, for the price at which most of Daiso's products are priced locally. At 11mm, the pad is slightly thicker than the Maruman m.memo DMP-A7 line grid notepad, but offers 20% more pages than the latter. The paper weight is not specified, but I expect it to be on par with if not lighter than the Maruman's, which uses 60g/m² paper.

The paper is coated on both sides and not quite bright white, but looks very slightly greyish. The dots on the recto side of each sheet are small and subtle, and the verso side is blank like on the m.memo.

Unlike the Bloc Rhodia No.11 notepad and the Maruman m.memo, the sheets are bound by glue along the top edge. The advantage is that the entire page area is available for writing, instead of losing a whopping 13% of it to the staple and the 'stub' of the perforations; and the disadvantage is that the pages could come loose more easily before you're ready to tear them out, or if you're using the notepad as a reporter-style notebook and folding used sheets around the top edge but wanting them to stand attached. Personally, the binding of this notepad is an overall plus for me. On where the stub of the perforations would be at the top of each page, instead of dots there's an area set out for writing the title and the date of the content, and that could be convenient depending on one's note-taking habits.

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The paper is quite resistant to feathering thanks to the coating, whether writing on the recto or the verso side, but with such lightweight paper ghosting is inevitable. There are a couple of spots of bleed-through where I've allowed the nib to linger while I tried to get my Pilot Elabo inked with Diamine Iridescink Robert to flex. In that regard, the Maruman's paper performed better.

The coating on this Daiso paper seems to be a bit more hardy than that on the Bloc Rhodia No.11, but less so than that on the Maruman m.memo. There was one sheet (not shown here in the photos) where I had a feathering problem with one line of writing in KWZI Azure #2 ink; and, sure enough, when I dunked that page in the sink, I can see that the coating over that line/spot has been 'compromised' by something which has the shape of a fingerprint. (Note: After my experience with the Bloc Rhodia, I now cover the rest of the page as best I could with a thick, clean paper napkin as I write on these A7 notepads, and so that fingerprint was probably not mine.)

Most inks that are apt to exhibit sheen did so on the paper in this notepad.

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On the whole, given I'm unlikely to write on both sides of a page on an A7 notepad, I think this is a better buy (for my purposes!) than the Maruman m.memo in that the printed guide markings (as in the dot grid, line grid, etc.) are great and well thought out, the paper performs well enough, and effectively this notepad offers >35% more usuable writing surface per page/notepad than the Maruman m.memo DMP-A7, but I must concede that the Maruman's paper quality is superior.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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