Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review: Rhodia Weekly Notebook Agenda Planner

Rhodia Weekly Notebook Agenda Planner


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INTRO

On today's agenda (see how clever I am?), we'll be taking a look at the Rhodia Weekly Notebook agenda planner. How does it compare to its cousin, the Quo Vadis IB Traveler weekly planner? In many ways they are similar: Both are small, have similar layouts, and have very little space for writing things down. However, there are some marked differences as well, and we'll be exploring those now.

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DESIGN

The most striking difference between the Rhodia planner and IB (aside from shape) is the elastic band that the Rhodia agenda planner has. If you're in the habit of stuffing loose notes and bits of paper into your agendas (like me), then the elastic will help keep it snugly inside the planner and prevent it from falling out. I really like this design feature.

This is another pocket/purse-sized planner, measuring 4x6 inches (10x15 cm). Here's how big it is compared to the IB (and an iPod nano):

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Rhodia on the right, Quo Vadis on the left

The Rhodia Weekly Notebook is not as flexible as the IB, as you can see:

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In addition, it seems as though the soft black material covering the stiff cardboard cover is rather flimsily attached:

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I don't know if this just happens to be a defect with my particular agenda planner or if this is a defect that is generally found throughout the entire line.

Open up, and just like inside the IB we have an Anno-Planning chart that covers the whole year:

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Detail

Like I stated for the IB review, this would be useful to reference when you need to plan around things, like vacations or out-of-town meetings, or even to help plan when to hold conferences.
At the end of the agenda planner is another Anno-Planning chart, for the upcoming year. The IB also shares this feature.


Here is what the inside layout of the agenda planner looks like:

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It is different from the IB agenda layout...

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Inside layout of the Quo Vadis IB Traveler agenda planner

...due to the prominent gridbox that appears where the IB has blank boxes for jotting down extra info (top to bottom: Phone, Fax--E-mail, See--Do, and Notes). I MUCH prefer the grid, as it gives a lot more flexibility in terms of what you want to jot down.

I'm a bit disappointed, however, that the Rhodia planner doesn't include the mini-calendar that the IB has on the top right corner of its right page which depicts which week of the month you are currently in. Ah well. More room for grid, right?

This is a closer view of the left page in the Rhodia:

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You can see how it compares to the IB's page:

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Extremely similar in terms of layout, except that the Rhodia planner has 8 a.m. to 7 (p.m.) listed on the left side of the lines, and the IB has 2 (p.m.) to 8 (p.m.) listed on the RIGHT side of the line, not left.

In this regard, I prefer the Rhodia agenda again.

At the very end of the Rhodia agenda, there is a page for notes followed by a mini address book-like section. And I really do mean mini; this section for jotting down contact info spans a mere 8 pages. Hopefully the person who purchases this doesn't have many friends (kidding).

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Rhodia Weekly Notebook contact info section

The IB, however, has its own removeable-yet-snugly-in-place address book which boasts a full 28 pages (hey, compared to 8, it's a lot!)

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Quo Vadis IB Traveler contact info section


PAPER

The vital question -- how does it handle fountain pen ink?
Don't expect it to have Rhodia-pad-quality thick paper; the paper is much thinner, but still FP-friendly.

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True to Rhodia form, this paper handles FP ink with zero feathering. There is shading on the back but no trace of bleedthrough:

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Warning, however: As with the IB, the section for jotting down people's contact information has paper which is a bit thinner than the body of the agenda. Don't be surprised if you have a little bit of bleedthrough here and there (likely not a problem if you use a fine or extra fine nib).

The bottom of each page, just like in the IB, has a little tab you can tear off to mark your place as you go through the planner.


EDIT: Brian Goulet of The Goulet Pen Company adds,
"The paper in the Rhodia planners is 64g...the reason it's thinner is to keep down the overall thickness of the planner and to help the ink to dry faster on the page (so you can quickly jot down something and close the book, without having to wait for the ink to dry). I've found most planners have different paper than their notebook counterparts, for exactly these reasons."


Thanks, Brian!


PURCHASING THE RHODIA WEEKLY NOTEBOOK/QUO VADIS IB TRAVELER

Though under different brand names, both agenda planners come from the parent company Exaclair. Exaclair products can be found in online stores all over the Web, wherever paper prodcuts are sold. Try The Daily Planner.

NOTE: At The Daily Planner, it's listed as a "Rhodia Academic Planner".


CONCLUSION

To be perfectly honest, though I really like the trademark Rhodia grid included in the agenda planner as well as the elastic band, overall I like the Quo Vadis IB much better. It seems to be better constructed, and it's far more forgiving to being squished in a purse or pocket or briefcase. I feel that bending the Rhodia agenda planner too far will break its cover. No such fears with the Quo Vadis IB. In addition, the Rhodia planner doesn't have the "International Telephone Access Code" page in the back that the Quo Vadis does (Which I find insanely cool)

All this makes me think that this is less for business travelers and more for, say, students (though you'll have to take care that you don't bang it around too much; I don't know how much abuse the stiff cardboard cover can handle). But if you're looking for a simple agenda planner with some flexibility of use (not physical flexibility, mind) then this agenda planner may well be for you.


NOTE: Commenter Duncan notes that in spite of "6 full months of what is basically reckless abuse", his Rhodia agenda "has a few light dents but is nearly as good as it was in January." So, perhaps I did get a lemon and Rhodia agendas are generally more durable than the one I received. If anyone else can put in their two cents, I'd be grateful!


...So, which do YOU prefer?

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