Nero sent me an Endless Recorder to play with (via Clare... please be nice to her... she's not striking and she's doing her utmost to get stock out, but it's tough for her, with both deliveries to Nero as well as deliveries to you being affected).
On the front, Endless make a bold claim (see what I did there...?) "The world's most ink-friendly notebook". Is the paper that good? The paper is Regalia paper in the new stock, (rather than Tomoe River they used to have), so can they make this statement?
Before we get to the results of my pen tests and my views on their claim, let me take a moment to tell you what I would be looking for in a top-end notebook and especially in its paper.
I'm not terribly fussed about all the bells and whistles you can get. It's nice if there's a space for a table of contents and page-numbering, but that's not essential. Ribbon markers are essential (for me) and need to be a decent length. I like the ribbon to hang out a good few cm from the bottom of the notebook, and I want their colour to complement the cover (or at least, not to clash). Even better if there's more than one ribbon marker.
I don't tend to use the pockets you find in the back of a notebook as they can make the notebook lumpy to write in, but they can be handy for temporary storage of things and therefore should be gusseted (fabulous word!).
And finally, the real deal-breaker for me... the paper. A notebook can have all the bells and whistles, fabulous ribbon markers, a beautiful cover, space for a contents table, page-numbering, the whole kit and caboodle, but if the paper isn't nice, I will hate the notebook and not use it.
I want to be able to use any of my fountain pens in it. For those of you who don't use fountain pens, let me explain. A fountain pen is not like a ballpoint or a rollerball. There can be all kinds of magic going on between the nib and the ink in the pen. Sometimes the same nib will be drier with one ink than another. I have a couple of pens that can be "challenging" to a lot of paper - a Rosetta Mosaic with a 1.1 stub nib that lays down a veritable lake of ink, and a medium nibbed pen, that for some reason can be tougher on most papers than the Rosetta, with dots of ink frequently appearing on the reverse.
On top of that, I would like some sheen and shading going on, but this usually means that dry-time of the ink is a little longer. But I don't want dry-time to be too long, or I have to find blotting paper before I turn the page.
Oh, and I want the texture of the paper to be right, too. Not so much "tooth" that the nib is grabbed too much, but not so slick that it feels as if you're writing on ice.
And since I sometimes also write in pencil, I want the paper to work well with those, as well.
Fussy? No, not at all!
Given all that, how does the new Regalia paper stand up? The last few sheets of the notebook are removable, so I took a sheet out and used my three most "challenging" pens in a pen test.
As you can (hopefully) see, there is zero feathering, and especially with the Rosetta, there is some excellent shading. Dry-time wasn't long - I wouldn't be hunting about for blotting paper, I'd just wait the few seconds needed. If you're a leftie who writes in that way that means you smear your writing, you may not love it as much as I do. (Incidentally, when I write left-handed, I have none of that issue as I hold the pen in an exact mirror-image of how I write right-handed, but there we go!)
But in many ways, more important to me is the reverse side. Is there too much show-through? A paper can be a delight to write on, but if the reverse side is unusable because there's so much ghosting, I'll end up not using it. I avoid the 52 gsm Tomoe River for this exact reason, though the heavier weight version is better.
What's the Regalia like?
It's very, very good. Absolute minimal ghosting through to the reverse of the paper, even with my absolute beasts of pens.
Okay, so that's the paper, what about the rest of the notebook?
It's not quite A5, at 21 x 14 cm (8.25 x 5.5"), but it's pretty close. The cover is a synthetic leatherette, with rounded corners and enough overhang to protect the pages underneath. There's minimal branding - just the logo on the front and Endless on the back. When you open the notebook, there is a sticker in a little card that says "Ideas are Endless" and the option to register your notebook. The front page has a space for labelling what the notebook is being used for.
There are 192 pages, with the last 16 perforated for removal. There is no page numbering in the blank notebook, but the lined and dot grid do have page numbers.
The elastic closure in bright blue, and the 2 ribbon markers (one in light blue, one in dark blue) complement the cover beautifully, and the ribbon markers have a decent length to them.
The one I was sent was blank and came with a guide-sheet with lines on one side (7mm ruling), and grid on the other side (7mm grid). I'm slightly surprised that the grid is 7mm, rather than 5mm, but since I would use neither, it makes no difference to me. The guide-sheet fits neatly in the (gusseted!) back pocket of the notebook for storage. All the notebooks also come with a lovely, cotton, drawstring bag.
So, how about that claim on the front? Is it the world's most ink-friendly paper? I don't know. I haven't tested every piece of paper in the world. But I would certainly say that it is very good paper.
See the full range of Endless at Nero's here.