The Staples "Eco Easy" notebook is a spiral bound notebook, with 160 ruled pages (80 sheets), and board covers. Its pages are Bagasse paper, made from 80% recycled sugar cane processing waste, hence the "Eco" title. I bought mine in their Manchester store, for the rrp of £2.49. The cover you see in the picture above is a brown paper foldover cover, that can be removed to reveal a plainer board cover.
For those of you worried about the variability of the paper in these (mentioned in some other reviews) the product code on this notebook is #37537-EUThe front of the book, with a Moleskine pocket notebook on it for scale.
Inside the front cover is a "pocket page" formed from a heavier brown paper page, folded back on itself with a third or so of the lower portion folded up to make a crude pocket. It's not something I'd use, personally, but I rarely use the pockets in other notebooks, so may not be the best judge of the utility of this feature!
The sheets are perforated, and double punched to allow them to be removed and stored in ring binders.The binding, again with a Moleskine pocket notebook for scale.
The spiral binding is done with what seems to me to be a pretty big coil - my personal feeling is that this makes the book a bit of a pain to carry around, although the pages do turn easily compared to books with more compact spirals (Pukka Pads, for example). The spiral doesn't seem to interfere with writing on the page, so long as you write to the long side of the perforation and margin; you may find it more problematic if you like to use the entire page. The beefiness of the coil does give me some confidence that it wouldn't be damaged by relatively rough treatment - you could throw this pad in the bottom of a bag, and be reasonably confident you could still turn the pages after the rest of your posessions had tried to squash the spiral!
The paper is an orangey sort of cream colour to my eye, and the ruling is a complimentary orangey brown, spaced at 8mm. A margin is ruled on the left of the page, at 14.5 mm from the perforation, and 29mm from the bound side's edge of the page. My feeling is that paper has more "tooth" (the "scratchy" feeling as a nib moves over the page) than the paper in my Rhodia bloc pads, but not to an unpleasant degree.
INK TESTS:The paper handles most inks pretty well - there's some feathering from Waterman's Havana Brown, and Diamine Amazing Amethyst, which I'd expect, after tests of these inks on other papers. I detect a small amount of feathering from Quink Black, but only if I look at closeups.
I think the only inks with "unzoomed" noticeable feathering are Diamine Dark Brown, and J. Herbin's Pousserie de Lune - even that doesn't seem too bad compared to their behaviour on the Moleskine & Ryman books I tested previously.
and the top set;Note that the lowest green ink is "Diamine Emerald", not "Emerale". That's what you get for writing ink test pages too late in the day, I guess. The paper feels pretty thin, and that's borne out by the showthrough scan above (how visible the ink is when covered by a single sheet of blank paper). The reverse of the pages show up the thin paper too, with the inks clearly legible from the reverse side of the page. This is a more controlled, less blotchy reverse page than I saw on either the Ryman or Moleskine though, and I think overall, that's better.
If you like spiral bound pads, this is a good bet at a relatively cheap price, if you can live with a somewhat over engineered coil in the binding, and the relatively thin paper. Do bear in mind that the paper in these pads has been known to vary in quality - the usual advice is to check the product code, and country of origin, and buy pads from the same batch, if you like your sample!