Head to Head Dot Notebook Review: Leuchtturm1917 vs Rhodiarama
This review has an extra personal edge because I was an avid fan of my Leuchtturm dot notebook, to the point of questioning why I would want to switch to another book, but when we got the Rhodiarama books in recently I was tempted – after all, they now came with dot-grid paper (a must for me) and also in that nice extra-large size meaning it was small enough to carry round but gave more page space to work. The only way to find out would be to switch books and test the new one out. It was then helped by my wife spilling wine on my Leuchtturm book, so the appeal of a nice clean book won me over.
I have been using the Rhodiarama for about a month now, having used the Leuchtturm for about four months prior to that.
Both look quite similar – they both come in a range of colours making it hard to choose which one. The Rhodiarama edges it slightly with a nicer colour choice and I like the orange strap (part of the Rhodia branding) but others may prefer the Leuchtturm colour-coordinated look. The orange theme continues with the Rhodiarama to the inside-cover pages which adds a nice touch of quality though. Really not much to put between them here though.
Scores. Leuchtturm: 8/10. Rhodia: 9/10
This is where in my opinion the Leuchtturm really wins out. It has those features that can really make the difference. The big features it gives you are:
- numbered pages
- an index at the front, which makes it so easy to note down any page you want to refer to (important notes etc)
- sticky labels (so you can archive the book afterwards)
- two page-marker ribbons (on most books, not guaranteed)
Of course you can make your own index and page numbers but that’s just a hassle when it could be in the book already.
What both books do offer in common is:
- at least one page-marker ribbon
- ivory paper
- 5x5mm dot-grid matrix pages
- an inside pocket at the back.
The Leuchtturm is a hardback book, the Rhodiarama a soft-cover so this really comes down to what you prefer. The Rhodiarama is also a bigger book at 19x25cm so gives you more space (nb: it also comes in the same A5-ish size but I went for the larger one to compare). Finally, both are known for having good quality paper but the Rhodia book has the paper quality almost as its USP – regularly cited as the best quality paper and a must for fountain pen users.
Scores. Leuchtturm: 9/10. Rhodia: 7/10
There is no question that the Rhodia book has the nicer paper – just run your hand over it and you can feel how much smoother it is. There is no bleed or feathering, and although the Leuchtturm is still handles ink well it doesn’t do as well as the Rhodia. That said, if you’re not using a fountain pen this really isn’t that important. The Rhodia paper is still nicer to use but matters less with a ballpoint pen say. Where the Leuchtturm wins back points is with those features which make the book so much more practical to use.
Depending on whether you intend to work on the go or not, cover choice might be important here as well. The soft cover is nice and less of a bulky object to have on you, and it means the bigger Rhodia book isn’t any more of an issue to carry around in my bag, but the lack of a hard cover is an issue when trying to write on your lap for example.
Scores. Leuchtturm: 8/10. Rhodia: 8/10
Value for Money
Strictly speaking this isn’t a fair test on price as the Rhodia book is bigger. At £17.50 it weighs in more expensive than the £12.95 Leuchtturm book. I would say that the Rhodia is not nearly as good value as the Leuchtturm as it has less pages and costs more. Even allowing for the size difference this is still the case (the A5 Rhodiarama is £13.75, so 80p more). That said, the Rhodia book does have 90gsm paper so if paper quality is important then this might be a factor in the value but for me, it isn’t one of my top criteria.
Scores. Leuchtturm: 9/10. Rhodia: 7/10
I wanted to prefer the Rhodiarama book, I really did. I thought it work better for me, it has a nicer look and feel, it seems more suited to being a book I carry everywhere but…it just doesn’t do enough to land that killer blow on the Leuchtturm book. Hard or soft cover, you take your choice but the page numbers and index are great when you have 200+ pages of notes and want to find an important note quickly. I am not looking for anything but good quality paper so the Rhodia doesn’t win points with me there and yet the Leuchtturm has so many extra features and it costs less. That said, if you are a fountain pen user who doesn’t value those extra features then the scores might well be closer and maybe even in favour of the Rhodia.
Total scores. Leuchtturm: 34/40. Rhodia: 31/40
Click here to see more and buy the Leuchtturm Medium Dot Notebook
Click here to see more and buy the Rhodiarama Soft Cover Ex-Large Dot Notebook
NB: Prices were correct at time of publishing!