Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review of the Quo Vadis Textagenda Academic Planner

To start with, let me just say that I have not been a pen-and-paper calendar person for a very long time. I used to be, several years ago -- in fact all the way back to my high school days and even before -- and my calendar of choice was almost always an academic year calendar (since the academic year is the framework of my entire life). I liked paper calendars a lot. I looked forward to the time of year when I could buy the next year's calendar, and always went through all kinds of agonizing decisions about which one I would get. The ones I liked best could be customized and added to, to some extent, so that the calendar also became a kind of notebook (an extension of my brain, really).

Then the smartphone happened.

Well, to be honest, I should say the Palm Pilot happened first. But if you ever had one of those contraptions, you know that they could be downright clunky as far as getting information into and out of them. The smartphone was a vast improvement, of course, and soon I began seriously converting from a paper-based calendar to an electronic calendar. Google Calendar was my planner of choice -- the calendar I loved and hated simultaneously, through the years -- but I have tried nearly all the big names: iCal, Outlook, etc.

And yet, it never felt the same as the paper planners.

Part of it was not having everything in one place. Yes, I know syncing of all types of calendars is possible, but it never works quite the way you expect it to sometimes. Or else electrons get lost along the way. Or there’s a glitch involving weird time zone changes and such (Apple, I’m looking at YOU). And the thing is, although I have an Outlook calendar maintained through my employer, I don’t trust our IT folks enough to let them have control over my calendar. (The more astute of you might suggest at this point that my IT friends are infinitely more trustworthy than the folks at Google, but I’m really not so sure.)

So all these thoughts and others probably subconsciously led me to entering a Facebook contest recently, sponsored by the Quo Vadis notebook and planner folks. And I won! What I won was THIS, the Quo Vadis Textagenda Planner:

The planner without its band

I don’t think it was a coincidence that I won a paper planner. An academic year paper planner, no less. It was as if the Universe was saying, “Hey, Randall, come on and give this another chance.” So I did. And I have been thoroughly enjoying the experience -- so much so, that I don’t think I will be using my electronic calendars again anytime soon.

So why do I like this planner so much?
  1. The compact size is definitely a winner for me. If this is going to be going with me everywhere (and let’s face it, I need a calendar that can do that), it needs to be easily carried. At around 5 by 7 inches, this fits nicely in the hand. And it feels good too -- the cover is made out of a very attractive vinyl-ish plastic that’s very flexible and soft to the hand.
  2. The paper in a Quo Vadis notebook or planner is simply some of the best (betraying its Exaclair roots, of course!!). Thin and smooth, as always, but it also holds up well to almost any kind of ink you want to throw at it, including fountain pen ink. No bleedthrough, no feathering -- it’s absolutely no muss, no fuss. Check out these pictures of some testing I did, using three pens that write particularly “wet,” in my opinion:

The Pentel Energel 0.7 mm:


A Bic disposable fountain pen (medium point, basically):

A black Papermate Flair, medium point:

As you can see, all of these behaved flawlessly on the Quo Vadis paper, and while this is not any kind of exhaustive test, I would not be afraid to use any pen I wanted to in this book.

There’s another reason why I like this planner: it gives me choices. As you can see from the above picture of the page layout, there’s a small hourly agenda at the top of each page, just enough to put reminders or placeholder words to allow you to see your day’s agenda at a glance. But then the majority of the page is wide open for details about the day’s events, or notes, or anything else you want to write there. A “priority” section and a “notes” section, both highlighted in eye-catching colors, round out the landscape. I’ve been using the planner for a couple of weeks now, and I must say the layout is very effective and user-friendly.

If you are in the market for a new planner, or thinking about a return to paper planners from the world of electrons, give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Disclaimer: I won this planner as a prize in a free giveaway sponsored by the Quo Vadis company. I was not required to write this review as part of the giveaway. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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