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Review: Leuchtturm 1917 “Whitelines Link” notebook

This notebook here is not the first Leuchtturm 1917 that I have reviewed – I do honestly quite like those notebooks. It is also not the first time that I have reviewed Whitelines-paper, the Swedish ‘paper revolution’ that I also find pretty interesting (if you are interested in a closer look at what Whitelines is and does, head there – I will cover this only briefly in this review here).

Having that said, it seemed natural to me to also have a look at the Leuchtturm 1917 “Whitelines Link”-notebook. So let’s dive straight into things.

Quick facts

  • I got the A5 version here, costing around 18 € – but the notebook is also available in A6, A4+, and as an Academy Pad
  • It got the ruled version – but it is also available in dot-grid
  • 249 numbered pages
  • Blank table of contents
  • 8 perforated and detachable sheets
  • Expandable back pocket
  • Orange page marker
  • Orange elastic enclosure band
  • Thread-bound book opens flat
  • Ink-proof paper
  • Sticker for labelling and archiving

What’s that thing with White/lines?

For the sake of this context here, let me just quickly quote from the information that comes with the notebook:

The white lines guide you when writing and drawing without distraction from conventional darker lines. The background disappears easily when you copy, scan or fax.

As said, if you have a deeper interest in an evaluation of this claim, which pretty much sums up the intentions of Whitelines in a good manner, you may check out my older review on the Whitelines paper.

Apart from being a bound notebook and Leuchtturm paper, the major difference between ‘regular’ Whitelines paper and the Whitelines Link-thing is that the latter comes with a designated App to scan in the Whitelines Link paper. This Whitelines Link paper, as opposed to the regular Whitelines paper, has some page-corner markings that sort of make it possible for the app to auto-capture and align the page as well as some boxes that you may tick for the app to auto-upload the scan to email, Dropbox or Evernote.

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The Leuchtturm 1917 Whitelines Link-notebook in practice

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Once you unwrap the notebook, you will find an awful lot of stuff that comes with it. The obligatory Leuchtturm-stickers that you can use to archive the notebook, a little thank you-card, as well as a brochure that tells you some little background about how Whitelines came to be, what it does, how the app works, and so on. 

One of the first things that you will notice straight away visually, and this also sets apart the Whitelines Link-notebook from the other Leuchtturm notebooks, is the color of page marker and elastic closure strip. As Whitelines’ corporate colors, this too is orange, which I find looks really nice. 

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Then there was also another little brochure with some more background info that came with my notebook. The ruled grey middle-part that you see in the picture above actually allows for test-scanning with the Whitelines Link app (something which I have done below) – so I guess these brochures normally are supposed to lay around in stationery stores and the like for customers to try out.

Anyways, since the brochure also includes some useful and interesting information, I thought I might well include a shot of it for your convenience right here in the review.

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This here is then, what the A5 notebook itself looks like in a close up. Again, you notice the orange accent-color straight away. 

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Otherwise, and apart from the grey paper that you can already guess from this angle, the notebook looks exactly as any classic black Leuchtturm 1917 notebook. It convinces with exactly the same high quality that I really appreciate.

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As with Leuchtturm’s other notebook, you will find the brand logo embossed onto the lower backside. 

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Opening the notebook will reveal the Leuchtturm-typical blank table of contents that their notebooks always have. The Whitelines Link-one, of course, also is now grey and with those ‘auto-detect’ markers (the white squares that look a little like a QR-code) that – hopefully – will allow for seamless scanning.

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This here is a view on a full spread: Grey paper, white lined ruling, a place to insert the date at the top of the page, the squared white ‘scanner-assistants’, as well as the page numbers on the lower side of the page and the three designated boxes to tick for straight-away upload of a scan from the Whitelines Link-app to email, Dropbox, or Evernote. So this was the notebook itself.

We can now begin to write into the notebook as with any other notebook or paper. It is then just to download the Whitelines Link-app, so that we can then, after the writing or drawing, scan our work. 

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So I downloaded the app onto my phone and tried it out – first with the ‘testing ground’ from the brochure above…

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…I have just entered my email-address into the Whitelines Link-app’s settings, ticked the email-box on the sample brochure (can’t be seen on the pic above), started the app, held the phone-camera above the brochure – and then checked my email-inbox on my computer: 

Leuchtturm 1917 "Whitelines Link" Scans

The result looks pretty convincing, I would say. All that was white before really had disappeared. Well, now that might be too easy, I thought. 

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So I took out one of the detachable pages from the back of the notebook and wrote on it with whatever I had laying around me at the moment – until the page was about full. I used anything: pencil, ink, ballpoint, highlighter, fine liner. And any color. Filled in a date. And, again, ticked the emailing box. 

Leuchtturm 1917 "Whitelines Link" Scans

I, then again, started the app, held it above the page – and the result is what you can see above. Not very good, unfortunately. Well, the problem (apparently) was that I had not totally straightened the page and I also sat in my maybe not very properly lit office. So, I thought to myself, let’s not be unfair to the product and put some effort into it.

Leuchtturm 1917 "Whitelines Link" Scans

So I straightened out the paper a litte and went to a properly daylight-lit table here in the house – and see: the result is quite convincing, I would say :-). 

Conclusion

All in all, the Leuchtturm 1917 Whitelines Link-notebook is the same high quality as the other Leuchtturm notebooks. When it comes to the paper, however, I do have to say that I really do feel a difference when using fountain pens on the grey paper. While it certainly is not shabby at all, the regular Leuchtturm paper is better. Otherwise, of course the pen colors will often look different on the grey paper. But this should not come as a surprise. 

As to the Whitelines-functionality, it works very fine – as long as you hold the phone in an appropriate angle above the page, do not shake too much, make sure the page is as straight as possible and that you are in a well-lit environment. 

Taking those things into consideration, the Whitelines Link is a sweet notebook that does its job. Do you need it? Well, it depends. If you are thinking of digitizing your notes or if you often jot down quotes or do drawings that you would like to have available digitally as well, I think it is a neat thing to try. It certainly is a niche product for now and will not be for everyone. Why not downloading some Whitelines Link-sample paper for free, printing it, and just giving it a shot? 

6 Comments

  1. Naty Naty

    This was my first leuchtturm notebook and the paper is horrendous for fountain pens! Is it a lot better, in terms of feathering, for the normal non whiteline models? Thanks for the nice review!

    • Scrively Scrively

      Hi Naty! Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree. The grey paper indeed is not very good for fountain pens. The regular notebooks, however, are a lot better, indeed! I use an A5 dot grid and have no problems at all. A bit shadowing/shine through, of course. But no feathering or bleed-through whatsoever. But I have to say that I normally use maximum a medium nib. So I do not know how the paper would behave with a double broad or flex nib that would lay down a massive amount of ink. Anyway, if you go in the menu on my page to “Reviews/Topics” >> “Ink” you will get to my ink reviews, where I test any ink on Leuchtturm paper. Just scroll to any handwritten review part on LT paper and click on the image. You will then get to the high resolution pic on my Flickr – all pages are scanned in with 600 dpi, so you can zoom onto the page very close. You can then assess LT-paper’s behavior for different inks for yourself. Hope that helps!

  2. I have to say I tried out this notebook, I thought it looked amusing – and I handed it over to a ballpoint using friend of mine after one page.
    Fountain pen friendly mine was not. It bled through completely! (I also had the A5 lined version.) Granted, my Pelikan M605 is a wet writer, but I was horrified, since my other Leuchtturm notebooks (the white paper variety) are so gorgeous for my fountain pens.

    I have to say my own experience with this particular notebook wasn’t the best. I might post a review of this paper on my blog sometimes, with pictures of the back. Perhaps I just got a bad paper batch or something, but the scanability and easy copy thing aren’t really my thing anyways, so I’ll stick to my whites. 🙂

    Thank you for the review though. It was really informative.

    • Scrively Scrively

      Hi Nadine! Thanks a lot for your comment and for taking the time reading the review. The notebook I had tested here did not bleed through completely with fountain pens, however I had noticeable feathering. Hence, I would agree with you to some extend. The paper is certainly not the best for fountain pens – but I have also definitely seen worse. Anyway, I would never recommend this notebook, if one would primarily wanna use it with fountain pens. It is just not the right paper for that. The one I have might take the occasional ink drop, but not more. I do personally also use the regular Leuchtturm notebooks for BulletJournaling with my fountain pens.
      Greetings to you from someone that grew up in Southern Germany, not so far from the Alps, too 🙂 .

      • Haven’t we all seen worse? 😉
        Thank you for taking the time to review this. I still have quite a backlog on things I want to review, so I’m not quite up to speed yet. But glad to hear that yours at least didn’t bleed through that bad. Perhaps it was my pens and the amount of ink, but I was very saddened by it.

        Aah, don’t you miss the Alps? Sweden, I think, would be too “flat” for me. 🙂 I need my mountains to feel at home, I fear.

        I’m certainly going to read your posts from now on. 🙂 I like this blog, and the reviews.

        • Scrively Scrively

          Yeah, I guess so 🙂 . Most welcome and very glad to know that you will keep stopping by! Wonderful to hear. I will certainly also keep an eye on your posts – I like your blog, too!
          Sometimes I do miss Southern Germany rather than the Alps themselves. Anyway, Stockholm is pretty good, too 🙂 .
          Many thanks again for your kind words!

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