Pros: durable, variety of colors, overall a quality product
Cons: can be expensive- but look for sales
I began using these notebooks in high school and as a college graduate (who still takes additional classes), I have grown accustomed to these wonderful notebooks and I don't think I could use any other notebook to take notes.
To begin with, the Five Star notebook comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. You can buy notebooks for 1,2,3 and 5 subjects in a standard notebook size.
Or, you can have a 2 subject notebook that it about half the size of their standard notebook. I have used this size before and while it was more portable, it was more difficult to write in (I have big handwriting) and it filled up quickly. Also, teachers/professors don?t like it if you turn in something on paper no big than the average paperback book
There is also a notebook with the wire binding on the top instead of on the left edge. I have personally not used this notebook, but it seems logical that such a notebook would be good for taking notes with if you have to use your lap.
Also, when I visited the Staples website, I was intrigued to see a link for a Five Star notebook designed for left-handed people. This notebook claimed to have wire binding on the left side. Unfortunately, when I clicked on the link, the picture that they showed was of a standard notebook, but I was intrigued nonetheless. At Brandeis, I took two years of Hebrew- which is written (and read) from right to left instead of from left to right like English. My classmates and I had to compensate for this by turning our notebooks over and using the last page as the first page. I would have given anything for a notebook with the binding on the right! Also, I suppose this notebook might appeal to left-handed people and not just students studying Hebrew. Ha-ha!
I used these notebooks all through college and the difference between high school and college was that I did not have all my classes on any given day. In high school, I could just count the notebooks to see if I had as many as I should, but with college, I actually had to take the right notebook. Because taking notes in another notebook and then removing them and stapling them into the correct notebook is a pain. However, the 5 Star notebooks come in a variety of colors so it is very easy to have one notebook for each class. Available colors include two shades of blue, crimson, green and black. Seriously, one of my favorite things to do at the start of each semester is to figure out what "color" a class is. English Medieval History was a crimson class (as was Child Development). Economics was a green class, Elementary Education was blue and of course, my Gothic Novel notebook was black.
Upon examining the 5 Star Notebooks, one can immediately see that the cover is made of a durable plastic. I must admit that at times, the cover has bent if I put it carelessly into my bag, but it always goes back into place. Also, the cover has never ever torn. Ever. Finally, the spiral binding is very sturdy. I cannot say that it has never begun to unravel, but this is really a rare occurrence.
The first thing one sees upon opening up the notebook is a calendar that covers multiple years. Unfortunately, my one subject (purchased) in August 2002 features the years 2000-2003 but I did notice that the 3 and 5 subject notebooks went from 2002-2005. On the back side of the calendar page is a place for the owner to write their schedule for Monday through Saturday. For those students with a schedule that varies, the write-in feature conveniently has a place for someone to write out their schedule for three separate terms.
The notebooks also come with a built in manila folder with pockets on either side. The pockets serve as both storage and as dividers for multi-subject notebooks. So, of course, the number of dividers will vary with the number of subjects in the notebook. These pockets store standard 8.5 by 11 inch pieces of paper, which is the standard size for handouts and typed documents. While I prefer to use an accordion file to store my handouts, etc, I do appreciate the built in pockets.
The paper contained within the notebook is fairly standard college ruled paper. Ink does not bleed through pages very easily and if you need to tear something out to turn it in or for other reasons, than perforation is very easy.
As you can see, the Five Star Notebook is an item of quality. It will not rip or unravel and poke you like a less expensive notebook. But this quality does come with a price- the one subject notebook is $4.15. However, I purchased my notebooks on sale this year from Staples and only paid $1.54 per notebook. While I cannot guarantee how long their sale will go on, it is definitely something worth investigating since they seem to have sales quite often.
I have been using Five Star notebooks almost exclusively for 10 years. I adamantly refuse to by anything else- take it from me, if you are looking for a high quality durable notebook that can take a lot of abuse, then look no further- Five Star is for you.