Review: Filofax’s The Original

So I’ve been in The Original in Fluro Pink, personal size by Filofax for almost a week now, and I wanted to do a review on it.  I purchased mine from Write at Home, which is based in the UK, and I HIGHLY recommend them for purchases if you are in the UK or US as they sometimes have hard to find binders, and they frequently offer free world wide shipping.  Margaret there is also really great and helpful!!  I have also done a video that I will put at the bottom of the post, but this will be a true review since I have been using it for a bit now.  I’ll be honest and say, while it is not my favorite filofax, I really do like it.  It is practical for my needs, and it is fun, which is something that I don’t usually have in planners.  There are several flaws in the design, that I can only hope Filofax will fix eventually.  But overall this is a pretty good binder.  So, here we go with the review.

As you can see the binder is a VERY bright hot neon pink.  With the exception of the photo of the calendar

(which I lightened), none of the photos have been edited, and I they are pretty true to color (other Fluro Pink owners?).  The leather quality of the binder is very nice.  It is a stiff, durable leather; however, the binder does stay pretty flat when opened.  The outside is very smooth and the leather on the outside is one complete piece.  You can see the rivets wherethe rings are attached, but that doesn’t bother me.

The clasp has a nice button on it that says “Filofax, The Original, est. 1921), which is pretty nice.  It seems to be attached very well, so I hope I’m right and that it doesn’t end up falling off.  🙂

When you open the binder, you see that it is very simplistic, just like the outside.  Instead of having a ton of card slots and pockets like the Osterley or the Regency, there are only two card slots on the inside of the front of the binder along with one long pocket.  One “flaw” that I don’t really care for is the oddly placed elastic band that contains two pen loops and one oddly sized center elastic that I’m not sure what to use it for.  I did try putting a small pen in the outside loop (a LePen), but it made the binder too bulky and very difficult to close.  The inside pen loop, in my opinion, is unusable unless you only keep the bare necessities (anyone else start singing the song from The Jungle Book??) in there.

This brings me to the clasp.   The clasp is not long as in some binders (e.g., a Malden) where it could be stuffed but rather VERY short which means that you cannot stuff this binder at all, especially if you plan to use the pen loops for pens.  In fact, if you have a thicker pen in the binder using an adhesive pen loop or some other contraption, the binder will close, but because this makes it more “stuffed” the clasp actually rubs against the outside leather, which has caused the pink coated part to peel somewhat (see picture).  Very annoying, and I hope Filofax fixes this issue with future Originals.

One of the nice things about this binder (and I think all of the ones from the newest lines) is that the 2014 calendar included is a week on two pages that is a better quality white paper than previous Filofax inserts, and the layout of the diary is the same as the cotton cream that so many Filofax users love, which means that all of the days of the week are equal in size and there is a blank notes section at the top before the week begins.  I haven’t decided whether or not I will use the 2014 diary or not since I use the Barnes & Noble Punctuate inserts (because they’re pink!), but I may give it a try to see if I like it.  Also included are six numbered tabbed dividers in blue and green.  These dividers are not the same as other Filofax dividers as they seem to be a thinner paper/card stock. You also get some white lined pages and graph paper pages that seem to be of improved quality thank previous Filofax paper.  Also included are the new designer color lined pages in blue, green, and pink.  You also get the typical address and to do pages, and for now, a 2013 diary is included.

On the inside back cover, instead of including card slots or a full size writing pad, Filofax has started to include with this binder a jot pad of sorts that is half the size of the normal writing pads that sometimes come in personal sizes.  Personally, I like this for grocery and other shopping lists, but if you don’t care for the half size, Philofaxy has a blog post about a larger writing pad hack to make it fit.  The hack is for an A5 but will easily work for a personal size, as well.

So overall, I really do like this binder (I’ve actually already ordered another one in Patent Fuschia from Goldspot!) despite the mentioned flaws.  It is practical, simple, yet fun, and a binder that seems like will last as far as the durability of the actual leather is concerned. I will give this binder a B+/A- for the Coffee & Literature rating on it, and I recommend it if you want a simplistic and practical binder in some great (and different for Filofax) colors.  I’ve put my video review/first impressions on it below, so please check it out!

Happy Filofaxing!

  • Kristy Sherrod

    Hi! I actually don't have my Originals any more but, from what I understand they still hold up really well!

  • Hello Sandra, I was thinking of going for an Original in patent fuchsia, and I was wondering if you could tell me, because you appear to have yours since Sept 2013, how well it has worn? I'd be grateful for any details. In particular I'd like to know if the patent leather still looks good after it has been scratched/scuffed up a bit,(I tend to chuck my organisers and journals into a big bag with lots of other bits and pieces, so its bound to happen!) or does it just end up looking like a battered old pair of patent shoes? Have you had any other issues with yours?

  • Sandra

    My A5 patent fushia is lovely and wearing well. It's shiny factor doesn't deter me, and it is a nice weight even when filled.

  • I completely agree!!

  • I loved the A5 green original and the pink fluoro, but in the shop I noticed that the flouro colours seemed to mark easily and the green one had a battered strap. Because the binders are protected by plastic on the shelves this was only evident on the exposed strap but it put me off immediately. I will probably get an A5 eventually – mainly because they are not TOO pricey – but would not pay over the odds for it. I am a bag and Filofax addict and I wish designers would TEST their products on real people first because it is always impractical features which put people off buying. A Filofax needs to be completely functional and hardwearing, no?

  • Thanks for the comment! I haven't noticed mine cutting into it but it may eventually. I'm not one to stay in binders long since I have so many so maybe I can keep it in good shape by switching out!

  • I have "the Original" in yellow and the same thing has happened about the color rubbing off. I've only had it for two days. Mine is pretty stuffed. I've also noticed another flaw that I haven't seen anyone else mentioning, it has to do with the strap: On the underside of the strap (the "cork-material" side), because I have stuffed my binder… the leather has CUT into the "cork" material. I'll be doing a blog post on it tomorrow. It makes me sad because I didn't mind the color rubbing off (it's not as much as yours) and I can still close my binder easily, but because it cut into the underside of the strap.. I wasn't too thrilled about it. I still really love "the Original". I mean, I purchased the fluro pink in personal and A5 and am waiting for those to arrive. But I wish it didn't have those issues.