I received a large parcel just before I left to travel to UK on Monday, it was a bundle of the new Flex by Filofax consisting of a Pocket size Flex ‘binder’ and an A5 size Flex ‘binder’ in addition I also received some other inserts for both sizes.
This is the first time I had seen the Flex system, so it has taken me a few days to fully assess it before writing this review. Yes it’s made by Filofax, but it is very different to the organiser systems you are currently using.
There are some similarities so let’s deal with those first. The page sizes are the same, so pocket is 81x120 mm, A5 is 148x210 mm. There is a Slim size as well which is 150mm x 85mm slightly smaller than Filofax Personal Size.
Like a Filofax organiser there are a selection of ‘inserts’ that you can put in your Flex binder. However, an insert in the Flex system is effectively a bound book, not loose pages. Inserts such as plain or ruled paper come in a variety of page numbers so you have some control of how ‘thick’ or ‘thin’ your Flex is.
I’m not sure why, but I was expecting a very technical solution as to how the ‘inserts’ are attached to the binder. But there isn’t one. If you think of your Filofax organiser without the ring mechanism (possibly quite a costly item these days) then on the front and back cover there are slots or pockets running from top to bottom of the cover, these are quite wide. You simply insert the cover of the insert from the left or the right into the pocket.
Being such a simple solution it does facilitate quite a few permutations that you can use in setting up your Flex system.
So far I’ve come up with these ideas:
- Normally we think of a book being bound in the middle when you open it. With the Flex system you can have it like that. However, you can also put the binding at the edges with the opening sides in the middle. This raises some interesting possibilities, which I will come on to later.
- The pen holder included with your Flex binder can be inserted on the left or the right or in the middle. Left handed people can celebrate this system I think would cope with their needs perfectly.
- Being able to insert any number of combination inserts in to the binder allows you to mix and match the different inserts available and the method of moving them in or out of your simple is very quick and not complicated at all. For instance with the Flex binder you get a Jot-Pad, there’s no need for this to sit in the binder all the time you could keep it in your kitchen for making shopping lists, then just as you go out shopping you pop it in to your Flex binder and it is then integrated in to your system again.
- There are diary inserts; so far I have only seen a Week on Two Page format and Year planners. But if they one day they produce a Page Per Day format as well. You could have say Week on Two Pages on one side of the binder and Day Per Page on the other side of the binder, when open, both would be fully visible at the same time.
The diary inserts I received are 2011/2012 13 month week to view and they include the following:
- 13 month week per view diary (July 2011 – July 2012) in English only
- Each week has a ‘This Week’ space along with a monthly calendar and then equal spaces for each day.
- Four year calendar blocks
- 2012 + 2013 Month planners (the cover sheet says 2011 + 2012 this is an error)
- International information
- European information.
- Notable dates
- Religious festivals
- Weights and Measures
- The World and time
- Personal Information.
The paper is similar to Filofax cotton cream; it feels quite high quality and smooth to touch. In total it is 144 pages. The level of detail in the information is similar if not the same as in a conventional Filofax diary insert, but obviously you can’t remove pages you will not use, and they have to stay in the same order.
In the above picture you can see an A5 Flex binder with a notebook inserted on the left but with the binding in the middle, whilst on the right the plain notebook is inserted with the binding on the outside edge, as you can see when open it they do overlap.
In the picture below on the left is the A5 Flex binder in grey sitting next to my grey A5 Malden (I had to get a Malden in here somewhere!!) As you can see the Flex binder is slightly smaller although the paper size is the same.
This picture shows the standard A5 Flex set up of an 80 page ruled notebook, 32 page jotter pad and moveable elasticated pen holder
Opening everything up.
Here I've removed all the inserts so you can see the binder in it's basic form. Even with an insert on the left hand side it is still possible to access the car slots on the left hand side. The pockets that the inserts slip in to can be used as a secretarial pocket if there isn't an insert slotted in to it.
Here is a Pocket Magenta Flex binder.
Again this comes with a standard set up of a 64 page ruled notebook, 32 page jot pad and a moveable elasticated pen holder
Again removing the inserts shows the detail of the car slots on the left and you will notice the horizontal slots for the jotter pad top and bottom so you can use the binder with the pad on the left or the right.
The view from above of this quite 'chunky' set up. The pen holder is still usable.
And fully closed with these to inserts in place here you are seeing the binding side, so it more or less protects the pages too.
Prices are as follows:
Filled Pocket Flex Black
Filled Pocket Flex Magenta
Filled Pocket Flex Slate
Filled Slim Flex Black
Filled Slim Flex Magenta
Filled Slim Flex Slate
Filled A5 Flex Black
Filled A5 Flex Magenta
Filled A5 Flex Slate
Pocket English Week on 2 Pages Flex Diary July 2011-July 2012
Pocket English Week on 2 Pages Flex Diary Dec 2011-Dec 2012
Pocket Multi-Language Flex Horizontal Year Planner 2011
Pocket Multi-Language Flex Horizontal Year Planner 2012
Slim English Week on 2 Pages Flex Diary July 2011-July 2012
Slim English Week on 2 Pages Flex Diary Dec 2011-Dec 2012
Slim Multi-Language Flex Horizontal Year Planner 2011
Slim Multi-Language Flex Horizontal Year Planner 2012
A5 English Week on 2 Pages Flex Diary July 2011-July 2012
A5 English Week on 2 Pages Flex Diary Dec 2011-Dec 2012
A5 Multi-Language Flex Horizontal Year Planner 2011
A5 Multi-Language Flex Horizontal Year Planner 2012
Pocket Flex Thin Ruled Notebook
Pocket Flex Thick Ruled Notebook
Pocket Flex Thin Plain Notebook
Pocket Flex Thick Plain Notebook
Pocket Flex Contacts
Pocket Flex Jot Pad
Pocket Flex Pen Holder
Slim Flex Thin Ruled Notebook
Slim Flex Thin Plain Notebook
Slim Flex Contacts
Slim Flex Jot Pad
Slim Flex Pen Holder
A5 Flex Thin Ruled Notebook
A5 Flex Thick Ruled Notebook
A5 Flex Thin Plain Notebook
A5 Flex Thick Plain Notebook
A5 Flex Contacts
A5 Flex Jot Pad
A5 Flex Pen Holder
Flex is currently available in stores at the moment and available on-line in the next couple of weeks.
There is also a dedicated website for the 'Flex by Filofax' where people have posted their own feedback about the Flex system
I'm not sure I would replace my Filofax with a Flex system. But I have to say I think this new product should be a success, particularly if they expand the range of inserts available and possibly the number of colours/styles of the binders. I particularly like the way the binder has been designed, the way the pockets if not used for an insert you can use then as a pocket for storing notes, tickets etc.
Thank you to Filofax for sending me the free samples to review.