07 September 2016

Filofax Heritage A5 Compact - Review

Is it possible that something can come along that changes the whole way you plan? Would you be as shocked as I was opening the box and then suddenly thinking the un-thinkable.... What?



So I hadn't really thought that much about the Heritage range, sure I had seen the announcement emails and a few pictures on Facebook, but they didn't give me enough information really to fully appreciate it.

OK quick recap as to what I've been using... At home I have my A5 Van der Spek with 35 mm rings as a permanent fixture on my desk, it rarely moves from there. Then I have been carrying an A6 of some description in my 'Man Bag'.


Lately that has been the rather chunky Gillio Mia Cara I converted to A6 size, yes it is a bit over the top! Normally this would be a Van der Spek Touch Me Senior for A6. In the past I have used various Personal size organisers in tandem with the A5.


I've been using two organisers like this for well over five years now because I thought that works for me, so why change. However, in the last few months since starting the podcast I have been making far more intensive use of my A5 planner and less use of the A6 planner. The A6 was always there because I had always carried it. Yet when I thought about it I wasn't using it that often.

If you have been around on Philofaxy long enough you will be familiar with the cries of a handful of readers wanting a small ring compact A5 organiser. I never thought I would be one of them though!

The Filofax Heritage A5 Compact is so slim and unfussy that I really think I can make this work as my only organiser both at home and to carry around with me. How you might ask well, let me introduce you to the organiser in question first and I will show you how I intend to try using it.

The Filofax Heritage A5 Compact was delivered in a box, one the same size as the one I received the Classic Croc in. I looks a little lost in the bigger box! But unwrapping the organiser from its protective wrapping I fell in love with the simple design of this organiser.





The construction of the organiser is very simple and straight forward, two sheets of leather are put back to back and neatly sown together with a set of 16mm rings added. There is no clasp, no pockets.


The stitch count per inch on this model is very high, I measured/counted 11 stitches per inch(s.p.i.) on one seam and 10 s.p.i. on the edge. That puts it up with Gillio and Van der Spek for quality leather work. Compared to some thing like a Malden which I've measured at about 8 stitches per inch typically.

The size of the Heritage A5 Compact is:

Height: 233mm
Width: 180mm
Depth: 26mm
Weight including the flyleaf = 280 grams
Ring Mech: 16mm

As a comparison an A5 Malden weighs 345 grams, a Holborn A5 320 grams.

The outside leather has a delicate grain texture to it and the interior a smooth finish.


The Filofax Heritage A5 Compact comes with a cotton cream Week on Two page diary insert. Plus some dividers and a few cotton cream to-do sheets, contact sheets and lined sheets. I am using my own inserts though.


There isn't any stiffener between the covers of the organiser so it is quite supple, but still firm to use due to the thickness of the leather used.


There is a leather flyleaf, again very simple in its design with an elasticated pen loop on the edge.

On the front face there is a business card/id card slot.


On the reverse there is a half height pocket, with another section leather that would allow you to put the backing card of a note pad on to the reverse of the fly leaf.


The pen loop is a little odd in that they have sewn the ends of the elastic to either side of the flyleaf and when in tension with a slightly larger pen it distorts the leather slightly. You have to push the pen to sit below the flyleaf.


Instead I have used one of my old work arounds, a Filofax Flex A5 pen loop punched for A5, I've adapted these for A5, A6 and personal sizes. They work just fine.


I tried the flyleaf pen loop with a slimmer Pentel P207 mechanical pencil and that works just fine, so I'm using both loops.


Obviously the flyleaf does take up some of the precious ring space, so some people might dispense with using it.

Having such small rings I have noticed how sweetly the pages turn to a larger ring organiser, also how little the rings intrude when writing in on either side of the pages.

At present the Heritage is only available in one colour, I'm not sure if other colours will follow or not. It is also available in Personal size with 25 mm and 16 mm rings, see the Filofax website for full details.

So how could an A5 organiser with only 16 mm rings replace both an A5 with 35 mm rings and an A6 with 25 mm rings?

So for some years now I have used this camera bag as my every day bag. It comfortably takes my personal or A6 organiser, although you can just squeeze in an A5 there isn't really room for a lot else in there with an A5 in it.


However, I also have this slightly larger messenger bag, which I bought with carrying an A5 in mind.


This as you can see has plenty of space in it even with the converted Medium Mia Cara in it.


At the back of the bag is a slot for an iPad, perfect for the Filofax Heritage A5 Compact or any other organiser as I found with rings up to 25mm.


And the space can be used for things like my French books when I attend classes each week:


No need to change bags any more, or alternatively if I want to carry my camera (Canon EOS 100D) with me instead of books. That works as well.


So at present I have 12 months of Week on two pages and the 12 months on one page blog planner both are printed on Clairefontaine 90gsm paper. These two planner sections are my most used pages.

The weekly planner as you will recognise is one of the Philofaxy inserts which I have used for some time and has spaces for appointments and tasks. I will add a few sheets of lined or plain paper, no more than that.


I am retaining my large ring Van der Spek to hold the rest of the contents as a sort of reference information organiser. That information is all useful stuff, but I don't refer to it very often. To make it easier to access I am going to index the information in there so I don't spend too much time hunting back and forth.

When I'm travelling I might also transfer in some of the reference pages in to the Filofax Heritage A5 Compact for that trip.


I will see how I get on for a few more weeks with the Heritage with it's small rings, but I have a couple of 25 mm size A5 organisers I can use if I need to go slightly bigger in size, these will also give me some conventional pockets and card slots etc in the covers, but they will still fit in the slot in the back of my bag.

Here is the Filofax Heritage A5 Compact on top of an Filofax Holborn A5.



As you can see the Holborn is quite svelte despite having 25 mm rings and it has an excellent internal pocket layout as well.


Another good companion to the Filofax Heritage A5 Compact is my William Hannah A5 leather bound notebook, these are very similar in size and thickness and will complement each other very nicely.


The biggest change for me though is only using one planner, but using it more efficiently. It's a new exciting era for me! Why didn't I think to try this before... I really don't know but the arrival of the Heritage A5 Compact certainly kicked my a** in to thinking about doing something different!

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I will try and answer them as quickly as possible.

Thank you to Filofax UK for sending me this sample of their Filofax Heritage A5 Compact.

19 comments:

  1. As one of those long-campaigning for a compact A5 (click for this post from 2012) this looks tantalising! Would you be able to give a few more statistics please (such as dimensions and especially weight) and direct comparisons with the A5 Holborn and A5 Makden (both of which you own!) including look and feel? Is it really that revolutionary?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tim,
      I know!! OK Some numbers, which I have just added to the post:

      The size of the Heritage A5 Compact is:

      Height: 233mm
      Width: 180mm
      Depth: 26mm
      Weight including the flyleaf = 280 grams
      Ring Mech: 16mm

      As a comparison an A5 Malden weighs 345 grams, a Holborn A5 320 grams.

      The outside leather has a delicate grain texture to it and the interior a smooth finish.

      I've been using this for just over a week and I've not missed using the larger Van der Spek at all. I have used the VdS information a couple of times, it is still on my desk but closed and to hand when I need it.

      I will keep everyone up to date on how I'm getting on with this one.

      Delete
  2. This is the first new product in some time from Filofax that interests me. Thank you for the review!

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  3. Two minutes of looking before my partner bought a personal one for me and well over a week deciding which pen fitted and looked best in the elasticated pen holder. I did not want to stretch it in case it got baggy. I finally decided on a Papermate Talisman mechanical pencil (from the 1990's in my pen collection) as it fits well and looks good. I need another pen holder to store the matching ball point, any tips? This is the first time in a long time that I have got excited about a Filofax.

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    Replies
    1. Yes I'm using the Filofax A5 Flex Pen loop punched for the A5 rings as a second pen loop, I've also trimmed one of these for use in A6 and for Personal size they are cheap and they work fine. See pictures in this post.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for that. I checked the Flex and then made one out of a piece of card cut from a Jura whisky bottle carton and a piece wide elastic. Looks good (to me) and works a charm.

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  4. I love the simplicity of this but it could do with pockets! Love the ring size. I customised my A5 lizard Filofax Flex by inserting A5 rings and it works brilliantly as a slimline A5 (I did a guest post about this a while ago where I'd put personal sized rings in it - the A5 rings work much better).

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  5. I've been hesitating about buying this, as I wasn't sure if it would hold half-Letter paper.

    Based on the measurements, it should be tall enough. I have a slim mini notebook that is the same height and depth, and a little less wide.

    So now the question is whether I can downsize from 19mm to 16mm rings and give up my secretarial pocket, all in order to get classier leather. Hmmm.

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  6. Great review! I love my Personal Heritage. It actually says on the FF UK site that the Personal size has 25mm rings, not 23mm rings. I think these are larger than Malden personal rings. Now I want a compact A5 because of your review. :)

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  7. I was immediately taken with the Heritage's clean lines. I hardly use any of the pockets in any of my folders - I could never quite get why people wanted to stuff them full, and with what - and there's always the alternative of using sleeves attached to the rings. It's great that Filofax is thinking laterally in this way. I'm so tempted ....

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  8. This looks like a beautiful planner, and it's good to see that Filofax has developed a new leather style. I could be tempted :).

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  9. Steve Morton in a 16 mm ring binder. I'd never thought I'll see the day.

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  10. Not tempted at all. Using a personal compact with purse section is the one final solution for me. What I have added though for more than time management is an A5 Bullet Journal (bound notebook) which is my task management tool and joins together in function on the weekly tasks and daily task section in my compact FF.
    Sounds complicated? Well, it's not and I would rather call it well developed over time and with user experience. Not now and never any need for any new FF for me.

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    Replies
    1. Yet to add: planner peace and analog joy for all :-)

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  11. Very nice, I took the 16mm insert from the old ipad filofax and had a simple cover made, as a trial, and it worked well. Just like slimline/full size the a5 slim to carry a month and the VDS on desk at home to archive.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very nice, I took the 16mm insert from the old ipad filofax and had a simple cover made, as a trial, and it worked well. Just like slimline/full size the a5 slim to carry a month and the VDS on desk at home to archive.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Woo hoo. Finally a slim A5. I use the professional inserts with a behemoth of an organiser that I been using for about 7 years now but it stays on my desk as it is too big and heavy to cart around all day. I used to use a slimline Holborn to carry around until the pen loop broke ( fat pen lots of use). But there isn't much room to write and I was forever transcribing into my desk a5. I saw this and had to have it. Just ordered and cannot wait to pick it up!

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  14. I bought one of these yesterday. Lovely in many respects, but the pen loop just seems a ridiculous piece of design and renders the (otherwise rather satisfying) flyleaf a waste of ring space. Any pen large enough for the loop to hold tightly distorts the leather, and anything smaller flops about not held securely. Definitely no cigar for that one, what were they thinking? I too have a DIY flyleaf/penholder from my A5 Finsbury, made using two Leuchturm self-adhesive pen loops, so that will serve pro tem, but I suspect I will make another one to better fit the Heritage's narrower overall width.

    Otherwise I'm delighted with it. It looks and feels very high quality, nicely retro, and the absence of pockets is (for me at least) a bonus. Some redesign of my usual diary pages to a simple WPP view will reduce their bulk to suit the smaller rings, undated Day Views can be inserted as needed for occasional busy periods, and I can see this quickly becoming my planner of choice for travel and client meetings. The Finsbury then becomes more of a reference/archive binder, and I will still use my Kendal Personal on-site for technical notes and resources, when its smaller size is most useful.

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