09 October 2011

Filofax Pocket Review

We all know how popular the pocket size has become in the last year or so. I have recently bought a Malden Pocket Filofax, I'm now the proud owner of three Filofax organisers in this size. So I thought I would do a comparison of the three that I have.

So the three in question are the Pocket Finsbury, a Pocket Chameleon and the latest edition to my collection a Pocket Malden.

Pocket Finsbury:
The Finsbury range spans all sizes of Filofax Organisers from the cute Mini through to the big A4. The all come in a generous range of colours and have good size rings. New colours are added each year so there is always quite a variety of colours available. So they are perfect 'First Filofax' for people today.

I have the Finsbury in Pocket, Personal, Slimline and A5 size, the oldest being the A5 which I bought in about 2005, it's still wearing well so no complaints about the quality of this organiser. 

The Pocket currently retails for about £43, but with a bit of shopping around you can pick up the pocket size for as low as £18 (new) 

The Finsbury is made of soft grained leather. Part of the interior is a textile material which I'm told can wear in time, but none of mine are showing any signs of wear. I suspect you will get bored with the colour before it shows signs of wear and tear inside! The textile interior can attract paper dust over time, the trick to remove this is a bit of sticky tape, sticky side down to easily remove the dust, simple, but it works.

The Finsbury Pocket in common with the Chameleon and the Malden has a full width rear pocket which if you are using it as a wallet can hold a passport, paper driving licence, bank notes etc. The left hand interior doesn't have a huge number of card slots, which might not matter if you are just using it as a planner.

The Finsbury Pocket comes with the larger 19mm rings, which gives you plenty of capacity for any diary format and plenty of other pages.

Pocket Chameleon:
The Chameleon range has only been out about a couple of years.  It comes in Mini, Pocket, Personal, Compact and A5 sizes.

In the Pocket size the simplicity of the construction of the Chameleon organiser, gives this particular model it's suppleness and light weight. In the chart below it might not look a big difference in weight but when you compare the Chamelon with the Malden you can see where the Malden gains its weight.

One feature I like about the Chameleon is the elasticated leather pen loop that is attached to the front cover rather than the back cover. In that location it doesn't get in the way of the zipped pocket in the back cover of the organiser, which means removing change isn't too much of a problem.

The Chameleon is all leather with a pattern printed in to the surface. Only the interior of the pockets are textile lined.

The rings on the Chamelon are the smaller 15mm size, which might constrain some people, when I moved from the Finsbury to the Chameleon I had to reduce the number of spare pages I was carrying, but I was still able to carry most things, as well as using it initially as a Filofax/Wallet. 

I have used my Chameleon as a wallet/note book, it works great for that, plenty of capacity for bank cards and coinage. The smaller rings make it easy to slip in to your jeans pocket or the pocket of your coat or jacket.

The Chameleon Pocket retails for £50 but shop around and you might find one for a little less than that

Pocket Malden:
The Malden is the heavy weight of the three, not only in terms of weight, but also what is offers with it's internal features. As you know it started out in just Pocket and Personal size, but it can now be found in Mini and A5 sizes as well.

The bigger rings of the Malden certainly give it a bigger more meant presence than the Chameleon,  on its own the Malden feels much bigger, but in fact it shares the same foot print on the desk as the Chameleon.

The quality of the contrasting stitching on the Malden, makes it stand out. OK it is not hand stitched, but it certainly adds a feel of quality to the organiser.

There is a slot for a note pad in the back cover as well as a large pocket. This slot will in fact take a Flex Pocket notebook or year planner, which could be a useful addition.

The Pocket Malden has been used by a few of our readers as a combined Wallet/Organiser, it has the capacity to take a full diary and a host of other pages, yet still function as a wallet as well. Although I would think it would be best suited to carrying in a hand bag/man bag in my case! or a heavy coat pocket, a fully loaded Malden Pocket will be quite a weight to carry.

Some people might find the zipped pocket a little small for carrying change, but I've found it easier to get coins out of it compared to the deeper pocket of the Chameleon. Also I like the lighter overall weight compared to the Chameleon, all of those extra coins really do add a lot of bulk and weight to the Chameleon organiser.

The pen loop on the Malden is not elasticated, but it takes my 0.5 mm Frixion pens snugly and the pen is a fraction shorter than the length of the side of the Pocket Malden. 

Ring Size19mm15mm19mm
ColoursSeveral, changes each yearGenerally 3-4 colours available at all timesGenerally 3-4 colours available at all times.
Weight (empty)135g115g145g
Credit Card Slots2 plus ID card window pocket  and full height pocket behind5 plus full height pocket behind3 full height slots behind zip pocket with storage for 6 cards over lapping
Zip PocketLarge in the back coverLarge in the back coverSmall in the front cover
LeatherSoft leather printed with traditional ‘rambling’ grain.Full grain leather exterior and interior.Vintage-look buffalo leather.
Back CoverZip PocketZip PocketNotepad slot
PenloopFixed leather on back coverElasticated leather on front coverFixed leather on back cover
Price£43 - but can be found as little as £18 (WH Smiths for the black or grey models)£50 - but some colours available for as little as £37.50 (WH Smiths) £60 but some colours as low as £30 (Filofax UK Crimson)

Also check out the review I did of the Pocket Aston earlier this year.

Personally I like all three models for different reasons.
  • The Finsbury for it's no nonsense design, it does the job, great value for money, big capacity rings, good range of colours for most peoples likes.
  • The Chameleon, for it's light weight, all leather design, it's suppleness, the card slot capacity, the left hand side pen loop. 
  • The Malden, because of the luxury of it's leather, the large rings, the rear note pad, the detail in the stitching and design, and what isn't there to like about a Malden!
At the moment my Finsbury is used as my Car Log book, and I'm switching between the Chameleon and the Malden as my wallet/Filofax, well like shoes it's nice to have a change and they say you shouldn't wear the same pair of leather shoes constantly.

Do you have one of these models, we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments.


  1. I have the pocket Malden in crimson; at first I was going to use it to put my day planners in for university, but then I realised why am I using a whole 'nuther filo (in addition to carrying around my main personal filo) just to use 1 sheet in it a day? So I regretted buying it (at the full price!!) and it has been sitting forlorn on my shelf ever since, with nothing to do. But I think I have an idea of something to use it for now. With regards to the quality and use of it, I love the leather, and the design, although generally I prefer the proportions of my personal Maldens (the pocket is squarer and therefore looks fatter!), the rings accommodate a good amount of pages, but I do find the zip pocket way too small for the amount of coins I usually have on me. The notepad pocket is very handy :)

  2. I love my pocket raspberry Chameleon. It was my first Filofax and it is beautiful and very practical. I've used it as my only diary and wallet for 2 months, until I got my Domino snake bronze in the A5 size. Now the Chameleon holds credit, ID, health and most important loyalty cards in the cc slots and 2 plastic card holders, transportation cards in the vertical pocket, coins in the full zipped pocket in the back, bills and coupons in the full width rear pocket and 2011 and 2012 vertical year planners to track appointments and important dates. I still have room for a few tabs for notes, shopping lists and wishlists.

    Really nice and very tactile organizer, and the raspberry pinkish shade is beautiful to look at, really feminine and girly but elegant at the same time. I have not seen the other colors in person, but I imagine the red must be magnificent with this print and also the brown and black, specially for men.

    I use a small Papermate ballpen that is supposed to be pink but has the same exact colour as the organizer, with the ink cartridge of the same pen in the purple shade, which also matches. The ink from the pink pen was way too light.

    If I ever get tired of the color, I think I will go for the pocket Malden in crimson -if it's still available or I find it on Ebay-.

    1. The red Chameleon is beautiful, one of my friends has the Mini. Really soft too.

  3. As you well know steve, ive just ordered the pocket crimson Malden, and after reading this review i feel live made the right choice. It will be my main filo for appointments, school dates, lists, financial planning. Im so excited for it to come, so i can play with it!!!
    Just hoping im ok with the pocket size as at the moment i flirt between finsbury slim and domino personal ....... only time will tell

  4. ARgh, ive got a mini barley ff pen, and whilst changing the refill, ive lost the stopper, that stops the refill sliding through the spring/pen, i dont suppose anyone knows where i could get a replacement from ?
    Thankyou xxx

  5. Hi Everyone! I want to buy the pocket chameleon but I'm not sure which color to get. I haven't seen any of them in person, so I'm just going by pics on the computer. It's between the black, aqua, and spring green. Are the colors true to what you see on the filofax website or lighter/darker? Suggestions are welcome :-)