A very different planner review today! This one is a hybrid reusable planner & notebook. I found the SORA planner on Kickstarter back in November 2020. After it was successfully funded it’s now available for purchase on their website too. Instead of paper, all pages are that material you can write on with a whiteboard / erasable marker.
This is not a sponsored post. I purchased the planner myself and, as always, all opinions are my own.
- Size: 6″ wide x just over 8.75″ high (15cm wide x 21.2cm high) (A5 page size)
- Poly cover (comes in black only)
- Disc binding (8 black discs, approx. 0.6″ / 1.6cm diameter)
- Comes with Staedtler correctable Lumocolor pen (fine tip, feels like a 0.7m tip), with erasable part on the end
- Pen loop
- Whiteboard paper is smooth to write on, bright white, waterproof and erasable
- 1 Yearly Planner
- 2 Monthly Calendars
- 2 Weekly Planners (vertical layout, starts Monday, weekends combined into the same column)
- 2 Wellness Trackers
- 5 Habit Trackers
- 6 blank pages
- 6 lined pages (7mm line spacing)
- 6 dot-grid pages (5mm dot grid spacing)
- Instructions for using the pages come with the planner
- Claims to be reusable for years
Price: $37 CAD (Canadian Dollar) + shipping via Kickstarter. That campaign has ended but you can order directly through their website. The price is actually cheaper now ($34 USD through their website) + shipping ($15 USD to Australia).
Let’s take a closer look!
To enlarge the screen of the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).
The cover is that poly material that almost all discbound notebooks have. Unfortunately, it only comes in one color: black.
Related post: Guide to Discbound Planners & Frequently Asked Questions
Approx. 0.25″ / 7mm thick
The notebook starts with a 2 page annual overview. The boxes for each day are 0.8cm wide x 1.5cm high so you won’t be able to fit much in them.
Because the rest of the planner only allows you to plan 2 months in advance, I would’ve preferred to see a 4 page annual overview with 2 x 6 monthly spreads.
Starts Sunday (not consistent with the weekly spread).
Each box is 3.2cm wide x 3.1cm high (just over 1.5″ wide x 1.5″ high).
There are 6 rows so for months where other planners might split the boxes to keep all days of the week in the same row, you won’t have this problem. As this is an undated planner and you will need to write in the dates yourself, you can just re-start the numbering on the top row and keep the 6th row for notes.
There are only 2 weekly planning pages. They start on Monday (not consistent with the monthly calendar) and have a combined column for the weekend. There is space at the bottom for notes, or you could convert the end column into Saturday only, and use the horizontal space below for planning Sunday.
Each column is about 4.2cm wide (just under 2″ wide).
Planners rarely include these pages but perhaps more of them should! Would help with meal planning and developing an exercise routine. And if you don’t need a health tracker, you could turn this into a horizontal weekly spread instead. That way you would end up with a full month (2 vertical + 2 horizontal weekly spreads).
As there is enough space on the page to add some notes about why you are tracking this habit, you could use these as goal planning pages and map out which tasks you need to do on which days.
There are 5 habit trackers. Since there is no monthly planning page, you could use that space on the left for monthly goals.
As you can only plan 2 months at a time in detail and would be using the extra notes pages at the back of the planner, I think I need more than the 6 of each type (blank, lined, dot grid).
The dot grid pages have 5mm spacing. The lined pages are 7mm line spacing. So both are standard dimensions you’d find in a planner with normal paper.
Because of the disc binding, you could rearrange the notebook so some of the notes pages are with the monthly calendar.
Whiteboard Marker pen
The notebook comes with a Staedtler Lumocolor correctable fine tip whiteboard pen.
There is a video on the SORA website showing that you can touch the ink directly after writing however I think you need to give it about 5 seconds before you touch where you wrote, otherwise it will smudge a bit like in the photo below.
With some whiteboard markers, when you leave it for too long, it’s difficult to erase. So I wrote in the notebook then left it for 2 months to test it. The whiteboard pen erased easily after those 2 months.
Make sure you press down directly with the erasable end of the whiteboard pen, not on an angle, otherwise it doesn’t completely erase. I actually found my finger was the easiest to erase things with.
The whiteboard paper is thick enough that there is no show through on the back side of the pages.
If you need a restock, you can find the pen on Amazon: Staedtler Lumocolor correctable fine tip whiteboard pen (affiliate link).
The discs are 1.6cm diameter. There is a little bit of wiggle room to add a few of your own pages. I couldn’t see an option on their website to purchase additional whiteboard page refills.
The SORA brand does not sell a punch. However, I tested the compatibility of the SORA with some other discbound notebooks.
SORA is compatible with half US letter (TUL, Levenger Circa, Eleven Discs) and A5 notebooks (ARC) – same disc size and spacing. So if you have the compatible punch for these brands you can add some printables to the notebook (or purchase pre-printed and punched refills).
SORA is not compatible with the Happy Planner (any of the sizes) – the stems of the Happy Planner are too long for the SORA.
Pros of the Planner
- Portable size
- Weighs practically nothing
- Reusable whiteboard paper is rare
- Instruction pages which can be removed to create extra space to print, punch and add your own pages
- Comes with whiteboard pen (and it’s fine tip which is hard to find)
- Pen loop
- Disc binding – add, remove and rearrange pages as often as you like
- There’s extra space on the discs if you want to print, punch and add your own inserts on paper (see this post for a tutorial on resizing printables)
- Comes with habit trackers that most planners don’t include
- Undated, start planning anytime
- Can fold the pages back on themselves and they will lay completely flat due to the disc binding
- Small discs don’t get in the way when writing in the planner
- Whiteboard paper is thick – there is no show through on the back side of the pages
- Whiteboard paper is smooth to write on
- Cheaper than a traditional paper planner in the long run (the company claims it’s reusable for years)
- Eco friendly
Cons of the Planner
- No monthly goal pages
- Plan up to 2 months at a time, would prefer 3 months (i.e. 1 quarter)
- No goal planning pages
- Only comes in 1 cover color
- Only 1 weekly layout (vertical)
- 6 rows on the monthly calendar (this is personal preference, but I like 5 rows on a monthly calendar so there’s more room to write)
- Because the whiteboard paper is thicker than normal paper, the pages are easily damaged where they connect into the discs if you pull the pages out often
- No tabs
- Couldn’t see an option on their website to purchase additional whiteboard page refills
Would I use this planner?
Yes and no. I rarely use a vertical weekly layout so would’ve liked to see a horizontal format offered as well. However I like the reusable notes pages (especially the dot grid). There’s extra space on the discs if you want to print, punch and add your own inserts on paper (see this post for a tutorial on resizing printables).
I’d like to see a version where you can plan by quarter with 3 monthly calendars and a minimum 4 weekly spreads. I’d also like to see only a notebook version with blank, lined and dot grid (and checklist pages would be good too!).
My review of the Rocketbook (another erasable planner option) is coming soon.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links I’ll receive a small commission in exchange for referring you (at no extra cost to you).
More planner reviews:
- Ultimate discbound comparison (9 brands compared) and which one is my favorite
- Best Fitness Planners Roundup (Health, Wellbeing, Exercise, Food Log Trackers etc.)
- 4 Expensive Planners that are worth the investment
- My 7 favorite planner supplies for making lists
- Review of the Speedy Stencils by Sunny Streak (plenty of weekly and monthly layout ideas)
- 10 Things to check before choosing a digital planner
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