Candace, first. . . the Strathmore 400 Drawing was my FIRST sketchbook when I started drawing a few years ago!
BUT I should mention that it was the DRAWING version. . . I never tired the watercolor/Field version! UGH. . . I wonder if a moderator can change that? Don't want to give folks the wrong idea.
Anyway, I put the Strathmore 400 DRAWING in the category lower than the ProArt and the Canson Field for two reasons. First is the super flimsy cover (my sketchbooks tend to get left laying around a house full of dogs that might knock them off onto the floor, lay on top of them on the couch, drool on them, etc.) so a good heavy cover is a nice thing to have. AND because the paper in that one has more tooth/texture than does the other two I mention. My personal preference is I like drawing on a smoother surface. I bet I will really like the Strathmore Visual Journal Bristol versions, just have not picked one up yet. I think Strathmore really moved forward with the Visual Journals because of all the variety of paper AND the nice hard cover. Plus all the sizes to choose from!! The Strathmore 400 Field does not come in smaller sizes it seems
That is maybe why I have never tried it. I don't tend to like 9x12 size. . . too big to take places in my bags.
Anyway, so that is why I say the list is very individualistic as someone else might prefer more tooth for their pencil work and thus rate that one higher and the other two lower! I totally agree with you on the Handbook, all those sizes are great. . . I love being able to get smaller sizes in sketchbooks that I can take with me and such pretty colors is a plus an that paper takes my waterbrush grand.
Anyway, hope this helps explain it. . . and sorry I didn't put DRAWING in the title. UGH. . . now that I think of it, there are a few that have different varities that I should have research and put in more exact title.