While Steve Sande was taking his cruise around the Southern Hemisphere, the folks at Twelve South sent over a couple of their latest products for me to try in his stead. First up is their handsome BookBook Travel Journal for the iPad.
Dimensions: 8" x 10.3" x 1.9" (203 x 262 x 49 mm)
Weight: 16 oz. (453 grams)
Compatible: Any full-sized iPad or iPad mini
If you're familiar with the BookBook line from Twelve South, the Travel Journal is the chunky brother alongside its svelte siblings. The leatherbound case features an array of pockets for holding everything from your iPad to your iPhone and any accessories you can pair with either device. There's one closed pouch, several mesh ones and several velcro straps on the right side. You can store your iPad in either the padded pouch on the left or leave it exposed on the right.
I had no issue putting my iPad mini with a case on the back into the padded pouch, and it's where I preferred to keep it when trying the case out. I tucked my phone into the closable pocket, added my plug-in battery charger, mophie powerstation, and several cables to round out the package. This is all gear I have stashed in various pouches on my messenger that I carry with me on a day-to-day basis.
The end result, however, was surprisingly bulky and heavy. I switched out the battery charger and mophie with my Bose headphones and a spare iPad power brick and still had the bulk. It took up most of the room in my normal daypack and my messenger. Granted, I carry smaller bags, but it's something you need to consider if you're going to tote a laptop alongside it. I also can't just stash the Travel Journal in one of my purses the way I can with just my iPad mini in the case. The size and heft remind me of those Mead Five-Star zipper binders I used to use in school or an overstuffed Trapper Keeper.
If you're primarily traveling with just an iPad and want a place to keep it any anything you might use with it, the Travel Journal is perfect. It's sturdy and will protect your iPad and anything you put in it well. But if you're trying to integrate it as part of a mobile office and it needs to jockey for space alongside books and laptops in your bag, this might not fit your needs unless you have a really large backpack or messenger.
Rating: Three stars out of four
Want the Travel Journal I just reviewed? It's in a box making its way to Steve Sande at Macworld/iWorld 2014, where he will be giving it away at TUAW's informal meetup on Friday!