Waterfield Design Travel Express Case Review

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories for iPAD 1, 2 and 3' started by jsh1120, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    Thanks to my wife and daughter I received a "Travel Express" case for my iPad 2 on Father's Day from Waterfield Design in San Francisco.









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    What I needed was a bag/case that could be used on its own and/or placed in a larger bag that holds both the iPad and a 15" laptop. That disqualified my small messenger bag from Timbuk2. (Great and economical on its own but too bulky to be fitted into a larger bag that holds my laptop, as well.)

    My impressions are as follows on a 1-10 scale.

    () Looks/Style - 10. This is subjective, of course, but imo the looks are among the best. The color strip is available in six colors and gives the case a very professional look.

    () Construction - 10. In fact, I'd give it an 11. The ballistic nylon Waterfield uses is virtually indestructible. All seams are sewn internally so no threads are visible or subject to wear and tear. The zipper is industrial strength and self-locking. Lightweight plastic reinforcements inside the exterior provide good protection for the contents. The attachments for the strap are securely attached and the strap itself has high quality hardware. All in all, it lives up to Waterfield Design's usual high standards.

    () Design - 9. The bag opens on two, not three sides. This means the bag cannot be fully opened and laid flat. That's a minor inconvenience but it also means that the zipper endures less stress when the bag is crammed with gear. All in all, I view it as a plus. The dedicated iPad compartment is padded (thinly) and accommodates either model of iPad with or without a SmartCover and a (Speck) back protector.

    The strap is a pricey option, ($27 including the D rings) but it's very, very well designed and constructed. Strong but not too big. The shoulder pad "grips" well so the bag doesn't slide off your shoulder or "dig in" when it's placed across your chest.

    All in all, I like the design very much. I deducted one point for the price of the strap but to be fair, it's a great strap and the attachment to the sides of the case is superior to a design that places the attachment on the top of the case.

    () Capacity - 8. This is a bit tricky. It's difficult, of course, to maintain a minimal non-bulging profile while holding everything I need. Still, it's not perfect. On the plus side, the Travel Express can hold the Incase Origami Workstation case for the Apple Wireless keyboard. (That was a strict requirement.) Four large interior pockets (two on each side of the interior) can accommodate a variety of gear.

    I would have appreciated an exterior pocket but if that's important to you, the iPad "Wallet" model has it. That model also has a dedicated spot for the Apple Wireless Keyboard but the folks at Waterfield suggested it might not accommodate the Origami Workstation, so I rejected that model. (The "Wallet" also comes in different colors if the stripe on the Travel Express isn't enough for you.)

    Another minor annoyance is that trying to put the Apple power plug in one of the interior pockets creates a small bulge in the case's profile. That's Apple's fault but it is, as I said, a minor annoyance. The workaround is to place the plug in the main compartment but that means I have to keep track of it as I pull out the keyboard.

    The interior pockets hold my Droid smartphone without a problem but it would be nice to have a dedicated (more shallow) cell phone pocket. Again, an exterior pocket would be ideal.

    I also carry a pair of Sennheiser foldable headphones that don't fit very well inside the bag. (Earbuds would be no problem.) My workaround for that problem is to attach the bag that holds the headphones to one of the exterior D rings. The headphones are pretty sturdy so that works for me and if I weren't also using the Origami Workstation I might be able to keep the headphones in the case.

    () Overall - 9+. Good looking. Durable. Slim profile that accommodates the wireless keyboard in the Origami case. Strong but narrow strap doesn't take up more room than necessary when it's all packed in my laptop case.

    Relatively pricey with the premium strap (about $100) but if you've ever had products from Waterfield Design you understand why they're not the least expensive options out there. My "Cargo" bag has lasted five years and half a million miles of air travel and looks as good and works as well as the day I bought it.

    Need a case or bag for your laptop, tablet, mobile device, or gadget? We've got you covered - WaterField Design - Made in USA
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  2. kilofox
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    kilofox iPF Novice

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    Very nice! I have a Waterfield Muzzetto Bag ( to some its a man purse, but I call it a satchel ).

    Gary makes great bags.... Enjoy!
  3. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    I agree. The real test of a bag comes after several years of use (and abuse.) Waterfield meets this test better than any other manufacturer I've found. It's subtle features like hidden stitching that doesn't fray and placement of strap attachments on the sides rather than the top of the bag (reducing stress) that makes all the difference.

    The Muzetto is a beatiful bag. If I weren't such a pack rat when I travel I'd love to have one.
  4. SaberOne
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    SaberOne iPad Fan

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    Nice looking arrangement for sure! Funny how the support equipment grows, and dwarfs the ‘thin-is-in’ iPad2 tag line. I’m already worried the tote I ordered may not be large enough to carry all the stuff I bought for the pad. Oh well…:ipad-front::D:ipad-front:

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