Review: blueLounge Bonobo Series iPad Sling
iPad Sling ($69) is the latest bag in blueLounge's Bonobo Series; it follows the Sleeve we saw last fall. It's immediately clear that they're part of the same family based on their materials and overall construction, moreover, they largely share the some benefits and drawbacks, although with the addition of a strap Sling is the more useful of the two. That improvement, however, doesn't justify the increased price.
Just like Sleeve, Sling is made out of 100% PET fabric—that is to say, recycled plastic bottles. Measuring in at about 11” tall and 9” wide, its front flap is held shut with the same kind of embedded magnets as the sleeve. Gone, however, is the metal buckle that didn’t offer much more than a nice accent. We did find the magnets to be somewhat problematic, however: they have a tendency to automatically unlock the iPad’s display if it’s being used without a Smart Cover or a case with a similar lid. We’d advise turning the feature off if you want to use this case; there’s no reason to have it on at that point anyway.
Sling has fewer pockets than we expected. On the outside of the bag at the same level as the bottom of the flap is a zippered pouch suitable for small accessories such as cables or a charger. Inside, there’s only one compartment, broken up by netting sewn to one wall, and capable of holding additional extras. We were surprised that the iPad Sling had no specific pockets for pens, an iPhone, or anything else.
Attached to the back of the case is the cross-body strap that turns this holder into its namesake sling. The aluminum elements from Sleeve haven’t been completely abandoned; the strap runs through a metal buckle, and we really liked the nylon-feeling material that blueLounge used, as it feels incredibly strong. We did find it necessary to extend the strap pretty far out from its default position to get it to hang at a comfortable height, and prefer bags that hang low, right around the hip.
For a $24 premium over Sleeve, Sling doesn’t really add much more than a nice carrying strap. Yes, the look continues to be nice, and blueLounge deserves credit for its commitment to the environment with its choice of materials. That only goes so far, though. When a great bag such as STM’s Stash can be had for $55, $69 strikes us as too high for Sling’s simplicity. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s too expensive for the limited functionality it delivers, the key reason for our limited recommendation.