Review: Twelve South BookBook Travel Journal for iPad
BookBook Travel Journal for iPad ($100) is Twelve South's largest BookBook yet. After developing versions specifically for various iPads, including full-sized and mini options — not to mention iPhones and MacBooks — this latest edition is made to work with any of Apple’s tablets. Measuring 10.3” tall, 8” wide, and 1.9” deep, BookBook Travel Journal is the option that looks the most like a real book that may be housed on a shelf. Unlike prior versions, it's designed to hold the iPad and all the accessories that go with it. Consider this BookBook an alternative to carrying around a computer bag.
Like every BookBook before, this one is made out of handsome leather, and designed to look like an old hardbound book. The front and back covers are brown, made to weather and age, while the spine is a darker shade with red and gold accents, the latter notably spelling out the name of the case. This is the first edition to have what resembles pages between the covers; around the zipper that keeps it all shut, beige leather is ridged to look like paper. The dual zipper pulls have leather tabs.
As beautiful as BookBook Travel Journal may be on the outside, the inside is particularly important here. The idea behind the case is it can hold everything you may need to go along with an iPad, including the tablet itself. This is achieved through a series of pockets and straps. Starting on the left, there’s a Velcro flap that runs the height of the case, and that’s where the iPad goes. A very soft material lines the front and back, and the pocket will hold any iPad. You can even use a Smart Cover or thin shell to protect the iPad when it’s removed, although the space gets much tighter if you do.
Next, there are a series of three mesh pockets, with elastic bands at the top allowing them to expand. One is 5.75” long, while the next row is split into at the 3.5” mark. These are suitable for accessories such as cables, chargers, earbuds, and even iPods. Directly below these pockets, on a third row, there’s a leather and fabric pocket, made for holding an iPhone in or out of a case. On the inside of the spine, there are two elastic bands: one is larger, with the suggestion that it can be used with Twelve South’s Compass stand, and the other is thin pen- or stylus-sized.
Moving onto the back cover, the elastic band continues, split into three segments. Running perpendicular to it is a red band made of the same material, running through plastic loops at the top and bottom so that it can be adjusted. This band is made to hold accessories, but can also fit large headphones that fold flat. Twelve South lists Bowers & Wilkins’ P5 and Bose QC15 as examples. A very nice fabric lining behind these bands isn’t advertised as being made to hold anything, but you could potentially tuck paper behind it.
We’ve always struggled in evaluating the larger versions of BookBook. They’re consistently beautiful cases, made of great materials, and offer a nice degree of functionality. But, at the same time, they’re always quite expensive, putting them out of the price range that many people consider when buying accessories. BookBook Travel Journal follows that track record on both counts. Compared against a nice bag, however, the price isn’t as high as it might seem, and the functionality is similar assuming you’re not looking for a carrying strap. For someone who relies on his or her iPad as a main device, and needs to carry a bunch of accessories along with it, this BookBook is a good solution. It merits our general recommendation.