REVIEWED: Twelve South BookBook Travel Journal

Retro-styled organiser for long flights, but iPad power users after productivity or security might be disappointed

Price at time of review: £74.99

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Modern business travel demands gadgets, and carrying myriad phones, tablets and confidential documents means security should always be on the mind of the savvy traveller. But does an inflight organiser that looks like an antique book really help?

Unique idea

The BookBook Travel Journal is unique. A flip-open organiser able to take all manner of inflight accessories – though squarely aimed at Apple users – it’s a nice idea to put everything in one well-disguised, zip-up folder.

Dozens of pockets

Most of the essentials for travel can be housed in the BookBook Travel Journal. The large spine cavity takes pens, while the left-hand side has an envelope for an iPad (we got an iPad 4 in there, though it fits best without any kind of cover on) as well as elasticated pouches for cables, cards and adaptors. There’s also a pouch for a phone, though it’s velcro-fastened and bulky; it’s slightly over-designed. On the other side is the real magic; a four-way arrangement of elasticated Velcro straps that can fasten anything from a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and cables to laptop chargers and USB sticks. We like this non-prescriptive design.

Heavyweight design

We have three problems with the BookBook Travel Journal. Firstly, it weighs 494g when empty, which is on the heavy side for an accessory. Add an iPad, a phone and some cables and you’re talking about two kilos. It’s going to need a bag – so why not buy a tech-friendly bag like instead? Most such bags have loads of pockets and almost always a space for a 15-inch laptop, too, which brings us to the second issue. Business travellers demand productivity, which means they’re likely to either travel with a laptop, or at least a clip-on keyboard for the iPad, such as the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard. We tried the latter in the BookBook Travel Journal, but there’s just no room for it.

Strange disguise

However, it’s the third problem that bugs us most. If you saw a travellers clutching an antique book while strolling through an airport or queuing to get on a plane, wouldn’t you take a second look? That negates the design and, besides, we’re not sure how many tech-obsessed travellers favour the retro look. If they did, why would they be reading an iPad instead of a paperback?

Buy the Twelve South BookBook Journal

See also:

Waterfield Designs Travel Express for iPad Mini