The Somersault ($90), from iBackFlip Studios, is a sling-style backpack built to give you quick, on-the-go access to the tablet it is also sworn to protect: your iPad.
It works like this. While traversing life’s urban landscapes, you keep the Somersault on your back, iPad stowed safely within. When you want to use your iDevice, you simply swing the bag around to your chest, unzip the iPad storage pocket, and now your iPad sits perpendicular to your stomach, ready and waiting for all your oily finger-poking.
I could have used the Somersault when I was traveling recently, as I walked lost through foreign cities, my iPad’s map app as my guide. The Somersault allows you to quickly use your iPad on the go while still keeping it protected and secure. With the quick pull of a zipper, the bag opens, giving you instant access to your touchscreen beauty. The bag is adjustable too, allowing you to angle your iPad just the way you like it.
And for the secret agents out there: the Somersault has a hidden camera hole in its outer shell. This allows you to take photos with your iPad while it still sits within its padded pocket — a perfect feature for all who deliver microfiche for a living.
The Somersault also includes some unnecessary, but appreciated, touches, like a mesh backing (for you sweaty dudes), and magnets that auto wake/sleep your iPad, just like Apple’s Smart Cover.
And, call me a patriot, but I like that this bag built right here in the good ol’ U.S of A. Most bags these days aren’t.
The Somersault holds your iPad in place with a black frame that fits around your iPad’s bezel. Problem is, the frame isn’t cut quite right, and I found that it covered half of my iPad’s home button. Worse, it would sometimes cover part of my iPad’s screen, too. Steve Jobs wasn’t a fan of imprecise construction, and neither is this guy (points thumbs at self).
But the bigger issue has to do with the Somersault’s top-secret camera hole. That hole, for some reason, is reinforced by a big metal grommet. That seems harmless — at first — until you realize that the backside of your precious iPad will be bumping and grinding directly against that big metal ring; it’s full metal-on-metal contact! I don’t want my iPad’s smooth aluminum back scuffed, scratched, or scarred. I only want things that are soft, nonmetallic, and preferably fur-covered touching my iPad. I’m shocked iBackflip overlooked this detail. I’d love to see them replace this iron grommet with something less abrasive, like rubber.
I’d recommend the iBackflip Somersault to anyone who travels or commutes a lot with their iPad; its smart design makes using your iPad easy while you tote it to and fro. But a word of warning for those that want to keep their iPads pristine: metal-on-metal contact isn’t a good way to stay scratch-free.