Review – WaterField Designs Outback Solo for Surface Pro 3

Last week, I reviewed WaterField Designs' Outback sleeve for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and was very impressed with both the quality and aesthetic.

Today, I'm taking a look at their Outback Solo for the Surface Pro 3, a hybrid sleeve/bag that has a few more features than the basic Outback sleeve.


The main body of the Outback Solo is much like that of the Outback sleeve, a waxed canvas shell with a neoprene-lined compartment for your Surface. But the Solo takes it further with the addition of a large secondary compartment on the back and two different sized pockets on the front.

The Surface pocket is protected by a beautiful leather flap that swings over the top of it and is secured with a magnetic snap. Rather than using D-rings on the sides of the bag, the optional adjustable shoulder strap connects through two slits in the back of the leather flap. This thoughtful design maintains the aesthetic of the rest of the bag and gives the Outback Solo an added "cool-factor" that is difficult to find in any other carrying case.

But the Solo doesn't get by on its amazing looks alone. The custom-fit sleeve compartment holds the Surface Pro 3 in a snug embrace, preventing it from being tossed around. And just like its smaller sibling, the Outback sleeve, the combination of rigged canvas and soft neoprene offer up superior protection against outside forces.

Using the Outback Solo

I gave the Outback sleeve high marks as a case that you can throw in your backpack or briefcase, or tote in-hand to a meeting. The Solo, however, is a self-contained, singular transport for your Surface and its accessories.

The larger of the two front pockets is the perfect size for holding your Surface power cord, stylus, and maybe even a small mouse, like the Microsoft Wedge mouse. You just need to be mindful how much you put in there and how you arrange it, as it can prevent the leather flap from securely clasping.

The small pocket on the front was clearly designed with a cell phone in mind, though it can just as easily be used for a wireless hotspot or even a small memo pad. The backside compartment spans the length of the Outback Solo. It is well-suited for holding a notepad or even a smaller tablet.

Be it for work or play, the rugged construction and extra storage space of the Outback Solo makes it a top-notch option for carting around your Surface and other essentials on the go. I recommend opting for the shoulder strap as well. It will free up your hands for carrying your coffee mug to your morning meeting or using a walking stick on your hiking trip.

The best way I can summarize my thoughts on the Outback Solo is that if Indiana Jones had a Surface Pro 3, then this is the bag he would use to carry it. It's clearly tough enough to accompany him on any quest, but it's handsome and intellectual design is also perfect for when he is lecturing in the classroom.

The Indiana Jones reference was the very first thing that came to mind when I took the Outback Solo out of the box two weeks ago, and I couldn't wait to use it in my review. Then today, I came across another review of the Solo that invoked his name as well. My heart sank, thinking I could no longer use the same reference.

However, at the risk of coming off as unoriginal, I decided to leave it in for one major reason. If two reviewers independently conjured up the same mental image after laying eyes on this bag, it must be the ultimate testament to its design.

The Outback Solo for the Surface Pro 3 can be purchased directly from WaterField Designs' website. Pricing starts at $109.00 without a shoulder strap, which will run you an extra $19.00.

Seth Brodeur