In our Microsoft Surface Go video review, many of you asked about the stylish leather case I used to carry around the small PC. That bag was an original WaterField Designs from 2015 meant for the older Surface 3 – while it worked, it was bigger than it needed to be for the Surface Go.
Luckily, Waterfield Designs sent me an updated version of the Outback Solo (Size #22) to see what's changed and what's new. Here's my quick review.
WaterField Outback Solo
Goes for $159Bottom line: Outback Solo is an expensive, but classy looking day bag for the Surface Go that anyone should want. Ships worldwide (FedEx).
- Gorgeous design.
- Made in the U.S.
- Can hold Surface Go, charger, mouse, phone, pen, and more.
- Comfortable to wear, water resistant.
- Would have been cool as a vertical bag.
Outback Solo design and use
The idea behind Outback Solo is design simplicity, with protection, and some classic style.
The main pocket is padded with a soft neoprene that protects the Surface Go on all sides from bangs or scratches.
A hook-loop on the bottom lets you pull the bag taught for removing the Surface Go, which fits like a glove – it's not too tight where you will struggle, but there is not much unnecessary space either. Putting the Surface Go with the Surface Pen attached is possible.
A large front pocket has enough space for the Surface Go charger, a travel mouse and any hubs or adapters you may be using. Within that large pocket is a smaller padded one ideal for a smartphone.
In the back is another quick-access slim pocket useful for travel documents, receipts, or anything thin that you need to grab without opening the Outback Solo.
A single adjustable shoulder strap is included and removable.
On the outside, the Outback Solo is made from waxed canvas with a premium leather flap. It's water resistant, but not waterproof making it okay for the occasional rainstorm. An alternative version substitutes the waxed canvas with black ballistic nylon. Holding the leather flap closed is a single snap with a powerful magnet that helps guide it and keep it from getting knocked loose.
Outback Solo is a premium bag
The idea of ordering an excellent case that costs a third of the Surface Go may seem counter-intuitive, but WaterField Designs is the exception. I've been reviewing its bags and backpacks for years, and they only get better with age.
Putting price aside the craftsmanship of a bag sewn in San Francisco and made with premium materials is an excellent experience. The Outback Solo looks cool but is also highly functional. You can use it with just the Surface Go, or if going for a day pack it with all your Go's accessories without the bloat of a backpack.
The beautiful thing about these WaterField bags is they can be easily repurposed for other devices, tablets, etc. besides Surface Go. My hunch is the coming years we'll still have 10-inch computing devices of some sort.
And that's the value here: a classic bag that will last years. Not only will it not degrade, but the waxed canvas – like a pair of jeans – just gets better with age and exposure.
Of course, it's understandable that not everyone can afford such a luxury, but for those who can the Outback Solo is well worth it. The only thing I would love to see is WaterField offer a vertical option for this bag with a similar design.
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
WaterField (sfbags.com) is off the hook. I've been buying their bags for about 10 years. Yeah, they're spendy, but they're made in SF, so their costs are over the roof. That said, quality is outstanding. I recently bought a sleeve for my SP2017. There is a zipper pocket on the outside and inside the pocket is a pen pocket. Problem was, because the zippered pocket was tight and the pen pocket low in the pocket, it was REALLY hard to put the pen in its pocket. I notified them, and the owner of the company contacted me and redesigned it and sent me a new one! That's what I call service!
Just adding my voice to this as someone else who owns multiple Waterfield products. Yes, they are expensive, but the quality is incredible. I have a wallet, a sleeve for my Surfacebook, a gear pouch for all my odds and ends, and I’m prolly getting their new Pro Backpack and Tech Folio at some point in the near future. I know if I buy a Waterfield anything, I won’t have to replace it for years and years, especially as a user who puts his stuff through hell. I travel a lot and work a lot. I have to live out of my cases and bags sometimes. I know I’m getting what I pay for. Gary and his crew build great products and support their customers. I just wanted to put that out there because I know the price can be intimidating.
WaterField stuff isn't for everyone, but they do make good stuff. I bought a laptop sleeve 15 or 16 years ago. There is a touch of fraying around the flap, but other than that it looks brand new. It certainly outlasted the laptop (a Sony Vaio SRX-99) I bought the sleeve for!
Thanks for the review Daniel. I bought this exact bag (lightly used) on eBay for only $45 shipped. Totally worth it! It was labeled as an iPad Pro bag, but of course any 10" tablet could fit in it. I would check eBay if you are interested in Waterfield products. They are great, but so pricey their target audience is fairly niche. Niche means re-sell prices on eBay are very low. Daniel doesn't show it in the video, but the bag (at least mine) has a built-in felt pen holder as well that sits in the hinge of the flap cover. It's so awesome you literally cant tell you even have the pen, but you do!
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