Review: Twelve South Journal CaddySack, PowerPic and Compass Pro

Review: Twelve South Journal CaddySack, PowerPic and Compass Pro

Review: Twelve South Journal CaddySack, PowerPic and Compass Pro

Twelve South continues to come up with niche products that fit lifestyles and technology needs. At CES this year I saw their latest offerings. I was intrigued by their QI-charging frame, their leather accessory book, and their new iPad stand. Here is a review of each.

Journal CaddySack

$89.99

I’ll start with the leather book that disguises all of my accessories. Like many Twelve South products, the Journal CaddySack looks like a fine leather book. Open it up and it reveals a bevy of Velcroed elastic straps, a host of elastic loops and a mesh compartment at the top for things too small to be held in place by the other features. I use the mesh area to hold my SanDisk iXpand, the Apple Lightning-to-Audio adapter, and a very short USB-to-Lightning cable.

In the main storage area I carry the various Apple adapters for HDMI, VGA, and on the other side, a thin VogDuo charger, an audio cable, and a longer Lightning cable.

The 204mm (w) x 44mm (h) x 152mm (d) exterior sports fine brown leather. My travels have already nicked and worn it to a shiny patina. The leather pulls on the zipper complete the overall quality experience.

My only suggestion for improvement would be the mesh area, which could do with a zipper or a Velcro catch. I have had items, more than once, come tumbling out as I flipped open the CaddySack.

Overall the Journal CaddySack brings needed organization to bags full of technology jumble with more than a hint of old school charm.

PowerPic

$79.99

I can’t say much about the PowerPic except that it just works and it fits well with my desk accessories.  My desk used to sport other wireless phone chargers that did only one thing: charge my phone. PowerPic does two things: charges my phone and displays a picture. And it does both of those things vertically. The PowerPic ends up not only charging my phone and displaying a wedding photo, but it also takes up less desk space than its flat charging predecessors.

So here’s the deal. A fashion neutral 5×7 picture frame made of New Zealand pine with up to 10 watts of Qi-charging surface that support cases up to 3mm thick. That’s all you need to know. Well, it also comes in black or white.

If you want more: The PowerPic sits tech-forward with USB-C as its input (from any USB outlet, computer or adapter),. Indicator lights on the back don’t distract from the aesthetic, but they do let you know if the phone is charged or if a foreign object is blocking the charging cycle.

The frame supports input of 5V/2A , 9V/1.67A. It provides output at 5V/1A , 6V/1.25A , 9V/1.1A with an operation Frequency of 110~205 KHZ which uses ASK modulation type through a coil antenna. Charging Efficiency clocks in at 2~8mm ; 2mm max> =75% / 8mm max> =72%.

I don’t have any complaints about the PowerPic. It does its job well, with class and aplomb.

What really matters once you set-up your PowerPic is the picture you put in the frame. Stop worrying about charging your phone and start worrying about what your friends and family see when your phone isn’t charging.

Compass Pro for iPad Pro

$59.99

The Compass Pro brings new sturdiness to the Twelve South Compass line. If you haven’t seen a Compass, think of an old-fashioned drawing compass subtlety tweezed into a three-legged stand with a couple of protrusions to support an iPad. And then think about engineers not only thinking stand but thinking about how people use their devices. The Compass Pro tilts all the ways you want, from a hands-free display to a desktop for keyboard input or video conferencing. It then slouches down to lower angle for sketching or virtual keyboard input. Done: fold it flat and slip into the stricking bland and red included case.

Compass Pro with an earlier version in the back (courtesy Twelve South).

I have owned all of the various Compass versions. This one very much learns from earlier models with more stability and better seating for the iPad. And this version probably won’t read as a weapon during an airport security scan, which I experienced a couple of times with the original version.

The Compass Pro runs 7.32 inches (18.6 cm) folder and 5.12 – 5.63 inches (13 cm -14.3 cm) when open. Width comes in at 1.26 inches (3.2 cm) folded and 5.9 inches (15 cm) extended with a depth of 0.47 inches (1.2 cm). The stand weighs in at .51 pounds (.23 kg).

That last number is Compass Pro’s Achilles Heel. At half a pound, the Compass can feel like the optional piece of kit that is weighing down your otherwise light overnight bag. And honestly, with cases that also double as stands (including Twelve South’s BookBooks),

I do often leave my Compass Pro in my desk drawer—but I also bring it when I know I will be stationary for a while—or when I need to use my iPad for a more professional display at a meeting or conference. There is still an elegance about a naked iPad that evokes quality in a way no other tablet can match. And the Compass Pro is the one stand on the market that not only lets the iPad’s design shine, but it enhances it.

Bottom line

Twelve South designs outstanding products that reflect an attention to detail, use fine materials and go out of their way to make sense. These aren’t cheap throwaway products. In fact, I still keep several BookBooks on a shelf from iPads I don’t own anymore because I can’t find it in me to part with them. And how many cases good by themselves?

Learning from customers and constantly improving their products remains the best feature of Twelve South the company. They don’t just crank out something for a new model that is made of the same materials and design aesthetic. With each new generation, Twelve South ups its game. They bring cases, chargers, and accessories to market with improved quality and increased functionality. Their entire catalog reflects some of the most attractive accessories for those who want to match their mobile device investment with a little elegance.

Note: All items provided by Twelve South for evaluation. Images courtesy of Twelve South.

For more Serious Insights hardware reviews click here.

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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