Monday, May 15, 2017

Solo Rival... reviewed!



Before I jump into the specifics of the review, I just want to give a shout out to Matt from Solo's brand communications team for taking the time to reach out. Instead of simply sending a backpack to SDGT, he wanted to find out what my needs were... when it comes to a backpack. From there... he decided the best fit for me is the Solo Rival you see below, so I just wanted to put that out there.

I knew the backpack was coming, but I can't lie... I was excited when it arrived. So join me via the visuals you see here as I open this thing up.

Now that we've got the packaging out of the way... let's jump in.


What you see here is one of Solo’s newest backpacks called the Solo Rival (specifically the ACV700 model).
They have a new Solo Everyday Max backpack… but this one is more in line with what I need.

Feels... sexy. :p
It looks and feels like it was designed with premium quality in mind. The polyester body feels great… along with the cooling air mesh you see lining the inner shoulder straps and back padding… and it even has a reflective strip for visibility. So you should be seen if you have to set out on foot, bike, horseback or whatever else requiring a driver to see you strutting your stuff down the road. A little something extra to protect yourself as you protect your tech.

The Solo Rival has 6 compartments… which includes a fully padded one that can fit up to 17.3" laptops and two hard shell pockets for side storage. These side pockets are a nice size... I can literally slide a game controller into them with no oomph behind it. I have other backpacks but i'd have to put the controller(s) in the main compartment with my laptop and headphones. Considering the fact that I absolutely hate when things scrub up against my laptop... the space this backpack has is a plus.

The Solo Rival is good for work or play, whether that be locally, a work convention or even a game event. I put this backpack to use recently when my wife gave birth (new dad in the house!). I tossed a few days of clothing inside, my laptop, game controller, Bluetooth headphones, documents, snacks... and was ready to go with room to spare.

I wasn't going to bring a wired gaming headset because I needed to be ready for action often, but a fold-able gaming headset would be able to fit into one of the two side pockets with no problem.

For tablet owners... you have a sleeve built into one of the compartments for an extra layer of safety, as well as a compartment for stationary (I'm sure fellow artists can appreciate this). While I could say that's something of a basic i'd expect, it's not in all backpacks... so its appreciated. Another nifty little feature is the headphone port that allows you to run your wired headphones to your phone in the designated pocket of the backpack. I don't care to hold my phone all the time so this works especially when I have wired headphones on deck.


As you see by these images... you can fit quite a bit of stuff in this bag, which is perfect for game events like E3 that have a lot of great freebies and buys so you aren't stuck holding bags in your hands.





Two of my favorite features when it comes to the backpack are the top compartment... which reminds me of a standard pocket on my pants and the chest strap. These may seem like little things, but when i'm traveling, things like that top compartment would come in handy for change and other things I need to quickly access without having to do a full unzip. Also at the airport when I need to empty my pockets, that compartment is in a great place to store items so I can just flow. 

When it comes to the chest strap... I really enjoy having these options on backpacks because it makes a world of difference in balancing it out while on your back. Some of you may have carried book bags at school and had to deal with the sagging that required you to constantly pull the bag back up... or you had to hold it in that place in order to maintain comfort. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now, so I appreciate it when chest straps are available.



Two more things you may like about this backpack are it's warranty... and the price.

This bad boy comes with a 5 year warranty. Yeah... Solo's not playing around. I've seen a 1 year warranty on some, while others have none (that cost more)... so I thought this was pretty awesome.

Speaking of cost, the Solo Rival retails for $79.99 and goes the extra mile in comparison to others I've come across at this price point. So you're getting a pretty good deal regarding quality, comfort and usability.

One thing I don't like about this backpack though... is the neck area. While it's not horrible, Solo made great design decisions that should've also included areas on the straps that contour around the neck for increased comfort. It's not a deal breaker at all (many backpacks are lack this)... but who knows, maybe that will be ushered into a newer model of the Solo Rival.



Design: 4
Quality: 5
Comfort:4
Price: 5

Usability: 5 

I rate the Solo Rival a 4.5 out of 5. So if you want to get your hands (or should I say your "back"?) on this backpack, it should work out quite well for you and your needs.

Thank you so much for checking out this review... and for more info on the Solo Rival backpack, go to: http://solo.net/active-17-3-backpack/