Osprey Cyber Port Back Pack: Preview/Review- by Guitar Ted

Osprey has some very nice hydration packs, which we have reviewed before,(here and here), but they also make packs for other uses. Here we have the Cyber Port, a new commuter/lifestyle oriented bag. Osprey sent me an advance, pre-production version to check out and give my feedback on. While it isn’t exactly like the one you’ll be able to buy soon, Osprey allowed me to write up this review to let you all know about it anyway. Any discrepancies between this and production will be called out as we go along. You’ll see the final version of this bag available in late August.

Osprey Cyber Port

Osprey Cyber Port

Intro: The Cyber Port was designed as an urban “day-pack”, and wasn’t really designated as a cycling product until the cycling guys at Osprey saw it and immediately identified the Cyber Port as something cycling commuters might be in to. Since I do a lot of commuting by bike, Osprey shipped me the pre-production version to test. The pack is a handsome fabric covered affair in a medium size. There will also be a larger sized model in the line dubbed simply “Cyber” and that pack will feature a hip belt and does not feature the “port” window, as it is deemed the pack for larger lap tops and attendant cords.

The Cyber Port is 19″ tall by approximately 13 inches wide at the widest point and goes about 3 3/4’s inches deep at the deepest point. The pack features padded shoulder straps, (which will be reinforced on the final version), and these are adjustable for a wide range of fit. A single buckle snaps the two straps together in the sternum area in typical Osprey fashion. Other notable changes to the final version from this one are that the logo on the front will be an embroidered one instead of the applied patch and there will be reflective accents added for better night time visibility. That’s about it for the outside. Let’s dive into this pack now and see the other features.

The “port” in the Cyber Port’s name refers to the windowed tablet pocket accessed by unzipping a cover on the front of the back pack. The idea here is that the user can quickly access their tablet device without pulling it from the back pack completely and having to stuff it back in when you are ready to move. Simply unzip the cover, flip it back, and attach the cover on the opposite side by way of a toggle and loop fastener,(See image below), and you can do your business on your device through the window, or “port” on the pack.

Final production versions will feature a smoother TPU (matte) finish to the port and the tablet pocket will feature a bird print fleece lining. While the pack I was sent required you to unzip the flap to access the tablet pocket zipper, final production versions will move the zippered opening to the tablet pocket to the top/exterior for easier access.

The Cyber Port is no “one trick pony” though. It can also haul your small to medium sized lap top in a fleece lined pocket accessed from the exterior. This pocket is secured by a Velcro fastener that is emblazoned with the Osprey embroidered logo. Just in front of this pocket is another, zippered, fleece lined pocket for another flat device or for whatever you want to keep nice and safe like a magazine, small notebook, or important papers.
Also accessible from this zipper is the main “marsupial” area which is as deep as the pack is. On the one side the pocket has several slotted pouches suitable for cards, or pens and other smaller items you may need quick access to. There are also two mesh pockets that might hold a small wallet and a plastic clip on a band tether which would be good for some keys.

Finally, there is another zippered pocket accessible from the top with Osprey’s special lining for eyewear inside there. Obviously this is a great place for sunglasses, but I found it to be a really good place to store our USB cables and camera cables as well. This kept them super accessible and organized which is nice to be able to do when you need to recharge a device or download some images.

Speaking of recharging, the final production version of the Cyber Port will feature an exit garage on the zip end for headphones and an internal port to allow an in-pack charging connection.

Performance: The Cyber Port is a unique take on a bag for the commuter that has a tablet device, and this port feature is actually pretty cool in actual use. First of all, as noted, this example does not have the nicer window material the final production pieces will get, but it worked well anyway with no glitches or complaints from either my wife or myself during testing. To be able to quickly access the iPad we have without removing it from its pouch proved to be a useful concept at coffee shops, at breaks at work, or at the home. I can certainly imagine this would be a nice feature for those who travel who may use it as a carry-on bag at airports or on busses and trains.

My wife used it for her daily commuting to work, (by automobile), and she really got on with it, only remarking that she had to pare down her load coming from her normal rucksack. Otherwise she found the bag sturdy, useful, and she said it drew praise for its looks at the office. I used it as my daily commuter pack, (by bicycle), and it was loaded down with the laptop for my commutes. I found it comfortable enough, but missed having a waist belt, as my curb-hopping style and bits of unpaved track sometimes would cause the pack to buck up and tap the back end of my helmet. I also was missing some of my “normal” cycling specific back pack features. For instance, there really isn’t a great place to stick a pump in this bag, and tubes and tools are left to “float” around in the larger “marsupial” pouch in the bag. However; Osprey must be defended here by way of reminder that this is not specifically a cycling back pack, but it can cross over to commuting by bike, as long as you are okay with this not being so cycling-centric.

Conclusions: I will say that a more upright, commuter style ride would get along with this bag famously, and that my commuting style is…..well- probably the exception, not the rule. :) I would definitely take a close look at this bag if I were a cycling commuter in an urban environment, or if I were a student, for example. I will say that if the Cyber Port stood up to my rough handling, it probably will do just fine for a more “normal” commuter. Also, I would probably gravitate more to the bigger Cyber, with its hip belt and lap top carrying capability, which would stabilize the pack and fit what I would need in a commuter back pack in a closer way. I think having the larger volume would attract me more as well. That said, the Cyber Port is pretty trick if you are a tablet user.

The Cyber will retail at $129 while the Cyber Port will retail at $99 and both bags should hit retailers by late August 2013.

NOTE: Osprey sent the Cyber Port bag at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review, and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.