STM Bags is an Australian company, founded in 1998, that is dedicated to making laptop bags that “don’t look like a laptop bag.” Lately, they’ve expanded their offerings to include some bags designed for the Apple iPad. Just like their laptop bags, the iPad offerings are sturdy-looking bags that are at home on a college campus or in the business world. STM were nice enough to send three iPad bags to The Gadgeteer for review. I’ll cover the Scout and the Micro Extra Small iPad Shoulder Bag in separate reviews. I’ll be discussing the Jacket for iPad in this review.
(Most of the pictures in this review, including the top picture, can be enlarged for a more detailed view.)
The STM Jacket for iPad is made of gray 600D water-resistant dot nylon. It has teal zippers and teal lining fabrics. I measured the bag as 8-5/8” X 10.75” (11-3/8” with the grab handle) X 0.75”. The removable shoulder strap is 1-3/8” wide; it can be adjusted to be as short as 31.25” or as long as 55.75”. There is no strap pad, but I didn’t feel that it needed one. STM says the Jacket weighs 0.4 pounds. All the strap hardware and the two D-rings to attach the strap to the bag are black metal. The two strap hooks appear very sturdy and strong. There is a grab handle on one of the narrow sides. This grab handle is stiffened so that it always retains an open shape. This makes it very easy to use; you don’t have to hunt for a floppy handle when you want to pick it up.
I find the teal and medium gray combination very attractive. In addition to the teal zippers and lining fabrics, there is a rectangle of teal stitching on the front that that is perfectly even and straight. The only branding on the bag is the “stm” initials embroidered on the front in the same teal thread.
There are two pockets on the front. One has a “slash” opening and is intended to hold your phone or other small device. There is no zipper or other means of closing this pocket. Of course, there is no way the phone could fall out if you are carrying the bag by the grab handle in the “portrait” orientation with the opening pointing up. Because of good design, you don’t have to worry that the phone will fall out when you are using the strap to wear the bag in the “landscape” orientation, either.
This phone pocket has a curved shape that is designed to keep the phone from sliding out. The red line I added to the above picture shows the shape of this pocket. The phone would have to be able to slide “uphill” to fall out of the pocket when wearing the bag in landscape orientation. You have to reach in and pull out the phone, and the slash opening is big enough to easily get your fingers in there. The phone pocket is lined with a teal-colored fleecy fabric to protect your phone from scratches. My LG enV3 fit perfectly inside. My iPod touch also fits beautifully, even when wearing its little Belkin Grip Vue case.
There’s another pocket on the front; this one is closed with a zipper. Although the zipper is shorter than the length of the case, the pocket is the full length and width of the case. This pocket is lined with a shiny teal fabric, and it is intended to hold your cables, chargers, and other accessories.
The back has a slip-in pocket with no closures. The bag isn’t big enough to hold a piece of standard paper unless it is folded. You can see how an unfolded piece of 8.5” X 11” paper fits. This pocket is also lined with the shiny teal fabric.
The main compartment is for the iPad. This pocket closes with a double zipper. The inside is padded and completely lined with the fleecy teal fabric. The STM Jacket doesn’t open up like a book. Notice where the two zipper pulls are in the top picture; that is the fully unzipped opening. Naturally, a naked iPad fits inside, and I was very happy to see that the iPad wearing the Belkin Grip Vue also fits handily through the opening and has ample room inside the storage pocket. I don’t think a case much bigger than the Grip Vue would fit, though.
I think this case is ideal for someone who wants some extra protection for the iPad while it’s carried inside their laptop bag or backpack but would also like the option of carrying the iPad alone once they have reached their destination. Both the shoulder strap and the grab handle work great for carrying the Jacket. Your iPad is safe inside the Jacket, and you have room for your phone and a few necessities. Of course, like any sleeve, the iPad isn’t protected outside the case – unless you’re like me and have your iPad inside a Belkin Grip Vue or a similar skin-type case. I think the STM Jacket is very pretty, too, in a totally non-girly way. It should work equally well for men or women. It’s attractive and protective – what more could you want?