Finding the perfect laptop sleeve is a lesson in compromise. The optimal design most people seek is a balance between protection, fashion, storage and utility. Just exactly what qualities are most important is based on one’s own proclivity for each feature. The Inateck MP1305 sleeve delivers a fashion forward design with the ability to prop up the computer for video playback or presentations. The sleeve also offers some storage and protection without sacrificing the slender proportions of the iPad Pro or 13.3 Inch MacBook Air/ Pro Retina. I tried this out with my MacBook Air and ran it through its paces. Keep reading to see what I think.
The unit arrived with minimal packaging, as illustrated below. If you’re interested in purchasing an environmentally conscientious product then the Inateck sleeve may appeal to you. The felt exterior is synthetic but has a natural look. The product is labeled with the RoHS stamp.
The sleeve is sold with a screen cleaning cloth and small felt pouch that is good for storing a mouse and the 45 watt power supply. The pouch measures about 5.25″ x 3.25″ x 1″ inside when completely filled. It has a felt flap and a rubber band closure. It’s good for keeping larger items secure, but because there is no zipper smaller items such as a USB stick are likely to fall out. If the sleeve were designed to hold the mouse and power adapter it would likely be too big for some. Having two containers is a good alternative, but carrying two separate items could be problematic. Also, on its own the pouch resembles a woman’s clutch purse. It may be a design improvement to include a way to fasten the two items together.
The sleeve’s most unique feature is the ability to support the iPad or laptop in presentation mode. This obviously has the most advantage as an easel for an iPad Pro, but may also be used to elevate the screen of a MacBook Air/Pro Retina for viewing presentations or movies (or for working on the computer with an external keyboard.) The closure flap is reinforced with plastic sheets and forms a fabric hinge in the middle of the flap. Securing the Velcro at the base of the closure flap with one of the top two rows of Velcro on the main compartment gives two support angles. On the pictures below you can imagine the computer base is where the iPad pro would rest.
I don’t think I have a particularly heavy Mac but it seems to bend the stiff portions of the sleeve cover more than the Mac on the company website. The sleeve’s secret for supporting the iPad and MacBook is a raised plastic strip below the bottom two rows of Velcro strips on the sleeve. This supports the knife-like edge of the MacBook Air palm-rest or the bezel of the iPad Pro.
The picture above shows off some of the stitching that is featured on this sleeve. The white stitching looks nice against the dark grey flannel and compliments other style cues on the sleeve, including the simulated leather Inateck nameplate on the front and the simulated leather zipper pulls on the back. The sleeve is definitely more fashionable than a nylon or neoprene alternative.
Of course, no matter how good it looks, it is important to test that the computer fits into the sleeve. In fact, the computer does fit, although it is a little snug towards the bottom. I made sure I inserted it with the computer hinge at the top and the tapered palm-rest towards the bottom to get the best fit. Note that the interior is lined in flannel so I imagine that if you have a silicone skin on your computer it may not slide in at all. The Velcro closures work well to make sure that the closure flap stays down. The flannel is thick and provides some cushioning around the computer. It’s not an engineered anti-shock material containing air-chambers or special polymer materials and it’s not going to provide protection when the computer is removed from the sleeve. Another drawback is that the sleeve may not provide protection from water soaking your device. In fact, the sleeve is dry-clean only, so you may want to get a sleeve to protect your sleeve.
The sleeve doesn’t look as slim with the computer inserted, even without adding anything to the storage compartments.
I wanted to test what the sleeve looks like with some of my everyday carry. I selected a few things that I may wish to have with me if I were bringing this to a meeting or conference. I included: a notebook, a few pens, a thunderbolt adapter, earbuds, business cards and some gum. Granted my Livescribe pen is pretty hefty, but it’s a good stand in for a laser pointer/presenter.
I filled the pockets on the sleeve in a variety of ways and never got it to look much better than the picture below. Also, removing the large pen case and the thunderbolt adapter didn’t seem to help much. In addition, you can see that there was a loose end to some of the stitching. It came of with some scissors, but it is something that should be taken care of before the final product goes out the factory door.
I have mixed feelings about the Inateck sleeve. I like the way it looks and the simple Velcro closure is faster and less cumbersome than a zipper. Once the device is closed inside of the sleeve it will be protected from dings and scratches. However, I don’t think that the sleeve provides the level of protection that I would like for something as sensitive as an iPad or MacBook. A quick search of the internet will provide some products that deliver more protection and storage for equal or a little more money. Also, while there are some storage compartments on the sleeve, they are relatively small. While some may argue that my expectation of what should fit into the sleeve is exaggerated, I believe that it’s a fairly accurate portrayal of what people bring to a conference or business meeting.
So like most journeys we end up where we started, with the premise that a sleeve needs to provide a balance of protection, fashion, storage and utility. I think my tastes are probably more focused on protection and storage than this fashionable product can offer. If your tastes require more fashion than a neoprene or nylon mesh exterior than this may be for you.