Form and function: Four of the best new laptop bags

Remember when laptop bags used to suck? Really drab looking affairs that screamed “I’m carrying a laptop” and were only slightly more stylish than the comically out of date bags that “businessmen” used to carry around Old Threadneedle street.

Well all that has changed. Laptops are no longer the sole preserve of nerds, and indeed nerd-dom is no longer the sole preserve of people who actually know thing. Both nerds and laptop bags are at the height of fashion (or if not the height, certainly stand taller than they did in my day).

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Crosskase Fusion

If you’re a modern individual you’re probably wearing any number of metaphorical hats and appreciate technology that is equally flexible. The Crosskase Fusion bag features three bag styles within one compact package – messenger, tote and rucksack. The bag uses Ballistic Nylon construction, inner padding and an exterior flap to ensure items are well protected from the elements and theft.

Available now in black or silver, the Fusion is priced at £79.99 inc VAT from www.crosskase.com, Apple and Amazon.

STM-nomad

STM nomad

Leading Australian bag manufacturer, STM Bags have released the nomad, a cool looking shoulder bag, complete with a removable laptop sleeve that fits most 11′, 13′ and 15′ laptops and smaller tablets. The nomad has an external zipper pocket to secure valuables and multiple organiser pockets for pens, keys, cords, cables and accessories.

The nomad is available from Stmbags.com with prices starting from £95.

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CrossKase Solar 15

Battery power is a simple but oh so essential component of the modern gadget and it’s always amusing to see the desperation creep across the faces of iPhone users as the evening draws to a close and they wonder if their devices will have enough power to guide them home. The CrossKase Solar 15 is a sturdy 25 litre backpack with built-in solar panels to charge all your gadgets on the go. Priced at £139.99 it is available now from www.crosskase.com, Apple and Amazon.co.uk

For more detail on the CrossKase Solar check out our article here.

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toffee messenger satchel

If you want to be ultra fancy then there’s always the toffee messenger satchel, which is one of the best looking laptop bags we looked at. Also from Australia, the toffee bags are available in black or tan luxurious top-grain leather, or black or khaki premium 18-ounce canvas with genuine leather detailing – I said they were ultra fancy.

The messenger satchel is available in black or tan top-grain leather priced at £199.95, or 18-ounce canvas in khaki or black, priced at £139.95. Dimensions suit a 13” MacBook Air/Pro or Ultrabook. Check out www.toffeecases.com

STM Velo Laptop Shoulder Bag: The ultimate laptop thief deterrent!

A laptop bag that doesn’t look too much like a laptop bag – now there’s a novelty. Although on second thoughts, being one of the most ‘nickable’ items in existence, perhaps owning a more inconspicuous-looking laptop bag would be a wise move. The Velo is a laptop bag designed by laptop bags, iPad case and laptop sleeve makers STM, with the aim of looking cunningly unlike a bag for a laptop. Although whilst it may not be the conventional rectangular-shaped, unmistakably designed for a laptop, we now take for granted, the stylish, durable and pocket-frivolous Velo is a far cry from being ‘inconspicuous’.

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I suspect that the Velo laptop bag will be a popular choice of laptop carriers among cyclists, as being made from a durable, water-resistant nylon, the bag is ultra-lightweight, will keep its contents dry in a downpour and is unlikely to rip after the first journey to work. Possessing multiple organiser pockets, the Velo enables for quick and easy access for all of life’s essential items, such as an iPhone, keys, coins, credit cards, and, of course, a laptop. Although having said this, I often find that carriers that feature a multitude of pockets can end up leaving you more infuriated than ever. The amount of times that I have cursed my faux Prada handbag for its mass of pockets as I am unable to locate my ringing phone and by the time I have found it, the answering machine has kicked in!

Jibes aside, the Velo laptop bag certainly looks stylish and may prove to be a provident deterrent to any laptop thieves that may be luring. And with the growing number of people trading the Tube or the car for the bike to get to work, the STM Velo could be a common and convenient accessory to carry all those office essentials to work.

STM’s Velo fits most 13” and 15” laptops and will set you back £69.95.

STM Switch and Stash tablet bags

STM are an Australian bag manufacturing company that we have come to know and love over the years – their range of iPad and Laptop bags have been mostly excellent and, whilst they do produce some standard designs, they are also keen to experiment with both form and function, which is something we are keen on. So we were quite pleased to have a little hands-on time with two of their newest bags – the Skinny and the Switch.

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The Switch is a classic “best of both worlds” proposition for those of you who can’t decide between a back pack or a shoulder bag. I solved this dilemma by having one of each but the Switch offers a less profligate solution – a laptop bag that can be a backpack or shoulder bag. Like all STM bags, the Switch has a high density padded laptop compartment to keep all your electronic valuables safe and snug. Fitted with both shoulder and backpack straps, there are pockets that allow you to conceal the transition.

Stash

Of course laptops are an old man’s game and all the cool young kids are carting around tablets (or so I’m told). One of the many benefits of tablet computing is the reduced bulk it offers over a traditional laptop and the STM Stash emboides this with it’s snug form and grab-bag-esque qualities. Aside from the main compartment it features a front zippered organiser panel for pens, keys, headphones and such and then a back slip pocket that’s ideal for notes.

For more info on either bag head to stmbags.com.au/

STM Skinny iPad 2 case review

Leading Australian bag manufacturer, STM Bags got in on the hottest game in town the iPad 2 case market, with their newly released Skinny for the iPad 2. You might remember STM for their excellent tablet carrier case featured here or the laptop backpack we took a look at here.

STM-skinny

“We are super excited about the skinny”, noted STM co-founder Adina Jacobs. “As iPad users ourselves, we wanted to create a case that embodied the protective quality of every STM product while looking like something we’d want to carry.”

And they are right to be excited. iPad 2s keep flying off the shelf and with the human propensity for clumsiness unlikely to diminish, iPad 2 cases are just as popular, making it a lucrative market. Whilst Apple’s Smart Cover upper the ante for case manufactures, some of them have risen to the challenge with aplomb.

So what’s the skinny on the skinny? The case is made from durable 300D ripstop fabric. The custom fitted, hard shell back lined with soft micro suede protects your iPad 2 from scratches and external abuse. There’s also a nice little loop closure for quick and easy access and reminds me of a smart Filofax from the 80s.

One of the marquee features of the Smart Cover – being able to turn the device on or off (or more accurately in and out of sleep mode) simply by lifting the flap – is replicated here. Another useful function is the foldable front cover for typing or viewing – depending on how you interact with your iPad.

All in all a nice little case to protect your iPad from the outside world, without bulking it up to the point where it’s ungainly.

The STM skinny is available now at the RRP £39.95. For stockist information please go to: www.stmbags.com