Addiction is a bad word, rightfully so, but not all addictions are equal. For instance, I have a long-standing addiction to messenger bags (laptop bags, satchels, shoulder bags, they all fit the bill). I have eight at the moment and some are bigger, with more pockets and zippers, while others are minimalistic with just a single pocket and a latch, but I am always on the lookout for another one to feed the beast. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity to review a new bag from iHome, The iHome Smart Brief ($49.99).
I joked with a friend before the bag arrived that it could easily be renamed the “iBag” because it is specifically designed to fit Apple products. Then it arrived and I saw how on the mark that label is. The back zippered pocket is designed to fit a 13″ MacBook Air or Pro. In the middle there is a basic pocket to store your everyday things, but it’s not huge, so I would leave home the travel version of War and Peace. In the front there are two pockets that split the bag in half. One side is perfectly sized to fit a full-sized iPad, the other is filled with pouches labeled for specific power cords (MacBook, iPad and iPhone, plus a headphone pouch.) Rounding it all out is an outside slot on the front to slip your iPhone into, with a sewn-in magnetic clasp to keep the phone from slipping out. For the Apple fanboy, this bag has your tech traveling needs completely covered.
All the pockets and pouches are plush-lined, and you have a variety of color options for the plush/accent color. The bag itself is well-made canvas and only comes in gray (not to be confused with Apple’s new favorite, Space Gray).
After making the painful choices on what to leave out when I transferred my stuff from my old bag to this one, I excitedly used it as my work bag for the past week. I found it incredibly comfortable, not only in how it carries, but since I didn’t have the room to drag along every random project I thought about, it was overall lighter and my back was thanking me for it. If you’re someone who’s worried about being labeled a tech hipster, this really is not for you. Its slick design is very reminiscent of the minimalist themes seen throughout the tech industry right now, which not everyone is such a fan of, but I’m completely fine with.
So on the upside, it’s comfortable, fits your Apple products perfectly, and is small enough so it’s impossible to make it awkwardly heavy to carry around. On the downside, I found I missed having handles. It has only a shoulder strap, no direct handholds. This gives it a more smooth look, less like a briefcase, but I found picking it up out of the car or my trunk without handles was more awkward than I anticipated. Also, as someone who carries my iPhone in my pocket on a normal basis, I can’t really see myself getting a lot of use out of the iPhone pouch on the front of the bag. If my phone was in there and a call came in it would be tougher than I like to get the phone out of the bag fast enough to answer the call or even see who it is. Of course, that’s more of a personal thing.
I have no desire to change away from the bag after my week-long test and I look forward to continuing wearing it on my outings. I have no problem being seen as a techie. If you want to check out the bag, you can go directly to ihomecases.com or to Amazon.