Although I don’t like version numbers on concepts (like Web 2.0,) I don’t mind them on things. Skooba’s new Tablet Messenger bag V.3. and I spent several days cruising Enterprise 2.0 (I know) and I found the messenger bag a more than adequate companion.
The Best Feature
The zippered top means you can get to your tablet without the cumbersome flap flipping common to most messenger bags. Not only can you get to your tablet of choice easily enough, but the case holds your tablet in a special secure, comfy, cozy place. There is enough room in the pocket to accommodate even bulky cases like those from OtterBox.
In the case of the Tablet Messenger V. 3, I have to add a second-best feature: the Revolution closure that, with just a quarter-turn, open the bag and secures it quickly. No magnets to align or clips to fumble with. The Revolution closure creates a big target when trying to close the bag in the dark or while keeping one eye on a schedule board and another on pickpockets.
Light, well-constructed and functional. The bag, which weighs only 25 ounces, includes a detachable shoulder strap with two pivoting, anti-tangle fasteners—a crucial feature. I have evaluated many a bag that left me, shall I say, wrapped up uncomfortably after a rapid jaunt through an airport. This strap freely swings and adjusts so it doesn’t become a snarled mess, or leave me with a strap burn, before arriving at the departure gate.
The satchel’s 16 pockets hold everything from passports to water, cell phones to USB sticks, with aplomb.The pockets run from open mesh to zippered mesh, to a Velcro enclosure for the tablet, and open padded pockets for accessories. It also includes a clip for keys or USB sticks.
The bag is aesthetically pleasing, from its water-repellant treated Micro-Ballistic Nylon fabric to its blue piping and stitch lines. The accent colors look ready to explode with variation if the bag does well in the market. The bright interior, unlike those lined in black, make it easy to see stuff that has fallen into the lint-free, smooth interior.
And if you need quick access to papers, they can be placed into the velcro-secured back panel pouch.
And unlike many other tablet bags that are made just for the tablets, this bag easily holds books or full-sized papers without creasing or folding.
Overall, this bag feels professional, yet contemporary—I think even tourists could wear it without it shouting: TOURIST. The zippers appear solid, the pulls well-attached and the pockets mostly well designed (see a caveat in Room for Improvement) for the type of stuff carried by students, professionals or travelers.
Room for Improvement
The Messenger Bag V.3 is designed to be worn across the body, not over the shoulder. But hey, when rushing from conference session to conference session, one sometimes doesn’t have time to appropriately hang a bag. And besides, putting it over your head may muss your hair (not a good look on a keynote speaker). This means the messenger bag is often offered the standard over the shoulder treatment. With that in mind, I would love to see a little bit more area, and a little more traction on the should strap cushion. The rough surface of the "cushion" is rough to hold to some clothing and not others. I’d like to see a more anti-slip design in future bags. The nice thing about the strap is they can redesign it and leave the bag alone, perhaps releasing a Tablet Messenger V.3.01.
The "dedicated" thumb drive slot inside the first exterior pocket is too narrow for standard drives like through from Sandisk, and too long for the smallest of the drives. I like the clearly identified USB image and the relatively short pocket, I just wish it held a USB stick that I own.
Given this isn’t a heavy-duty bag, the top handle doesn’t have to support much weight, but in big hands it feels tiny, though the stitching appears to be secure. And it does have a handle, unlike some messenger bags. I’m partial, however, to fat rubbery handles to make me feel like a I’m holding something substantial. That’s just my preference. I’m guessing most people won’t be bothered by the diminutive handle.
There really isn’t anything ugly about this bag.
The Buying Recommendation
Overall Size: 14"L x 11"H x 3"D
Tablet Pocket Size: 10.5"H x 7.5"L x 1.5"D
Weight: 25 oz.
List price for the Tablet Messenger V.3 is $129.95. Sales and promotions can take the price below $100 from online retailers. For more information see Skooba Design at: