I recently decided to embark on a journey of discovery. Surely, Ithought, there must be life beyond Tom Bihn s popular Ristretto vertical messenger . Fortunately, it didn t take long to find my first destination:STM s $70 Vertical Laptop Shoulder Bag . (I tested the Small version.) As you may have deduced, the plainly named Vertical is an uprightmessenger bag. STM designed the Small size for 13-inch notebooks,but not necessarily MacBooks. |
This means the main compartment withfoam padding, a plush corduroy lining, and its own dedicated,protective Velcro flap feels a little oversized for Apple s slimnotebooks, though my wife s 13-inch MacBook didn t swim aroundtoo badly. Moving down the front of the bag from the main compartment,there s a general-purpose pocket that fits a couple magazines or athin book, though you probably won t be able to stuff a rain shellor other thin jacket in there. In front of that is a thin pocketfor an iPad or other tablet, lined with a felt-like material butwithout much padding at the bottom of the bag to protect yourtablet from sudden drops. The final compartment on the front of the bag is a zippered areafor smaller trinkets, a power adapter, cables, and the like.
Thereare a decent number of slots and small zippered areas inside, butclosing it gets a bit tight if you ve stowed thicker items. Iultimately felt more comfortable putting my laptop s power adapterin the zippered pocket on the bag s outer flap. This flap closesto protect all the compartments I mentioned, securing with Velcro. On the back of the bag is a standard thin, full-length pouch fortossing quick-access items such as a magazine, a boarding pass, oryour headphones; there s also a carrying handle you can hide whenit s not needed. The shoulder strap is a standard nylon versionwith a movable (and removable) nylon-with-padding shoulder pad,which I found to be plenty comfortable in daily use.
Overall, the STM Vertical is a solid bag at a competitive price,but I recommend it with a caveat: If you re the type of mobilewarrior who needs space in your bag to store random things you pickup during the day, this bag might not be for you, as it reallydoesn t afford much in the way of extra room beyond the basics. Ifthat s not an issue, the Vertical is a fine bag for your dailyessentials but not an iPod cable or rain shell more. Former Macworld associate editor David Chartier is a Herald for 1Password , proprietor of DavidChartier.com , wrangler of the Finer Things in Tech , and eternally searching for the perfect gadget bag.
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