Right after I wrote my recent news item about the Theo iPad Bag from Brahmin, I set about finding one for myself. I promptly ordered the bag in the crocodile-embossed leather in Pecan. The bag arrived recently. Is it everything I hoped?
All images can be clicked for an enlarged view.
The Theo bag is made of genuine leather that’s been embossed with a crocodile pattern. They call their embossed leathers “Melbourne”; they are embossed to look like exotic skins, but they are made from cowhide. This bag is also available in Salsa (red), Toasted Almond, and Black, but I chose the rich, warm brown called Pecan.
The bag measures 11″ wide X 8.25″ tall X 2.75″ thick (at the thickest point) and weighs 1 pound, 13 ounces empty. It has a removable strap that’s 5/8″ wide X about 56.5″ long. The strap length is more than long enough to wear the bag crossbody, and the strap can be adjusted for wearing on your shoulder.
The front of the bag has a thin, flat pocket that appears to have a strap closure. The strap is merely decorative, and the entire flap lifts to open the pocket. It’s held closed by embedded magnets. The leather is tight, and there’s no gusset to make the pocket easier to use. You can fit a thin cellphone in here, but I couldn’t get my keyring in this pocket.
A substantial brass bar and plate is mounted to the flap of this pocket. The bar is embossed with the Brahmin name.
The back of the bag has a slip-in pocket that extends the entire width of the back. It extends most of the way to the bottom of the bag. It’s lined with the same fabric used in the interior.
On the left side of the image, you can see the decorative brass fob with the Brahmin logo.
The lobster-claw clips on the ends of the strap and the strap-adjuster pegs are made of the same substantial brass that is used for the bar and plate on the front pocket and on the decorative fob. The D-ring to attach the strap to the bag is also brass. The zippers are all metal, too. They have large leather tabs instead of metal zipper pulls. I’m not showing a zipper tab in the above image, but you’ll see them in other photos.
The front compartment has double zipper-pulls that unzip all the way onto the bottom of the bag for full access to this organizer section. The compartment has gusseted sides to prevent spilling the contents when it’s completely unzipped. There’s a lot of organization in this section. The front wall has an open pocket that can easily hold a cellphone, and the back wall has a cellphone pocket, three leather pen loops, and five pockets for credit cards and IDs. A large zippered pocket divides this compartment into two sections. The pocket is the complete width of the bag, but it doesn’t extend quite to the bottom, so small things will be able to move from side to side under it. The pocket has a plastic zipper and a small leather pull-tab.
This area is lined with a heavy chamois fabric with a suede-like texture. The fabric is a light tan and is printed with the Brahmin name.
The back compartment is for an iPad or other tablet. It isn’t gusseted, and the zipper only unzips about 1″ down each side. This zipper has only a single pull. There’s some thin, dense foam padding under the fabric lining to protect the iPad.
You can see my iPad mini looks a little lost inside this pocket. I could fit the mini in wearing a Smart Cover or a slim-fit case. A more substantial case doesn’t fit because this is a tight pocket.
A caseless iPad 3 is a very snug fit in this compartment. I’m not sure it could accommodate even a Smart Cover on the iPad, but perhaps I just have too much stuff in the front compartment.
Because this pocket is so snug, I worry that the metal zipper might scratch the unprotected metal back of the iPad. I was very careful about keeping the iPad away from the zipper, but I can imagine eventually getting a little careless and getting a big scratch.
I can fit all of my everyday-carry items inside the front compartment with a little room to spare. I actually was able to fit the contents of my toiletries case inside the zipper pocket (I moved the bottle of Purell from the phone pocket to the zippered pocket after taking this picture). I keep my iPhone 5 in the phone pocket. I have a Fisher Space Bullet pen that I normally carry that is too small for the pen loops. I just left it in its ribbon case inside the zipper pocket. They’re a bit out of focus, but I had plenty of room for my double Tom Bihn pouches that I use as my wallet. I just left all my cards in those pouches instead of putting some of them in the card pockets. Here you can see my iPhone 5 inside that flat front pocket. It fits while wearing its Musubo case, but it’s a tight fit. I don’t know what kind of magnets are used in this pocket closure, so I’m not too keen on leaving my phone next to them for too long.
When I decide to use a different bag from my collection, I can store the Brahmin Theo inside the heavy felt storage bag that’s included. You can also see the registration card at the bottom of the picture.
In my news item, I said the Brahmin Theo iPad Bag might be the most beautiful tablet bag I’ve ever seen, and seeing the bag in person hasn’t changed that opinion. It’s a beautiful, well-made bag with a delicate leather smell. The crocodile texturing gives the bag a rich look without the added expense of real exotic leather. The tablet pocket holds a naked iPad snugly, but it has plenty of room for my iPad mini. (I don’t have any other tablets to check the fit.) I have plenty of room to carry the rest of my daily-carry gear. This gear bag doesn’t look like a gear bag, so you can carry it as your handbag even when you’re dressed up – and even when you don’t need to take along your tablet. It’s a bit expensive, but the quality of this bag more than compensates for the price. You’ll be carrying this bag for years, even after tablets have been replaced by the next big thing.