The iPad is very portable, and it’s small enough for me to even fit into some of my purses. If you don’t carry a purse or other gear bag that’s big enough, or if you’d like bag for just your iPad and a couple of accessories, the ProStyle Courier for iPad from Brenthaven could be just what you need. I was very happy to be selected to review this bag when Brenthaven offered one to The Gadgeteer.
Most of the photos in this review can clicked for a larger view.
The ProStyle Courier measures about 13.25″ wide X 9.5″ tall X 1″ thick; it weighs about 1.25 pounds on my digital kitchen scale. The exterior is “custom micro-ballistic nylon.” The bag is available in black with copper-colored accents on the zipper pulls or charcoal with yellow zipper-pull accents. I received the charcoal.
The front of the bag has “genuine leather touch-points on the zipper pulls and the bottom panel”.
The front of the bag has a zipper that opens up the iPad compartment. The zipper curves at each side, and it tends to sometimes get caught by the padded seam inside. I haven’t had the zipper get completely snagged up in that seam; it’s just a little slow going around the corners. There’s also a full-length flap held closed by a silver-colored metal buckle and black plastic clip. A Brenthaven label on the front flap seems to be made of the same leather used for the bottom panel.
A zipper pocket on the side of the bag opens up to small fake-fur-lined pocket that’s sized to hold a smartphone.
The top of the Courier has two “ears” where the shoulder strap attaches. There are no grab handles for this bag.
The back of the bag has a full-width open pocket that Brenthaven says is for a Moleskine notebook, but it’s actually big enough you could put papers or even your iPad in it.
The shoulder strap is made of 1.85″-wide black belting material. The silver-colored metal buckle adjusts the strap from a length of about 28″ (13.5″ drop, or distance from the middle of the strap to top of the bag) to 54.75″ (27″ drop). You can carry the bag as a shoulder bag or use it as a crossbody bag. Although the strap is very wide and there is no strap pad, the bag is comfortable to wear. I always wear bags as a crossbody bag, and the strap is soft enough that it curves up my neck instead of rubbing the scratchy edge against my skin.
The interior is lined with a light gray, short-pile fake fur. Brenthaven says the ProStyle Courier features their “High Density Foam Protection system, which offers a lightweight cradle system that wraps the notebook in up to 1″ of foam, while suspending it above the bottom of the case.” The two fur panels you can see in my photo have bound edges; they aren’t sewn into the bottom of the bag nor to each other. You can run your hand up behind both of these pieces of fabric, as they are attached only at the top and the sides of the bag. If they were sewn to each other, they would form a cradle that would suspend the iPad above the bottom of the bag. Since they aren’t sewn together, the iPad just sits on the padded bottom of the Courier.
Brenthaven’s discription says the ProStyle Courier was originally designed for Apple’s MacBook Air, and you can certainly see there is room to spare with my new iPad in the zippered compartment. The iPad is wearing a snap-on back cover and the Smart Cover, and I think there would be sufficient room if the iPad was wearing most any case, including some keyboard cases.
There was even room to hold my HP Mini 200 netbook. I could probably have fit both the netbook and the iPad inside if I wasn’t concerned with my iPad’s screen. I could even put the netbook in the padded zipper compartment and my iPad in the open slip-in pocket on the back of the bag, if I wanted.
The phone compartment on the front had plenty of room for my iPhone 4, even while it was in the big Musubo Retro case. The iPhone fit completely inside the pocket and zipped up securely. There’s no padding in the front side of the pocket, though. I’d always put my iPhone in with the screen facing the back, to be safe.
There’s a compartment in the front flap that conceals the metal part of the buckle. The bag normally looks as you’ll see it in the lead photo, but I’ve pulled back the front flap so you can see the rest of the buckle.
There are two large, gusseted pockets under the flap. They are open, with no zippers or Velcro to secure the contents inside. The pockets are sized to hold the iPad’s charger and cable or other accessories. I could even fit my Dooney and Bourke Multi Function Zip Around Wallet inside one of the pockets. The Dooney measures 6.5″ long X 4.5″ tall X 1.5″ thick all loaded up, so you can see the pockets are rather roomy.
Brenthaven also includes a microfiber cleaning cloth with the ProStyle Courier bag. It measures about 5.75″ X 4″ – not huge, but a good size for cleaning the iPad’s screen.
The Brenhaven ProStyle Courier for iPad is a great bag. If I put my wallet and cellphone in the bag, it could be my only bag for the day, with room for a charger, cables, and a few other things. It will look at home in the office, but it’s casual enough to take to the coffee shop. At $70, I think it’s a well-made, attractive bargain.