The iPad accessory market is a relatively young market that is still trying to match how users are integrating the iPad into their daily lives with the form and function of the accessories themselves. Apple’s other successes like the iPhone and iPod have already been through several generations with each accessory iteration coming closer to fulfilling the users needs. One segment that has fallen short of really capturing how the iPad is integrated into daily life are iPad bags. Padster Bags was kind enough to send us a Padster Original to review. Read on to see if the Padster elevates what an iPad bag can be to a new level or joins the rest of them in the land of what-could-have-been.
The Padster Original is the first offering from fledgling company Padster Bags. There were 4 goals that founder Barry Abernethy and his team wanted to meet with their initial offering: easy access, “goldielocks” form factor, classic styling, and quality materials and construction.
The Padster iPad bag comes in a protective shipping pouch and looks and feels outstanding when opened. The bag’s flap is done up in full grain leather as are the corners, strap mounts, and zipper pulls. The bulk of the bag is made from ballistic nylon with a cotton blend lining on the inside. The strap mounts, adjustment, and rivets are attractive brushed metal as are the zipper movements (I just made that term up). The actual iPad pouch is soft neoprene for the screen side, and the cotton blend for the aluminum back. The whole package reeks of quality unlike most bags which reek only of chemicals.
The Padster’s classic minimalist styling gives way to a slew of function on the inside. There is an internal zippered pouch, with 2 more on the outside, 3 large internal pouches, 4 pen pouches, a leather card holder, the neoprene iPad pouch, and the large main pocket. I was estatic to find that my 14″ laptop fits comfortably inside the main pocket along with my iPad while still leaving enough room for accessories. Even if Apple cancels the iPad tomorrow the Padster will be able to be repurposed, something that can’t be said for the other man-bag-purses on the market. Couple that with the build quality and it’s easy to see the Padster being used for many years.
The form factor is that of a laptop bag with the addition of the neoprene iPad pouch. That fact I feel is one of the strengths of the product. Too often iPad bags are single purpose products designed to fit just the iPad and nothing else placing the bag squarely into the man-bag-purse realm. This leaves a lot of functionality, not to mention the charger, the bluetooth keyboard, and any other accessories, on the table and at home.
We here are iPad Accessories love what Padster has done with the concept of an iPad bag: take a proven form factor, a laptop bag, add in a protective pouch for the iPad, then kill it with quality materials and style it to last longer than the gadgets it will hold. So what’s the downside? We’ll just come out and say it’s the price. At $165 the Padster isn’t the most affordable iPad bag on the market. But Padster Bags does make a great case for spending that kind of money. The build quality is top notch, the classic minimalist styling is sure to stay fashionable, and even if the iPad is an iPhad, the bag will remain useful far into the future. It’s tough to imagine another iPad bag getting as many things right as does the Padster Original. It can be purchased directly from Padster Bags here.