If you put a laptop in a bag, would that make it a “laptop bag”?
I’ve been using a bag that I purchased along with my first Chromebook about a year ago. The bag is a nice bag and it does have a “laptop pocket,” but the bag really was not created with tech users in mind. I needed something else. I wasn’t really actively looking for something else, but then I found STM Bags. STM sent me two of their bags to test out.
Let me begin by saying that STM (Standard Technical Merchandise) understands tech. STM was founded in 1998 by an IT department worker that couldn’t find a suitable laptop bag, so he created his own.
I have to admit, I don’t have much experience with laptop bags. Other than the bag mentioned in the second paragraph, I also have a bag that I still have from my very first laptop, which basically, held the laptop and a few accessories. The STM bags blow that bag out of the water.
The first bag STM sent me is the STM Sequel. The Sequel is a messenger shoulder laptop bag. There are two sizes. The “small” is intended for laptops up to 13” and the “medium” is intended for up to 15”. There is no “large.” FedEx arrived with the Sequel right as I was about to walk out the door for a meeting. I quickly opened the package and loaded the Sequel with my Acer C720 and just a few other items and headed to my meeting. One of the people riding with me to the meeting saw my bag and commented on what a nice bag it was. I don’t often get people stopping to comment on a computer bag. Maybe it’s because deep down inside, they really wanted a Sequel too.
Let’s go through the Sequel, starting from the outside. On the back of the bag, there is a strap intended to be used to place your bag on the handle of your luggage cart. There is an outside, document pocket. I would use this pocket to put files and papers you wish to access quickly. You can also use this pocket for when someone hands you something as you’re about to walk out the door and don’t have time to deal with it at that moment. Inside this document pocket is a cell phone pocket, so that you can have quick access to your phone without having to open any compartments on the bag.
Next is a carry handle. Just one handle is provided and I don’t think that’s a disadvantage. The straps on this bag seem very strong, like seat belt material, and they’re sewn in place and not meant to go anywhere.
Before we look at the front pockets, I wanted to mention the shoulder strap. The strap is also the “seat belt” type strap with an adjustable shoulder pad. There is a quick release to adjust the length of the strap. The strap has an anti-tangle swivel and a release so that you can remove the strap and just use the carry handle. There are no side pockets on the Sequel, like there are on the Trust (reviewed below).
The front of the bag has a zippered pocket that can be accessed without opening the bag. This padded pocket is great for slipping in your sunglasses and/or phone. I was able to fit both my glasses (in their case) and a “point and shoot” camera in the pocket. The zipper on this pocket is just like the rest of the bag and high quality. Most zippers on other bags and cases look almost decorative compared to the zipper on the Sequel and the Trust.
There’s a quick release clasp on the front of the bag. Just under the clasp is a reflective strip. The strip is just enough to catch the eye of anyone looking at just the right time. I feel that if there’s going to be a reflective stip, then it needs to be noticeable. The strip needs to be a little larger and noticeable. Above the release are three loops. These loops can be used to attach something to the outside of the bag, such as a carabiner hooked to a water bottle.
To get to the inside of the bag, just squeeze the quick release clasp and then flip the bag open to reveal pockets!
Working backward from the front of the bag, there are three pockets. The outside pocket would be where you can keep a few USB cables and a wall plug adapter for plugging in your phone to charge. You could possible fit your laptop charger, depending on the size of the power brick. There are a few pockets here for pens and other small items. I was able to fit my Anker external battery in one of these pockets. You can also put business cards in these pockets. There’s also a key clip.
Behind this pocket is a large pocket. You can use this pocket for a binder or to keep papers and folders. There are two other pockets that can also hold a few small items, such as business cards or note cards. You can see how this bag was made for a tech person. There are pockets for everything!
Speaking of pockets, next comes a tablet pocket. This pocket is padded and my Nexus 10 fit nice and snug. If this pocket was a tad larger, it probably could accommodate an Acer C720.
Last pocket on our tour is the laptop pocket. This pocket is also padded, My HP Chromebook 14 slipped right in.
The bottom of the bag has thick padding and will protect the bag and its contents when the bag is placed on a hard surface.
This is an excellent bag. I would recommend it as a “grab and go” bag. Just grab the bag and go. 🙂
The Sequel is available from Amazon. The suggested retail price of both the small and medium is $79.95. The Sequel is available in graphite, red, and olive.
Next up is the Trust. The Trust also comes in a “small” and “medium” like the Sequel, however, it is a larger capacity bag. If you think the Sequel had lots of pockets, wait until you see the Trust!
Many of the features of the Trust are similar to the Sequel. I will highlight the main differences between the bags.
One thing that’s noticed immediately is that the Trust has two quick release clasps on the front of the bag versus the one release on the Sequel. The quick access pocket is on the front of the bag flap. The quick access pocket is padded, just like on the Sequel, but there are also two additional pockets. I was able to fit my glasses and camera in here, but also there’s room to put my cell phone in one of these extra pockets.
The bag also has two side pockets. I slipped my umbrella in one pocket and a bottle of water in the other pocket. I should note that the water bottle I used was a half a liter. I don’t think anything bigger than that would fit. Both pockets also have a cinch strap you can tighten to keep the contents in place.
The main laptop pocket is accessible by unzipping the main section. You do not have to open the flap like you do on the Sequel. Like the Sequel, this pocket is spacious. I have the medium bag for both the Sequel and the Trust. Notice how many pockets I’ve mentioned and we haven’t even opened the bag.
After opening both quick release clasps and flipping open the bag, yep, you guessed it, there are more pockets! There’s the padded tablet pocket, then there’s a main compartment where you would be able to fit a few binders and another section for, well, just more stuff!
Guess what? There’s more! Unzip the compartment at the front of the bag and there are pockets! There’s a main compartment, then pen and pencil pockets, two smaller pockets for something like business cards, but I was able to fit my Anker external battery. There’s also the key clip. This compartment also has a zippered see through pouch. I’m keeping a few things, like aspirin, travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and flash drives.
Look at the photos below and you can see what I was able to fit into each bag.
The Sequel was able to fit: an HP Chromebook 14, Acer C720 (in the black Amazon sleeve), Nexus 10, spiral bound booklet (for a class I was taking), glasses (in case), pocket camera, portfolio, pens, screwdriver, tape measure, USB flash drives, Moto X 2013, Anker external battery, earbuds (in pouch), microfiber cloth, and a few USB cables.
The Trust was able to fit all the above items, plus: charger for Acer C720 (I’m looking forward to getting a Dart), Anker portable Bluetooth speaker, umbrella, bottle of water, travel size toothbrush and toothpaste, and medicine. There was still room for a lot more in the Trust. I probably could have fit a little more in the Sequel with some creative packing.
I called the Sequel a “grab and go” bag, so the Trust is a “grab EVERYTHING and go” bag.
I would categorize the Trust as being a commuter bag. If you want to be prepared and have anything you’ll ever need, then this is the bag for you.
The Trust comes in small and medium and has a suggested retail price of $129.95 for both size bags. The Trust is available in graphite, red, and olive.
One thing that is missing from both bags is hook and loop material. I’m glad STM does not use hook and loop (at least not on these bags). Some bags use hook and loop to secure pockets and other areas. Hook and loop does serve a purpose, however, over time, the “hook” attracts other material and it just gets stuck in there and the “loop” gets “fuzzy” from repeated pulling it apart to open that section.
STM also includes with their bags a tag from a company called RewardTag. Basically, RewardTag is a service that assists in recovery of misplaced items. I go into more detail about RewardTag here.
These bags are awesome. If STM wants the bags back, they may have to send Guido and Vinny to retrieve them.