I’ve had the pleasure of using the HEX 13-inch Recon Messenger Bag ($80) for the last couple of weeks. We at Cult of Mac love bags, and I was excited to try such a good-looking messenger bag for my MacBook.
The HEX Recon differs from many bags in its class by offering a pouch specifically designed for holding and offering quick access to an iPad. With it’s top-notch build quality and minimal design, the Recon bag is an attractive option for everyday use.
The Recon’s build quality is incredible. You’ll be hard pressed to find a bag in the same price category that feels as durable and well-made. I was struck by how nice the stitching felt. The bag is slim, well designed, and fairly durable. It’s probably not going to completely save your MacBook Pro from a 6-foot drop (I didn’t personally try), but it will keep your precious cargo safe from typical bangs and scruffs that bags go through on a daily basis.
I used the khaki flavor of the Recon, and I really like the bag’s colors. The green and brown goes together very nicely and doesn’t stand out too much in public. I’m a huge fan of the faux-leather accents hanging from the zippers. REX also sells a charcoal color of the Recon.
This bag is very minimal. It’s not your all-in-one type of carrying case with tons of compartments and silly holders for your earbuds. There’s a flat document compartment on the back of the bag’s outside and that’s it in terms of outwards-facing pockets. On the inside of the bag you have a divider for your MacBook. Small accessories and paper could easily be fit in the other side of that divider. There are also some small pouches along the wall of the bag’s inside for holding pens, index cards, etc.
The Recon isn’t heavy at all, as it only weighs 16 oz. It’s a very attractive, sleek bag for housing your essential needs: a MacBook and iPad.
HEX attempts to set the Recon apart with a dedicated iPad holder under the cover flap. At first glance, this part of the bag appears to be very functional. If you want to carry your iPad around with you, why not have a pouch for it in your messenger bag that allows quick access?
The iPad holder in the Recon makes perfect sense conceptually, but I believe that the feature is poorly executed on the bag itself. The idea is that you slide your iPad into a thin frame holder and snap it in with velcro. You have quick access to the iPad’s screen when you look under the cover flap. The flap itself that protects your iPad’s precious screen is made of cushioned material, but it’s not enough to make me feel comfortable walking around with my iPad’s screen basically exposed to the world. One major bump against a wall and your screen is cracked.
Actually placing the iPad into the Recon’s holder isn’t exactly a quick process, and you’ll need to take your iPad out of its case every time you want to mount it in your bag. I honestly don’t know why I would want my iPad mounted inside my messenger bag in the first place; a simple pouch for stuffing the iPad in the side of the bag would be much more efficient.
I don’t understand the value of the Recon’s iPad holder, but that’s the only main problem I have with the bag.
The HEX Recon Messenger Bag is a very attractive, minimal option for someone who only needs to travel with the essentials. You’re probably not going to want to take it on your week-long business trip, but it’s the perfect bag for carrying around to your campus or local coffee shop.
For only $80, the Recon offers superb quality at a reasonable price. You can order a bag for your 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook on the HEX website.