You Could Carry Every Gadget You Own In iHome’s Smart Brief Bag, But I Wouldn’t [Review]

Ihome smart brief 1

When iHome designed their Smart Brief computer bag ($99), they had the good idea to create a product with pockets for all of today’s modern-day computing devices and accessories. Problem is, like every good idea turned product, execution is everything, and that’s where the Smart Brief starts to get a little lackluster.

The Good

Macbook Pro, iPad, chargers, headphones, iPhones, pens, pencils—there’s literally nothing in iHome’s Smart Brief (SB) computer bag that doesn’t get its own pocket. It’s quite a modern bag actually, with pockets for just about every current-day gadget you could possibly ever want to carry, including magnet-sealed pouches for chargers, cables, and headphones.

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I found the Smart Brief’s computer pockets well-padded and nicely lined, too.

Macbook Pro, iPad, chargers, headphones, iPhones, pens, pencils — there’s literally nothing in iHome’s bag that doesn’t get its own pocket.

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With a soft grey “fur” lining each sleeve and plenty ‘o padding, I bet you could drop the SB and have your precious Apple cargo come out unscathed.

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Fly a lot? Smart Brief has a quick-access pocket for a Macbook (up to 15 inches) that’ll get your notebook ready for security right quick.

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Also particularly useful is the dedicated smartphone pocket on the front of the bag. It worked great for quickly stowing and retrieving my iPhone when I didn’t want to have it in my pocket, and it’s nice to have when your hands are full and you need to quickly stash something.

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So handy!

The Bad

So why wouldn’t I want to use this bag?

Well first, its dedicated charger pocket didn’t fit my 15-inch Macbook Pro’s charger. Whoops. If you have a Macbook Air or a Pro with a smaller power brick, yours might fit fine, but for a bag made to carry MacBooks up 15.6 inches, I found the oversight annoying.

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Every 4 out of 5 uses the the zippers would hang or stall.

Most of all, though, I couldn’t get over how low-quality the bag felt. The zippers felt thin and flimsy, and 4 out of 5 times they would hang or stall when opened and closed.

The bag’s inner materials also felt thin and sub-par, with crooked stitching and hanging threads only adding to the ambiance.

Wrapping up my grievances are the bag’s thinly-padded shoulder strap and neoprene-wrapped handles. When fully loaded, this bag can get heavy, and with only a bit of thin neoprene to cushion the weight, it can get uncomfortable quick. The handles work fine, they just look like they’re fashioned from an old wetsuit and shouldn’t for a bag in this price range.

The Verdict

If you’re like the Woz and carry all your gadgets with you when you travel, and if you’re not a quality-hound like me, you actually might like iHome’s Smart Brief. Some of my friends I showed it to said I was being too picky. The premise of the bag is definitely a good one, but as I mentioned earlier, its execution in craftsmanship makes it hard to recommend, especially for someone with a 15-incher like me [that's enough of that filthy talk -- Ed].

Cult of Mac rating: Poor

Related
  • BoloMK34

    Any chance you can recommend a GOOD bag for those of us that are road warriors?

  • tykj90

    A bag that will hold all of my Apple gear is exactly what I am looking for. If this bag doesn’t fit the bill, which one does?

About the author

Erfon ElijahErfon Elijah is the producer and host of The CultCast. When not editing podcasts or watching Mrs. Doubtfire, you’ll find him on Xbox Live hunting Black Ops II foes like the Predator. Here are his tweets...

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