Given the number of iPad cases that arrive at my door each week for review, you might be surprised that I still buy the things. And a couple of weeks ago when I picked up a natty little felt iPad bag in a local store, I couldn’t believe the price. At just €20 (around $25), it’s a steal.
The bag comes from Italian maker Magistris, and appears to be impossible to find online. The company’s catalog (a PDF, no less) contains the kind of “designer” clocks and stationery usually found in fancy high-street and mall gift stores, so you should probably look there if you want one.
The bag itself is made from felted wool with metal clasps and a cotton strap. Inside is a space perfectly-sized for an iPad (plus a thin case if you like) and two pockets, perfect for a wallet and a cellphone.
This bag is light. As in 215 grams (7.7 ounces). This means that it really weighs nothing in comparison to the iPad, leather Smart Cover, wallet and shitty Samsung phone I keep inside.
It’s also comfortable, with an adjustable strap putting it either high up on your back or down by your hip. It’s pretty good for cycling, too, although the felt could make your back sweaty in the summer.
Access to the contents is quick. The clasps consist of two hollow metal nipples on the main bag, with two “nipple-rings” on the flap. These mate with a click to hold the bag closed, and they open easily with a tug of the flap.
The iPad slides inside and can end up in either of the two sides of the base, which is split (see photo). It really makes no difference which one it’s in, as the split seems to be there only so you can stand the bag up.
Finally, access to the two pockets is good. They sit on on the inner side, the side that rubs against your body, and at first I though this would be annoying. It turns out, though, that it makes the main purpose of the bag – quick access to your iPad – easier.
There is no inside protection from the metal nubbins, and as they are used for both the clasps and to hold the pockets in place, you might want to cover them with tape. In practice, I haven’t seen any scratched to the rear of my iPad. I would certainly shy away from putting the iPad in without a screen cover, though.
The two pockets, although perfectly-sized for my phone and wallet, don’t leave anywhere for your keys. I have taken to putting them under my wallet, which works out ok. On the one hand, I’d like a little more space in there. On the other, the whole point is minimalism.
The flap is the last annoyance. The light weight of the felt means that the flap isn’t weighty enough to hold itself closed without the clasps. This means that you have to snap it shut if you don’t want to walk around with an open bag (and in Barcelona, you don’t want to walk around with an open bag).
For $25, this bag is a no-brainer: Buy it if you like the style (and if you can find one). If you keep your wallet and phone in your pants pockets, then this bag even has space for a small keyboard case along with the iPad, making it just about the smallest portable office ever.
Otherwise, it’s a bit of a squeeze, and aesthetics win over practicality. But what do you expect? It’s from Italy, the home of Ferraris and espresso machines that look like 1950s Cadillacs.