Pack your Mac and gear in Ekster’s slim laptop sleeve [Review]

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Ekster Laptop Sleeve review
The Ekster Laptop Sleeve can hold your MacBook and a surprising number of accessories too.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Never carry your MacBook or iPad around “naked,” but a bulky case can be just too much. A laptop sleeve is a compromise, like the one recently released by Ekster. This protects your 13-inch computer, and includes room for a few accessories.

I’ve been using this leather-and-canvas folio for a couple of weeks. Here’s how is stands up to daily use.

Ekster Laptop Sleeve review

A leather flap gives Ekster’s case a professional look, but the rest of the folio is canvas, and a profusion of pockets and webbing makes it look a bit military. Color options include black, brown and green.

Open that leather flap’s magnetic clasp to expose a space easily capable of holding a 13-inch MacBook Pro. A 12.9-inch iPad Pro with keyboard case fits just as well. The Ekster Laptop Sleeve is 14.25 inches by 9.6 inches, so don’t think of trying to squeeze in a 16-inch MacBook.

On the front are a pair of pockets, though they are quite shallow. I put a USB-C cable in one and a Samsung T7 SSD in the other, but they can’t hold anything very thick.

On the back of the Ekster Laptop Sleeve is a slot capable of holding letter-size sheets of paper. It’s an ideal place to hold a meeting agenda, or those slips of paper that people keep handing you when travelling through airports.

You could slide an iPad in this slot if you’re exceptionally brave. Just consider that there’s nothing to keep it from sliding back out but gravity.

Webbing not pockets

Also on the back is a 3-inch wide strip of stretchy webbing divided up into slots. These can hold your Apple Pencil, a pen… even cables. A slot intended for a MacBook charger has webbing at the bottom so it won’t fall through.

While this strap might seem kludgy, it’s really a clever compromise. Most laptop sleeves are too slender to hold these accessories at all. Ekster gives you a way to carry them without making making the case too bulky all the time.

But attaching your cables and charger to the outside of your case is hardly ideal. It’s ugly, and not very secure. But it’s good enough for very occasional use. If you want your charger, etc. with you all the time, this isn’t the case for you.

Ekster Laptop Sleeve
Laptop sleeve’s are traditionally slim, and Ekster’s is. But there’s still a way to carry extra paraphernalia.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Ekster Laptop Sleeve final thoughts

This case is well suited to carry your MacBook or iPad back and forth between home and office or school. Your computer is easily accessible in the Ekster Laptop Sleeve, and the look is good, if not right for everyone.

The external webbing to hold accessories is a nice touch for occasional use.

Pricing

The Ekster Laptop Sleeve is $109. Many rival devices sell for about the same, and while some of them are all leather, they offer no storage for accessories.

Buy from: Ekster

For comparison, look at the Mujjo Sleeve for 13″ MacBook Air & Pro. This sleek case is made from a combination of felt and leather. It sells for $78.

Or there’s the MacBook Leather Sleeve by Woolnut. This is all leather, and has the traditional design with no pockets. It’s €99 (approx. $112). And there’s an iPad Pro version, too.

Picaso Lab has an all-leather MacBook sleeve for $108. There’s also a version for the iPad Pro with keyboard.

Ekster provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.