capsule review

Timbuk2 Slingshot Netbook Case

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At a Glance
  • Timbuk2 Slingshot Netbook Case

Timbuk2's Slingshot is a minimalist bag designed to cart around an iPad, netbook, or e-reader—and not much else. It features some of Timbuk2's signature touches, but not much else.

Inside the main compartment is a half-height stretch pocket for securing your primary cargo. While Timbuk2 advertises the Slingshot as an iPad bag, the pocket isn't designed specifically for the iPad. Still, it offers enough security and coverage to keep an iPad from bouncing around inside the bag. The rest of the main compartment is long and wide enough to fit several magazines or a thin book.

The only other pocket, also about half the height of the bag, is on the front of the Slingshot. It's too small to fit much more than a digital camera, a Moleskine notebook, or a few small travel trinkets. Unfortunately, this pocket provides no interior organization for pens, a mobile phone, or miscellaneous other daily extras—anything you put in the Slingshot's front pocket will bounce around like morsels in a blender.

The Slingshot's exterior is where more of Timbuk2's traditional perks appear. The strap features an adjustable clamp that, while a bit overkill for a bag this small, makes it easy to get exactly the right strap length to keep the Slingshot snug to your back. The ends of the strap sport clever Velcro bits for wrapping up the excess strap slack and keeping it out of your way. The front features a Timbuk2-labeled loop for hooking a carabiner or a bike helmet. And the back of the bag even includes a pass-through slot for securing the Slingshot onto the handle of your carry-on roller.

But despite this bag's useful perks, I'm a bit disappointed by the lack of internal pockets—even for a small bag in this price range—and the fact that the pocket for the iPad lacks real padding and covers only about two-thirds of the iPad. I also found the overall construction quality to be a bit sub-par, especially for a Timbuk2 product: the bag's material feels flimsy, the stitching on our review sample looked haphazard, and the zippers often snagged. If you want an extremely compact case with a little more compartmentalization, you're better off spending a little more on the Cocoon Harlem for iPad.

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At a Glance
  • This minimal case carries some of Timbuk2's signature charms, such as an adjustable shoulder strap and a loop for hooking a keychain carabiner or bike helmet. But sub-par construction and storage pockets don't do it any favors.

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