At a Glance
- Custom pouch designed just for iPad
- Exceptional manufacturing quality and style
- Zippered compartments protect everything
- Ample storage for documents, books, Apple keyboard
- Large if you want the compact iPad lifestyle
- Strap is not padded
Excellent construction, top-notch style, and ample storage space make this a great option for anyone who needs to carry an iPad and lots of extras.
The $165 Padster, a messenger-style bag for your iPad, is aimed squarely at premium bag aficionados and anyone who finds themselves in a suit between the hours of nine and five (or six, or seven…). The bag exudes style and professionalism, and I almost felt a little odd taking it for a spin wearing a polo and jeans. Almost.
The Padster boasts construction of “soft-milled, full-grain cowhide” and high-density nylon. The main compartment is zippered, with a thinner zippered compartment on the front and a leather flap that covers it all. Polished details, such as tight nylon stitching, reinforced leather corners, and leather pulls on the zippers, bolster the premium feel.
Inside the main compartment is a stretchy, neoprene pouch designed just for your iPad. In fact, the pouch is stretchy in just the right way that it will even fit an iPad enclosed in Apple’s iPad Case (and, presumably, similarly thin, form-fitting cases). Various other pockets hold your iPhone, digital camera, pens, ID, and other trinkets, while the main compartment has a ton of room for magazines, books of most sizes, Apple’s keyboard, and more.
In fact, the Padster’s main compartment is large enough to comfortably fit a 13-inch MacBook in its own neoprene sleeve. This means that the overall case is about the size of a typical notebook messenger bag, and weighs about as much, too (just over two pounds). The Padster site explains that the bag is “small enough that you’ll take it everywhere, and big enough that you’ll have what you need when you get there.” That about sums it up—it’s a case for people who love and use their iPad for all sorts of business and pleasure throughout the day, but ultimately cannot live by iPad alone.
I have few complaints about the Padster. The one glaring issue I see is the flaky excess length on the main compartment’s zipper. It basically trails off the end of the main compartment and hangs around, begging to be tucked into the space between the compartment and the outer wall of the bag where the strap is bolted. (Our review unit is literally the first production model, so it’s possible the company many address this in the future.)
The Padster is easily the best-built case out of my initial crop for review, and features excellent construction, great attention to detail, and ample storage. The real question is whether a bag this large is necessary for your iPad lifestyle.