STM Sequel, finally a light bag for light laptops
April 2014 – The new series of laptops and ultrabooks have the driving characteristic that they are light and thin. The problem is they still have a lot of accessories, cables and are generally carried in a bag. In most cases, while the computers have evolved to being faster, lighter and more powerful, the bags are still the same – heavy, bulky and providing protection with rigidity.
STM has addressed this with their new line of computer bags. We had the chance to test the Sequel shoulder bag. This looks like a standard, traditional horizontal computer bag but it is very different.
We tested the medium bag with a variety of 15.6” laptops and ultrabooks. The bag when empty, was lighter than most of the 3.5-4lbs computer we were testing. Normal leather or cordura nylon bags weigh in at over 5.5lbs, which is a lot when compared to the sub 4lb computers.
The bag has the main pocket for the computer redesigned to accommodate the thin profile of the computers, without the computer flopping around. For ultrabooks that have no optical drive and only SSDs is this is not a big issue, but on standard thin laptops with an Optical drive and a high capacity rotating HDD it makes a difference on the durability.
The bag also provides a storage place for the “new mobile office”. Typically the bags were designed for a computer, a power supply, pens and paper slots for notes. The new bag has holders for a 10” tablet, smart phone, mouse, computer power supply, extra battery and chargers for the mobile devices, headphones, USB thumb drives and space for several connecting cables (USB, HDMI, MHL, etc) to all be stored.
These accessories still all fit along with holding papers, and glasses like a traditional bag. When loaded up the bag can get heavy, but the reality is the ease of packing means, you only need to take what need each time vs storing all the things in the bag all the time.
The bag is quite durable with strong stitching, wide seams, and plenty of cushioning for the electronics. In our simple tests, a “sleeping state” laptop with DVD drive and an HDD survived a fall from the top of a desk on to (A) a chair mat on carpet, (B) linoleum on a wooden sub-floor and (C) tile floor on slab. In all cases, the laptop booted up without any problems. We repeated the same tests with a table in the bag, and both the laptop worked, and there was no damage to the screen on the tablet.
As a nice touch for the traveler, there is a pass through slot so it will stack on a rolling suitcase or luggage cart. To address the high use applications, the bag features aluminum zippers and an aluminum center main clasp to close the bag. Most of the lightweight bags on the market, have plastic zippers and clasps which, while providing light weight, also tend to break with heavy use. The metal closure system is a real plus for the commuter or working professional in a push and bump day to day world.
The bag is a single point carrier for mobile editing stations, recording stations and most self-contained “two screen” rigs for multi-media production. The bag is available in Olive, Graphite and Red.