STM Medium Loft Review (LOTS of picts!)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by inlimbo, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. inlimbo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #1
    I have been looking for a suitable laptop bag now (on and off) for a few months. As you probably know it is a torturous process. There are soo many bags. But the other day I made an impulse buy on a STM Medium Loft - CHOC/ORANGE shoulder bag. It set me back $75AUD. I really happy with it so I thought I would stick up a review (hopefully it is useful).

    Previously I just put my PB into my Crumpler School Hym (which is great by the way - see a great review here ) and put that in a standard school backpack. The backpack is great because no-one knows you have your lappy in there. But Im sick of using it because it encourages me to take heaps of crap (books and notes) to uni that I don't need. So I wanted a smaller bag so that I wouldnt take as much crap to uni.


    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Review: STM Medium Loft Bag in Chocolate/Orange.

    As you can see from the picks this is a shoulder bag but it sits vertically rather than horizontal. I dont know if this is a good or a bad thing. Your laptop sits in the pocket with the ports on the side facing upwards (if that makes sense). It comes with a padded adjustable shoulder strap with a detatchable mobile/cell phone pocket.

    laptop space:
    35.1 x 25.9 x 4.6 cm
    13.8 x 10.2 x 1.8 inches

    Pockets:
    This bag is great because it has a number of large and handy pockets. There is a pocket at the back and one one the front so u have quick access to them. They are very big and so you can put the newspaper in there. I put my wallet and my earphones in the front pocket and put any readings I have to do on the train in the rear pocket.

    On the inside there are 4 pockets:
    * laptop pocket (no zipper covered by velcro flap): for the laptop - see below.
    * big pocket (no zipper but covered by velcro flap): same height but not as wide as the laptop pocket (you could probably fit your PB in there). Designed for books/notepad/magazines etc... It is quite big - in the pictures below I stuck a few Macworld mags in there. It can fit a lot in there.
    * smaller zipper pocket: smaller pocket for your power brick, cables, iPod.
    * little pocket (no zipper): I stick my pens in there. In the phots below I have my iPod in there.

    Durability:
    Although I have only had it for a week Im sure it will last me a long time. The hinges on the shoulder strap and the bag are made from some type metal ("rust proof satin finish metal fittings" apparently) and not plastic like a lot of bags. So they wont snap.

    The outside of the bag is made out of 200D textured polyester. Whatever that it? But it looks tough to me. It is very very unlikely to rip.

    Padding: Most important issue.
    A lot of bags don't have padding on the base of the bag. So when u put the bag on the ground it is likely to give your precious Powerbook/iBook a bit of a jolt. The base is also more likely to wear if there is no padding and one day your lappy will fall through! :eek:

    The Loft bag has padding on the base (thankfully)! It is hard to measure how much but trust me there is more than enough. Its about a quarter inch thick (maybe?) of thick sqyuishy sort of material (that will absorb any shock). On the outside the base is a sort of synthetic leather type of material. So its unlikely to wear.

    The pocket where the laptop sits is padded on all sides with a similar type of material. My 15" Powerbook fits in there comfortably with little room to bounce around. The inside of the pocket is made out of high density cotton webbing. It is nice and smooth and won't scratch your 'Book.

    If you are a paranoid android:
    I also own a Crumpler School Hymn for my PB and I noticed that it will fit in the laptop pocket. Its a tight fit though (but i dont think it will harm/stretch the bag). So if you are extra cautious you could put your PB in the Crumpler School Hymn and then put that in the laptop pocket of the Loft. I think that is an overkill though.

    Difference between STM Medium Loft and STM Medium Alley:
    I emailed STM before I purchased the bag and got a quick responce from Adina who said:
    "The m.loft fits the 15" PowerBook perfectly. The m.alley also fits it,
    but the m.loft is a slightly better fit. Both have the same amount of
    padding."
    If you look at the STM website you will see the dimensions are slightly different between the bags. The Loft is much more stylish though. :p

    Cons:
    My only cons are that u can't really fit any textbooks in it. It will fit one normal sized textbook but wont fit 2 or a big textbook (like a law book). Im a uni student so thats a little annoying - so I will just have to carry any textbooks in my hand. But I did buy it so it would discourage me from taking too much unnessesary junk to uni.

    Similarly, there isn't anywhere to put a drink bottle. I always take a bottle of water with me to uni each day. So again I will just have to carry it.

    Otherwise Im very happy with it! Questions welcomed!

    Images: Apologies for image quality - just got a digital camera but don't know how to use it :eek:
    1) Front with zipper pocket open.
    2) Base of bag.
    3) Inside of bag showing two pockets. Big pocket for laptop and second pocket for book/documents/papers/whatever.
    4) Rear of bag with zipper pocket open.
    5) Powerbook sitting snugly in laptop pocket.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #2
    More pictures!

    1) Flap closed hiding pockets.
    2) Flap opened showing pockets.
    3) Laptop pocket containing crumpler school hymn and second pocket holding a couple of magazines.
    3) How much junk can u fit in a laptop bag? More than enough - Crumpler School Hymn (with PB), magazines, powerbrick, bluetooth mouse, iPod.
    4) Crumpler School Hymn in laptop pocket.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. r6girl Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #3
    excellent review & pics! thanks for posting this! i only have a backpack to carry around my work laptop (also a 15" powerbook) and have been thinking about getting a messenger-style bag. this one looks like it will fit the bill...

    marianne
     
  4. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #4
    No worries Marianne. Glad it helped. Its a good bag if all you basically need is something to carry ur PB in with a few extra bits and pieces. Its not big or cumbersome. I like the way its sits vertically unlike the other messanger bags because its not as awkward to carry. Plus it doesn't look like a laptop bag! I took to uni and my friends said "nice bag". Then I opened it up and they said "its got ur laptop in there?" So thats definately a plus.

    Cheers
    inlimbo...
     
  5. LaMerVipere macrumors 6502a

    LaMerVipere

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    Jan 19, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    #5
    oooh I like it, for once a laptop bag that doesn't look hideous :D
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    It *is* pretty...I wish it came in more colors and cloths, à la Acme.... But then again, who am I kidding? I bought a Tucano secondskin because it wasn't terribly ugly, and it cost $20 while the comparable Acme skins were more like $100.... Sigh. Diane von Furstenburg or someone like her needs to get in notebook bag making. :D Preferably a bag that matches my DvF luggage. ;)
     
  7. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    #7
    Oh man, I just looked online and the price was not bad at all!
    I was expecting for my jaw to drop straight through my trackpad! haha.

    Too bad I don't really take my PB anywhere. :( I'd LOVE an excuse to get a sweet bag like that.. :D :D
     
  8. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    #8
    USA?

    Ok, I love the bag, but I looked up all the information and I'm having a rather hard time finding a US retailer that sells that specific bag. According to STM, the Loft was released in the US April 30, but I can't find it anywhere.

    Anyone see anything?
     
  9. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #9
    Given that the exchange rate is in your favour you could probably buy it here (Australia) and it wont be that expensive.

    Here are a couple of Aussie dealers: 2nd link is really cheap.
    http://www.laptopbags.com.au/produc...tegory=LAPTOPBAGS&subcategory=LT_SHOULDER_BAG
    http://www.digitalhome.com.au/MobileEntertainment/CarryBags/STM/Loft_Shoulder_Bag,_Medium/929
    http://www.streetwise.com.au/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=7&products_id=3217
    http://www.macmall.com.au/mall/customer/home.php?cat=397

    Just 'google' it im sure you will find it somewhere. Or contact STM and ask them.
     
  10. r6girl Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #10
    i think you'd have a hard time getting to see it in person at a store, if that's what you're looking for. if you're just looking to buy it outright, one of the links for north american distributors on the stm site is radtech: http://www.radtech.us/Products/Luggage.aspx

    marianne
     
  11. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    #11
    hey, that's great! I'm 90% sure I'll order tonight!

    a lot less expensive than I would have thought as well...
     
  12. moschata macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    I went for the STM Profile Bag. It doesn't use velcro like most of the other STM bags and the bag itself is sturdier. I picked mine up from the Scholar's Workstation at UC Berkeley.
     
  13. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    #13
    well if that floats your boat, but I really like the look and quick access that the loft provides.

    to each his own...
     
  14. r6girl Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #14
    well, i just got my stm loft a few days ago and so far, so good! it was less expensive than i was expecting, and it's working quite well to tote my 15" around at work and to/from work and home. no major issues for me except for the fact that the bag looks a little lumpy with the power adapter in the zippered pocket underneath the front flap, since there is no extra material or crease/pleats to allow for expansion. i could use the pocket right in front of the laptop section for the power adapter, but then i'd have a hard time putting my notebook and folders in that section. guess i'm just used to my crumpler weebee for my 12" where the outside pocket has some give that doesn't make it bulge out too much when the adapter is there.

    and i wish it were available in other color combinations... :p

    small gripes only - a very good bag overall!

    marianne
     
  15. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 29, 2005
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    Sydney, Australia
    #15
    Thanks great!

    My only gripe is the metal adjustment thing on the strap. When Im running for the train and have quite a bit of stuff in the bag, the metal adjustment thingo slips down so that the strap is at full length. Probably should just not carrying so much stuff.
     
  16. cooknwitha macrumors 6502a

    cooknwitha

    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #16
    Great review!

    I've been checking out the STM bags and they are by far the best laptop bags around. Stylish, practical and reasonably priced. Yay for a good Aussie company.

    When the time comes that I finally get a laptop, I was considering the Loft or Alley. But after your review, I'm heading more towards the Loft. Lots of pockets!!! I love a bag with hidey-holes.
     
  17. iAdamMpls macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    #17
    Thank you for the review!!!

    Like many of us out here, I too have spent countless hours online, searching for the perfect bag for my soon to be delivered MacBook Pro. For weeks now I have been looking, trying to have a bag ready when the new notebook arrives.

    I was looking for something that was in between a sleeve and a medium size bag, that doesn't really look like a laptop bag, and stylish. I just want to carry with me the computer, the bigger powerbrick, an Airport Express, and a couple of small cables. There is NOTHING out there like that, till perhaps now?

    I had settled on two cases:
    MacCase: Sling http://www.mac-case.com/MacCase Slings.htm About the same price but looks a little too sporty.

    Booq: The PowerSleeve L http://www.booqbags.com/Detail.bok?no=431 Now this thing looks awesome, but the price just seems high, ( I know I know, how much are our computers, right?) Also, I am unconvienced by the photos that the pockets are big enough to hold the basic accesories, like the powerbrick and Express.

    Now I think this Loft bag may take the cake. It appears like its thin, but allows for the extra goodies. It is some $40 cheaper than the Booq, granted the Booq quality is high.

    This is driving me crazy! Many others too all over the web are in a simular boat. I'll be pointing them all here. Thanks for the great review!!

    QUESTION!! Would it be possible for you to take another pic or two for all the world to see. I am interested in how big it looks, but there is nothing in your fabulous pics that give it some scale. Otherwise thank you!!
     
  18. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 29, 2005
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    Sydney, Australia
  19. Miles Davis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    #19
    How about the Small Loft for 13" MB?

    Does anyone have the small Loft? They say it fits the 13" MacBook, but I wonder how tight it is. I have been debating bags for a while. I'd really like a Waterfield (www.sfbags.com) or Tom Bihn (www.tombihn.com), but both are pretty expensive compared to the STM. Apple Store in NH, USA only carries the Medium...
     
  20. Xander562 macrumors 68000

    Xander562

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    Apr 2, 2006
    #20
    wow thanks for the post. i really like the look of these bags. i might just have to buy one.
     
  21. joebells macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    #21
    I know this is an old post but I am wondering what the inside were the laptop sits is like? More specifically is it a soft fabric material or is it that nylon stuff that seems like it would scratch the crap out of my macbook? I'm trying to find a nice bag that has a velvet or fur type lining and all the ones that do aren't that protective.

    I really do want a brenthaven but it looks like the inside of their bags are just that scratchy nylon or whatever it is.
     
  22. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    #22
    I have the Alley and it's the nylon. It's not scratchy at all, however, and I don't think you would ever have to worry out it causing damage. Been using mine for a year and it's in prime condition.
     
  23. falcon1 macrumors regular

    falcon1

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Location:
    Georgia
    #23
    I'm about to order a travel case for my 15.4 MBP, do I need a sleeve for the inside of the case of is it ok just to put it in the case and get on a plane?
     
  24. joebells macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2005
    #24
    that nylon just seems so rough textured, how can it not scratch a macbook though, those things pick up scratches like its nobodies business.

    Thanks for the reply
     
  25. inlimbo thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #25
    Nup its fine without a sleeve. You don't need one. I never use one, I just put it in the photo for the hell of it (I was a bit paranoid when I first got my PB I guess)
     

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