Provides: Touchscreen cleaning to remove fingerprints, oil, and grime
Developer: Acme Made
Compatibility: Up to 17″ MacBook or 16″ PC notebooks
Acme Made’s Clyde St. Messenger mid-size laptop computer bag is not the most compact laptop messenger bag on the market, but the payoff is that it can hold an incredible amount of stuff in addition to the computer. You can really carry an entire portable small office in this bag.
Messenger bags are my favorite laptop case form factor. With both a briefcase handle for convenient short distance toting and a shoulder strap for longer hikes, they can’t be beaten for versatility. The Clyde St.’s carry handle is generously sized, ventilated, and curved for comfort, made from a soft-feeling but rigidly supportive rubbery material.
The shoulder strap is of roughly 2″ wide nylon webbing and is adjustable for length, and it stows neatly when not required. It has a movable shoulder pad measuring roughly 2″ x 12″, is and faced with “sticky” traction material on its contact pad to help keep it from slipping off your shoulder.
The Clyde St.’s outer skin is mainly of Acme Made’s proprietary “Bombshell” technical fabric, which combines a rugged nylon mesh core with a waterproof, durable, and abrasion-resistant synthetic material in a matrix. It’s waterproof, rugged, and highly stain resistant.
The closure flap is secured by two high-strength plastic clips on adjustable nylon webbed tethers. They pop open with a satisfying “ejection” action.
With the flap folded back, one is presented with a medium-sized twin-zip-closure compartment that contains a smaller zip-closure pocket that can accommodate stuff about the size of CDs and DVDs, a laptop power adapter, or a laptop mouse. The facing side of the pocket has a very shallow open pocket that I guess would be good for a USB flash thumb drive, plus three pen/pencil holders. The compartment itself is roomy enough to carry a variety of incidentals such as cables, dongles and so forth.
Moving inward we find a wider pocket that Acme Made calls a “stay-flat” document pocket for carrying important files. They would have to be smallish documents, because the pocket is not wide enough to hold a full-width file folder. On the other hand, I found it perfectly-sized to carry my iPad 2—either by itself or in a sleeve or portfolio case. The pocket/compartment is lined with a smooth and slippery nylon fabric that will be kind to the iPod’s finish (or whatever else you choose to stow in it).
Inboard of that cavern is the Clyde St. Messenger case’s main computer compartment, which is plenty big enough to hold a 17″ MacBook Pro, any smaller Mac laptop, as well as PC laptops of up to 16″ display size.
Actually, as long as your computers aren’t terribly thick, you should have no problem getting two full-sized laptops into the main after compartment of the Clyde St. Messenger, plus an iPad in that middle pocket, although the latter and one of the laptops would then be separated only by a layer of fabric, so you would want them in sleeve cases for extra protection.
I had no problem getting a Pismo PowerBook and an iBook that I had handy inside together, and neither of them is as thin as today’s machines.
The rearmost, designated computer pocket is padded with what feels like 1/4″ closed-cell foam. There is also a Velcro-closure strap to keep the computer securely in place.
If you’re carrying just one computer, which most users will be, you’ll have plenty of room for items such as sneakers, sketchbooks, snacks/lunch, headphones, books or magazines, your iPhone, and plenty more. You’re more likely to limit your carriage by weight rather than running out of capacity.
In summary, the Clyde St. Messenger is the roomiest messenger bag I’ve yet encountered, and without looking or feeling ponderous or excessively bulky. It’s an impressive design achievement. Our test unit in basic black (the only color offered) has a stylish but still businesslike look that should be appropriate for school, casual, or business environments.
Aside from its not-inexpensive price, I can’t think of any reason not to give the Clyde St. Messenger our highest rating. That top quality design, materials and workmanship all tend to command a price premium isn’t something that needs explaining to Apple computer fans.