The world may have had a preview of the latest technology at CES in January, but everyone seems to forget about the accessories that accompany these things, like the bags and the cases. Aussie brand STM, though, is giving us a heads up before it launches new gear.
Two products have hit our review desks this week that show a newer and more rugged look for the Australian accessory and bag brand, a company that has been building backpacks, cases, and sleeves for commonly used pieces of mobile technology since around 1998.
One is a new case for the iPad Air, while the other is a bag.
We’ll take the case for a spin first, and that comes in the form of the STM Dux, a ruggedised case for the iPad Air that sports one of those flip covers similar to Apple’s own Smart Cover to get the iPad standing up, but with one less fold crease.
Just like the official iPad Air Smart Cover which is built into a case, the Dux comes with its own form of external casing, but for STM, the material is a rigid clear polycarbonate back with rubberisation around the sides, making the unit easy to grip, and still protecting the back and sides from any sharp jabs or sudden drops.
It’s not the ultimate in iPad ruggedisation, we’ll say that up front, but if you’re a little clumsy, this may help the iPad survive a little more than the official cover from the company.
The cover for the Dux also comes with a magnetic polyurethane clip which basically holds the case down, switching the iPad off for the moment when the screen is covered.
That magnetic clip also helps to make the cover into a stand, too, as when it lines up from behind, creates a magnetic seal and makes it possible for the folded cover to stand up.
Next up is the Trust, a bag that brings with it an almost military or industrial sense of style, while providing padding for the portable technology in your life, including your laptop, tablet, and even one or two phones.
We played with the small edition of the STM Trust, and while it says it’s suited for “most 13 inch screens,” we had no problem fitting our Samsung 15 inch Ultrabook in the bag, so there’s probably a bit of room for small 14 and 15 inch notebooks, as well as the typical 13 inch MacBook Air and Pro models.
Smaller computers can, of course, fit in the slot provided, which has a nice fuzzy felt lining to keep that laptop scratch-free.
There are also plenty of pockets along the inside for all of your bits and pieces, with support for two phones or a couple of media players, plugs, and even a small camera if you so choose.
Big zippers protect some of the pouches, while the main pocket — which also features a dedicated fleece-lined pocket for the iPad or another tablet — is protected by two squeeze clasps, half metal and half plastic, which give off a rugged and very industrial look, aside for keeping everything closed.
The Trust bag is made of a coarse looking fabric, but is lined with something much light gauge, all of which help to make this laptop bag feel light as you carry it, which is handled through a shoulder strap. Our review model was a green khaki, even though our pictures show it up as being closer to grey.
That last part, though, is one area STM might want to tighten up, as the rubber and fabric shoulder strap is pretty light on the padding, so you’ll want to make sure not to pack the Trust bag too much, or risk straining your shoulder.
It’s a good start for the company for 2014, and these two were just a sample of a heavier product line-up that includes several backpack styles, and phone and tablet cases.
Availability for all of these should be within the next few weeks, though, so look for them in stores shortly.