Review: Jill-e Designs E-GO Metro Tablet Bag
Although there aren't as many options today as we otherwise might have guessed, female-focused iPad bags are certainly growing in popularity. Over the past year, we've seen everything from the great Speck A-Line Bag to less impressive options such as Skooba's Harmony Satchel and Versetta's Angela. Jill-e Designs' new E-GO Metro Tablet Bag ($129) is the smallest we've seen so far; at 8" by 10.5" by 1.5", it's closer to a purse in size than some of the large, tote-sized bags we have seen so far, and just happens to have a dedicated spot inside for an iPad or iPad 2.
Though the edges have a somewhat unfinished roughness that detracts from the bag’s beauty, E-GO Metro is otherwise a very nice-looking, -smelling, and -feeling genuine leather bag. Unlike most of the thin, flat leather cases we commonly test, this leather is textured and supple, with attractive brushed metal accents, such as a logo badge that doubles as a magnetic snap to hold the front flap shut. On the back is a small zippered pocket that’s perfect for quick access items like a wallet or keys. An adjustable one-inch leather strap can be worn on one shoulder or across the body, with a sliding pad providing some extra comfort. It’s not removable, but the glue holding the strap onto the body of our review unit was coming off a bit at the top, on both sides.
Opening the front flap reveals two pockets: one is a general holder sewn onto the front of the bag, and the other makes up the body. It’s here that there’s room for either generation of iPad; the loose size allows for compatibility with some cases and/or Apple’s Smart Cover. The pocket is padded, and holds the tablet in place with a Velcro strap, a simple but effective design. That section of the bag also has room for thin books or notebooks, but because it’s a rather tight fit, we wouldn’t suggest loose accessories because they may be difficult to fish out.
There’s not much else to say, but that’s not a bad thing in this case. E-GO Metro Tablet Bag comes across as a vertical messenger bag designed specifically to replace a purse and carry an iPad: it’s not huge, and it’s practical for everyday use. We appreciate the nice materials that Jill-e used, which really add to the visual and tactile appeal, though the rough edges and glue issue strike us as issues that will need to be fixed in later production runs. While the price is higher than other bags, the real leather counts for something; the same bag under a better-known brand name would sell without a question. In the future, we’d like to see some manufacturing improvements, as well as a version with more segmented pockets, making it easier to hold and quickly access pens, chargers, cables, and the like. As it is, E-GO Metro Tablet Bag merits our general recommendation.