For many women, a handbag is simply not large enough to hold today’s necessities, especially as notebook computers and iPads have become increasingly important. To address contemporary needs, Skooba created Harmony Satchel ($100), which it claims is “designed by women, for the way women really work and travel.” Harmony Satchel is a more feminine alternative to a backpack or messenger bag, larger than a purse and capable of holding virtually everything a woman might need.
Measuring 14.5 inches long, 12 inches high, and 5 inches deep, Harmony Satchel has plenty of space inside. The exterior and shoulder strap are made of a shiny faux leather, while the front facing design elements and interior lining are nylon. Inside the main compartment are five pockets of varying sizes, the largest of which can hold an iPad or iPad 2, with or without of a case. Because this bag was designed to accommodate either an iPad or a netbook, the pocket is quite a bit larger than Apple’s tablet, leaving a lot of room for the device to move around while being transported, with very little padding. That aside, the sheer amount of storage space and the variety of other pockets make the bag quite useful for carrying a wallet, accessories, or whatever else you may have on hand.
Additional pockets are located on the front flap, directly beneath that flap on the main body, and on the back. Inside, there are three plastic windows to hold pictures or cards, and a magnet to hold the bag shut. We weren’t totally blown away by the materials for the price. Skooba’s faux leather looks inexpensive—worthy of a sub-$60 price tag—and the metal elements such as the the zipper and shoulder strap buckles felt a little thin and cheap. Real leather and better metal, as well as the addition of a reinforced bottom to keep the bag from tipping over, would make the cost easier to bear. On the other hand, we did like the zipper across the top, which provides quick access into the Harmony Satchel without having to undo the magnetic latch.
Ultimately, Skooba’s Harmony Satchel is a good idea with less than stellar execution. Currently, there is not much that sets this bag apart from any other oversized purse save for the iPad-specific marketing, which is somewhat undone by the baggy netbook-friendly compartment. Our C rating reflects our belief that Harmony Satchel isn’t a bad bag, but is simply overpriced for what it is, and could stand to be either less expensive or more iPad-focused, if not both.
Company and Price
Company: Skooba Design
Model: Harmony Satchel
Compatible: iPad (2010), iPad 2