Booq Boa Push ($89)

Booq wins the prize for pure style in an iPad messenger bag, crafting an immediately eye-catching slim leather-and-twylon over-the-shoulder bag that looks like it's made to go with $300 designer jeans. The problem is, the whole bag's too slim for its own good. An inner iPad compartment comprises nearly the entire bag, and it's a tight fit for iPads in cases (although Apple's slim case works narrowly).

The main inner pocket also has exposed corners on the top and bottom, leaving a naked iPad at risk to a sudden downpour. Similarly, a stylishly sewn front iPhone pocket leaves smartphones too exposed on a subway, and the two slim pockets--one inside, one on the back--are barely large enough for a Moleskin notebook. Forget about carrying any power adapters. It is comfy, though: the seatbelt-nylon strap rests nicely on the shoulder and lies flat on the sides of the bag. Make the Push slightly bigger next time, and we have a winner.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Booq Boa Push ($89)

Booq wins the prize for pure style in an iPad messenger bag, crafting an immediately eye-catching slim leather-and-twylon over-the-shoulder bag that looks like it's made to go with $300 designer jeans. The problem is, the whole bag's too slim for its own good. An inner iPad compartment comprises nearly the entire bag, and it's a tight fit for iPads in cases (although Apple's slim case works narrowly).

The main inner pocket also has exposed corners on the top and bottom, leaving a naked iPad at risk to a sudden downpour. Similarly, a stylishly sewn front iPhone pocket leaves smartphones too exposed on a subway, and the two slim pockets--one inside, one on the back--are barely large enough for a Moleskin notebook. Forget about carrying any power adapters. It is comfy, though: the seatbelt-nylon strap rests nicely on the shoulder and lies flat on the sides of the bag. Make the Push slightly bigger next time, and we have a winner.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

M-Edge Journey Bag ($69)

M-Edge makes a variety of Kindle and iPad cases, and the Journey is one of its few bags. At first glance, it's as sleek and sharp as a form-fitting suit. Available in red, blue, or black, our model looked a bit too metrosexual the more we used it. Even worse, although the zippered compartments inside are quite roomy (the iPad also gets its own padded zippered pocket), the large, stiff front panel is useless--a middle buckle is hard to unsnap on the go, and a lack of front pockets on the interior or outer flaps make this a terrible pedestrian commuter bag. It will, however, look respectable for a job interview.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

M-Edge Journey Bag ($69)

M-Edge makes a variety of Kindle and iPad cases, and the Journey is one of its few bags. At first glance, it's as sleek and sharp as a form-fitting suit. Available in red, blue, or black, our model looked a bit too metrosexual the more we used it. Even worse, although the zippered compartments inside are quite roomy (the iPad also gets its own padded zippered pocket), the large, stiff front panel is useless--a middle buckle is hard to unsnap on the go, and a lack of front pockets on the interior or outer flaps make this a terrible pedestrian commuter bag. It will, however, look respectable for a job interview.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Tom Bihn Ristretto for iPad ($110)

More expensive than most iPad bags, the Ristretto earns its price with well-thought-out design and very practical, roomy pockets. Available in a wide variety of interior/exterior colors (we prefer olive green), the cordura nylon vertical bag holds an iPad in a dedicated sewn-in rear pocket with its own protective fold-over flap that's large enough for a 10-inch Netbook, too.

Another front pocket and several zippered subcompartments can hold an iPhone and far more--on a recent press event we mananged to fit an iPad, an 11.6-inch Netbook, a camera, a USB dock, and our wallet and keys. Multiple rings and clips hold key chains or separately sold zipper wallets. A thick shoulder pad isn't easily adjustable and the metal side buckles are prone to squeaking, but this is the most versatile and non-embarrassing iPad bag we've yet encountered.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Tom Bihn Ristretto for iPad ($110)

More expensive than most iPad bags, the Ristretto earns its price with well-thought-out design and very practical, roomy pockets. Available in a wide variety of interior/exterior colors (we prefer olive green), the cordura nylon vertical bag holds an iPad in a dedicated sewn-in rear pocket with its own protective fold-over flap that's large enough for a 10-inch Netbook, too.

Another front pocket and several zippered subcompartments can hold an iPhone and far more--on a recent press event we mananged to fit an iPad, an 11.6-inch Netbook, a camera, a USB dock, and our wallet and keys. Multiple rings and clips hold key chains or separately sold zipper wallets. A thick shoulder pad isn't easily adjustable and the metal side buckles are prone to squeaking, but this is the most versatile and non-embarrassing iPad bag we've yet encountered.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Tom Bihn Co-Pilot ($110)

Designed, as you might imagine by its name, as an airline carry-on bag, the horizontally aligned Co-Pilot has a puffier, looser feel than Tom Bihn's other Ristretto bag. It also holds a ton of gear: a roomy inner main pocket has a removable padded iPad/Netbook sleeve, but is otherwise free to use as you wish.

Three front compartments are oddly aligned, but are meant to hold gear in the two side multipockets and a water bottle/umbrella in the vertical center pocket--a small hole in the bottom is meant to help with moisture drainage. A back pouch can hold a boarding pass/magazine, but it also unzips on the bottom to become a strap for attaching to the handle of larger wheeled luggage. The bag's undoubtedly practical and spacious, but perhaps better left for frequent fliers.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Tom Bihn Co-Pilot ($110)

Designed, as you might imagine by its name, as an airline carry-on bag, the horizontally aligned Co-Pilot has a puffier, looser feel than Tom Bihn's other Ristretto bag. It also holds a ton of gear: a roomy inner main pocket has a removable padded iPad/Netbook sleeve, but is otherwise free to use as you wish.

Three front compartments are oddly aligned, but are meant to hold gear in the two side multipockets and a water bottle/umbrella in the vertical center pocket--a small hole in the bottom is meant to help with moisture drainage. A back pouch can hold a boarding pass/magazine, but it also unzips on the bottom to become a strap for attaching to the handle of larger wheeled luggage. The bag's undoubtedly practical and spacious, but perhaps better left for frequent fliers.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Booq Taipan Slim XS ($69)

We've had some strong feelings of love for Booq's laptop bags, and were undeniably curious about its tiny Netbook/iPad sling. The well-padded case feels sturdy and ready for the elements (we carried it through rainstorms with no worries), and a furry interior lining and elastic pockets nicely cradle an iPad and other devices. A side zipper pocket and an open side pouch offer some extra stowing room, but it's a shame that the bag's quarters are needlessly cramped to accommodate its sleevelike look. Plus, it looks a bit too much like a miniature metrosexual laptop bag.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Cocoon Grid-It Gramercy Messenger Sling ($29)

Another bag from Cocoon is nearly half the price, but has a far more appealing look. The bad news is that the Gramercy has barely any pockets other than its central one, which is lightly padded and narrowly accommodates an iPad in a slipcase. For Netbook users, there's no room here for an AC cable. A front transparent pocket is the perfect size for an iPhone (and even allows control through the plastic window), but it's hard to pull the phone back out once it's in. Like the Harlem, the Gramercy comes with a Grid-It card as well, which is basically the only way of carrying loose cables and items in the small space. But, hey, at least the price is right.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Grid-It insert

Both Cocoon bags feature a "Grid-It" insert system that uses a wide variety of elastic bands to hold individual pieces of gear, cables, and accessories in place. It works, but sometimes it feels like more trouble than a simple zipper pocket.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Cocoon Grid-It 10" Harlem Netbook/iPad Sling ($54)

At first glance, Cocoon's nylon and water-resistant sling bag looks like a giant iPad fanny pack. Its awkward shape makes for a horrible over-the-shoulder messenger bag, but it's actually meant to be carried behind the back like a one-shoulder backpack. In that position, however, it feels ripe for someone to rob your iPad from behind. This bag does have a nice side pocket and an additional MP3 player pocket, plus the debatably useful Grid-It card, which has overlapping elastic bands for holding various gadgets in place. Honestly, we would have preferred slipping our gear into pockets instead.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Cocoon Grid-It 10" Harlem Netbook/iPad Sling ($54)

Warning: this is not the correct way to wear the Harlem Netbook/iPad Sling--doing so will create extra associations with a fanny pack.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Cocoon Grid-It 10" Harlem Netbook/iPad Sling ($54)

The Grid-It card slips inside the sling, but it occupies the same pocket as the iPad. For those fearing accidental scratches, an iPad skin is still heartily recommended. For Netbook users, the elastic card can be used to secure an AC adapter in place.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

STM Bags Scout Laptop Shoulder Bag ($49)

We gave a full review to this hipster-perfect, olive-drab messenger bag, and really enjoyed its casual style and comfortable feel. I tried it on, too, and found it larger and better padded than the other bags, with a second interior flap for the iPad pocket. You may feel compelled to move to Brooklyn and start wearing porkpie hats after wearing this one for a while, but it's definitely the coolest of the bunch.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:
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