Carrying an iPad a year ago involved searching for the perfect bag, and the problem back in 2010 was that many bag makers hadn't figured out the iPad yet. Flash forward to mid-2011, and the iPad 2 and original iPad feel nearly ubiquitous--so, too, do iPad bags. Finding one that matches the iPad's sleek styling is a harder challenge, and one the Booq Cobra Courier XS meets while still offering ample storage in a small package. Though $145 is a lot to pay for a small bag, it's hard to do better for a sturdy/stylish/practical triple-threat.
The Booq Cobra Courier XS feels in some ways like a microminiaturized version of the Booq Boa Squeeze, a backpack we loved back in 2009. The Squeeze managed to be thin and small, yet it packed lots of pockets with plenty of padding. Similarly, the over-the-shoulder Courier XS is a tightly built little black bag made out of ballistic nylon and topped with Nappa leather, with a thick rubber bottom underneath.
The combination of leather, nylon, and chrome slots where the seat-belt-strap nylon wraps around and underneath the bag, and the rugged gridded rubber bottom combine to make a bag with lots of shades and patterns of black. It's the perfect quasi-executive bag to take out to an interview or business dinner or meet up at a bar with, but it's also functional enough to be a good commuting bag. It's smaller than a standard messenger bag, but it doesn't cross over into any absurd territory. It's a few inches longer and wider than the iPad itself.