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STM Evolution review: STM Evolution

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The Good Waterproof zippers and rain cover make for a great all-weather option. Shoulder straps, tuck-away waist harness and back padding add comfort. Small and compact, with lots of specialist pockets for all your digital gear.

The Bad Concealed laptop section is a very snug fit, not easy to slip the computer in and out if you already have gear in the bag. Lots of pockets, but not much room to fill them with paperwork or personal items once laptop is in the bag.

The Bottom Line Designed to be compact, the Evolution is suitable for a short inner-city commute or travel to meetings only. If you’re looking for an all-purpose laptop bag to use for longer commutes and/or travelling, it’s probably best to source something a little larger in size and capacity.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.0 Overall

Review Sections

Design
STM prides itself on designing functional and stylish luggage to protect your digital cargo. Australian owned, the company has been producing bags aimed at the digerati set for several years now -- the Evolution is the latest in that line.

The STM Evolution is a compact laptop bag designed to fit most 13-inch (or smaller) laptops and comes with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from STM. Available in stylish graphite-black, the bag sports a concealed laptop section, removable iPod or PDA pouch, rain cover, straps for the waist and sternum, side pockets, elastic front straps, phone pocket on shoulder strap (small phones only), and a multi-pocket organiser section.

Features
As far as backpacks go, the Evolution has all the features outdoor enthusiasts would seek in terms of support and comfort. An ergonomic back system, padded shoulder straps, tuck away waist strap and a sternum strap all serve to make this bag super comfortable, even when fully loaded. There is also the requisite elasticord front cradle for the newspaper or a jacket and side pockets for water bottles, an umbrella or magazines.

Performance
We tried out the 13-inch Evolution with a Lenovo x61 Thinkpad on a daily commute. Loading it up with laptop, a notepad, PDA, pens and some personal items such as glasses and wallet, it was quite a snug fit. We found it difficult to slip the notebook into the concealed section unless the bag was empty. Once you've got a few bits in the other pockets, slipping the laptop in and out becomes a bit more arduous.

If you're looking to use the one bag to carry all your travel belongings, you might need to reduce the number of accessories or change to a different bag. Definitely, this bag wouldn't be big enough to serve as your one piece of carry-on luggage allowed in economy.

If you're just looking for a bag for your digital devices and assorted paraphernalia (plus a few other odds and ends), the Evolution is a stylish and comfortable way to fill the bill.

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