The heated debate over whether an iPad can replace a Mac as a day-to-day workhorse shows no sign of abating. One way of evading the crossfire is to plump for both, but to do that you need a bag that can conveniently accommodate the two devices for when you're on the move.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-1
Pad & Quill's Small Briefcase ($219) is one of the Minneapolis company's latest compact leather and canvas solutions for carrying an iPad Pro and a 13-inch MacBook Pro, along with more traditional study/business miscellanea, so we looked at whether it can live up to its billing.

Design

Pad & Quill puts lots of effort into its packaging, and the small briefcase was no different. Little touches like the well-designed welcome tags, manufacturing backstory and genuine craftsman's signature on the stitching continue this tradition. It's fun to open and sets up the product as a nice gift option.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-2
The bag itself is handcrafted from full-grain leather and water-repellant canvas. I received the smart-looking whiskey and charcoal color, which goes well with dark chino and leather fashion styles. One immediately obvious characteristic of the canvas is that the material preserves its original folds and creases, presumably a result of the crafting process. This gives each bag a distinct look, which could be either uniquely endearing or unsightly, depending on your taste.

The "parachute grade" nylon stitching where the two materials meet is neatly done, and cleanly applied across the seams on the handles and the leather overlay, which fastens using a single rounded nickel knob.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-3
On one side of the bag there's some leather branding fixed to the bag with nickel rivets, and the handles are stitched inside a quick-access "newspaper" pocket, which also comfortably holds a couple of paperback books.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-4
The leather shoulder strap (not included and costs $39 extra) is adjustable and removable, and fastens onto either side of the zipper using big, shiny, traditional-looking nickel buckle hooks. The strap itself has a wider padding where it meets the shoulder and has a robust feel to it.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-5
Opening the leather overlay reveals another bit of branding underneath and a Japanese polished nickel zipper, which boasts some pretty strong teeth. The unzipping action also has a satisfyingly rugged feel, which complements the sturdy stitching either side, while a fold of leather inside protects the contents of the bag from the zip.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-6
Opening up the bag, there's one internal divider that comfortably houses an iPad (up to 12.9-inch), and two pockets on its front that are sizable enough to secure, say, a portable hard drive and a MacBook charger. There's also two pen loops, so Apple Pencil owners have somewhere for that to go, too. The main compartment opens up easily and is lined with the same waxed canvas as the rest of the briefcase body – it's good for a 13-inch laptop but it's too small for a 15-inch MacBook Pro.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-7

Performance

I set out to pack the briefcase with a 13-inch MacBook Pro, an iPad mini, two chargers, four medium-sized books, SoundMAGIC P30S portable headphones, an Angelbird SSD2go drive, a small umbrella, and a couple of Moleskine notebook-sized items.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-8
Everything fit nice and snug inside. I could have added a couple more books into the main compartment quite easily, but when I tried it the extra weight started to exert too much of a pull on my shoulder after walking around for a while. A couple of wrapped sandwiches instead would probably be okay though.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-9
One thing to note is that I quickly regretted inserting my Mac without a protective cover – the big zipper teeth grated loudly along the edges of the unibody case upon removal. A horrifying sound indeed. Thankfully it didn't leave any noticeable marks, but it was enough for me not to attempt it again without putting the laptop in a nylon sleeve, which fit inside with everything else quite happily.

Bottom Line

Overall I was impressed by the Small Briefcase by Pad & Quill. A couple of friends complemented on its stylish leather/canvas combination, and agreed it was a smart, fashionable, yet classic commute bag for around town.

It's a convenient, water-repellant solution for people who like their tablet and laptop to go wherever they go, the fastening mechanism makes it easy to access your stuff, plus there's ample extra storage space for books, notepads up to A4 size, lunch, a drink and whatnot. Just watch your unibody aluminum MacBook on that hungry-looking zipper.

Pros

  • Stylish, classic look
  • Comfy strap (as long as you don't overpack)
  • Robust design with easy access
  • 25-year warranty

Cons

  • Pre-worn canvas look may not suit some
  • Zipper teeth sound awful against aluminum Macs

How to Buy

The Small Briefcase by Pad & Quill costs $219 and can be ordered from the company's website.

pad-quill-small-briefcase-10
Note: Pad & Quill supplied the bag to MacRumors for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.

Top Rated Comments

leroypants Avatar
58 months ago
Not enough room for the cornucopia of dongles the new Macboos need to function.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
snowmoon Avatar
58 months ago
If you're going to spend a small fortune on a bag there are much better ones out there. Don't get sucked into these crap reviews just because some company threw a pricey bag your way.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bstpierre Avatar
58 months ago
Just out of interest, is this "sponsored content"?

If so, shouldn't it be labelled as such?

I'm reading between the lines and assuming that it is.
There is this disclaimer at the end:

Note: Pad & Quill supplied the bag to [I]MacRumors for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.[/I]
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Brawnydt Avatar
58 months ago
Actually I've seen this bag, there is a leather lining inside the flap to protect the tech from the zipper. And the zipper itself is some kind of fancy polished metal that doesn't scratch tech like other zippers. I think they talk about it in the product video...

Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
C DM Avatar
58 months ago
Just out of interest, is this "sponsored content"?

If so, shouldn't it be labelled as such?

I'm reading between the lines and assuming that it is.
https://macrumors.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/201637503-Are-news-stories-really-advertising-in-disguise-
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
simonmet Avatar
58 months ago
Just out of interest, is this "sponsored content"?

If so, shouldn't it be labelled as such?

I'm reading between the lines and assuming that it is.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...