While out at CES this past January I ran into STM, a company that makes bags, backpacks and cases for laptops, tablets and phones. STM was a sponsor of one of the press events in Vegas that week. They were kind enough to send me one of their Impulse laptop backpacks so I could test and review it here for you. We had a great time talking and meeting with STM while at CES, so let’s get to the review.
Overview and Impressions
The Impulse backpack is nicely designed with zero tolerance for sticking out. What I mean by that is that the backpack is minimally designed. If you’ve been reading Techaeris for any length of time you should know that I am a fan of minimal and functional design. The Impulse I was sent was straight black, a perfect color for being unseen. The STM branding is subtly done, which I love. I’d rather tell people I’m carrying an STM bag that I am proud of rather than have the company brand me with some hideous logo splattered all over the bag. The materials are of high quality and the craftsmanship and care is evident from when you first open it up.
Features of the backpack include:
- Main technology compartment protects laptop and tablet
- Secondary pocket for paperwork, books
- Comfortable backpack suspension system with sternum strap to stabilise the load
- Luggage pass-through for wheeled bag
- Side utility pockets for water bottle or umbrella
- Easy access front organization pocket for keys, wallet, pen, biz cards, etc.
- Quick drop lower pocket for charging bricks or cables
- Designed to fit most 15″ laptops
- 300D velocity poly Outer shell
- 200D water resistant polyester (laptop: 200g brushed nylex) Inner lining
- 1220.5 cu in / 20 L Capacity
- 2.2 lb / 1 kg Weight
The Impulse is very light, 2.2lbs is nothing and it feels exactly like that. I’ll quickly go over the bullets above. The main compartment designed to hold your laptop (most 15″ will fit) is nicely padded with material you feel very confident in protecting your device. The main compartment fit my MacBook Pro 15″ just fine, and it held it firmly in place. The secondary pocket worked perfectly for exactly what it’s advertised for, paperwork and books. I carried various papers and a few paperbacks in there without any issue. Probably the best feature of this backpack is the sternum strap, along with the padding on the back. The strap is perfect for pulling the weight off your shoulders and distributing it evenly so you’re not getting worn out from carrying the Impulse and all your goods. I’ve used other backpacks intended for electronics and this is one feature that STM was right to put in.
The luggage pass through so you can slide the Impulse on a wheeled suitcase is by now a necessary feature for any backpack these days. The pocket on the side for a water bottle is also a nice touch that manufacturers are starting to put in. The front pocket is perfect for those smaller items like your keys, wallet, cards, and the like. And that larger front pocket is great for those external batteries or slightly bulkier items (not huge mind you). One of the features not mentioned in the bullet list above is the tablet pocket. The tablet pocket sits in nicely with the laptop pocket. It fit my iPad Air (with case) perfectly and, like the laptop, it fit snugly with no movement.
The STM Impulse is a very comfortable, minimally designed, and functional medium-sized backpack that is perfect for the commuter or day tripper. The sternum strap alone is worth the $100 price of admission, especially if you plan on walking any distance with this thing on your back and shoulders. It really does a super job of keeping the weight distributed evenly and keeps those shoulders from getting tired. I also loved the padding on the back along with the channels that seem to be designed to move air around so you’re not sweating as much as you normally would. The materials and craftsmanship are evident, and you can see STM takes care in their products. The storage areas for your laptop and tablet are friendly to their sensitive nature, taking care to pad your belongings and protect them. I give the STM Impulse 4.5 stars out of 5. It’s a great backpack for a fair price. Hit the link below to pick up your STM Impulse.