If you have a laptop or a tablet, you had better have something that provides adequate protection to carry it in. The world is a hard place for electronics, with drops and the weather putting your expensive investment at constant risk. Mission Workshop’s Spec Laptop Sleeve is a good choice that I have been testing recently.
Design and Construction
Looks-wise, the Spec is as minimalist and modern as it gets. The basic design is very simple- a main compartment with one exterior pocket on the front.
There are two straps on the back, with a larger one on top and a smaller one toward the bottom.
The top strap makes a nice handle for carrying, with the bottom one likely intended for use with a luggage handle to make carrying your laptop through an airport a little easier.
The Spec comes in two sizes- small and large. The small is 14″ x 10″ x 1″, and is good for 13′ laptops and the 12.9″ iPad Pro. The large, which I tested, is 15.5″ x 11″ x 1″, and works with laptops up to 15.5″. While I use a 13″ Lenovo Yoga 720, I wanted the large because it has enough room in the front pocket to fit my 10″ Surface Go.
The Spec is available in three colors- Black, Gray, and Camo.
One of the difficult balances that a laptop sleeve must strike is between weight and padding. It needs to have enough padding to protect your gear from drops, but not so much that it becomes too heavy. I think Mission Workshop got that balance right with the Spec, as it has enough padding that I feel secure carrying my laptops, iPad Pro, or Surface Go in it. If I were to drop it, I feel confident my device would survive. However, the Spec also isn’t needlessly bulky or heavy, either.
Another positive aspect of the case is the durability of the material. Mission Workshop calls the material HT500, and it feels tough and rugged to the touch.
The exterior is rough and textured, so if you prefer a smooth feel like leather, this sleeve might not be for you. However, the trade-off is that the Spec should hold up for a long time.
Mission Workshop also made the Spec weather resistant. This is a huge plus for anyone who wants to use this sleeve on its own. If you have a commute that includes walking or have to hoof it around a college campus, this is not an insignificant feature.
I do think Mission Workshop’s choice to forgo any kind of zippers or clasps in this design is a little odd. Instead, the Spec has flaps that are on the insides of the compartments, and are made to secure over a device.
The main compartment’s flap has secured my laptop without an issue, so no complaints there.
The inside flap works fine with a smaller device, such as a 9.7″ iPad, iPad Mini, or my Surface Go.
However, I did find the front pocket to be less secure when storing smaller items, such as chargers, cables, or a mouse. These items aren’t going anywhere unless you turn the Spec upside down, but it is worth noting.
The Spec is designed for two different use cases. First and most simple, it is meant to be carried alone with one or two devices. It works fine in this regard. I’ve been using it to carry a secondary laptop that I use for my job over the last couple of weeks, and it has worked well for me. No issues to report.
There is a second use case that Mission Workshop mentions on its website. The Spec is also designed to add extra device protection when paired with several of their backpacks. It is slender enough that it easily fits inside of another case to give you extra protection and flexibility.
For example, the backpack I typically to carry for my laptop and iPad Pro for work has plenty of padding for everyday use. However, when I fly, I put my laptop in a sleeve inside of it for extra protection when it is stuck inside of an overhead compartment.
The Spec is thinner than the sleeve I’ve been using, so it will be perfect for this in the future.
Using a sleeve like the Spec is also a great way to carry your laptop in a bag that has little or no padding built-in. Here is a shoulder bag that I have used to carry gear before, but one doesn’t offer a lot of padding on its own.
The Spec fits easily, and adds enough protection that I would trust carrying my laptop in this bag. This is an easy way to extend the versatility of a bag or backpack that isn’t designed to carry electronics.
Mission Workshop’s Spec laptop sleeve checks the boxes that I look for in such an accessory. It is simple and uncomplicated. It looks professional. It’s made from durable materials and it offers your gear protection from both drops and the weather. It can easily be used alone, or in conjunction with other cases.
While $60 is more than some might want to pay for a sleeve, I’m always of the mind that it’s better to pay a few dollars more for something with quality materials and construction that will last. I believe that the Spec fits that bill and is ultimately worth the price. If you are looking for a durable and versatile laptop/iPad sleeve and you aren’t dead set on leather or another material with a soft touch, Mission Workshop’s Spec is a great option.
Mission Workshop’s Spec laptop sleeve is available for $60 for the small size, and $65 for large.
The Spec laptop sleeve was provided for review on iPad Insight by Mission Workshop. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the About page.