Tested: Harber London leather messenger bag for 12.9inch iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

The Harber London leather messenger bag is the latest in the company’s line of premium bags pitched squarely at the Apple-owning demographic …

When I tested the company’s Slim Laptop Backpack, I said it was almost exactly what I’d expect if Apple made a leather backpack for MacBook Pro models. This one has a coarser-grained leather, but is still a very appealing option if you’re willing to pay Apple-like prices for your bags.

Exterior

On the outside, the leather messenger bag is pretty minimalist. There’s a single heavy-duty zip along the top and extending three inches around each side, an extremely subtle embossed Harber London logo on one side, and a detachable canvas strap.

The bag is available in a choice of three colors, each made from premium full-grain vegetable-tanned leather:

  • Tan
  • Deep brown
  • Black

It’s available in two sizes, one designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro, the other for the 12.9-inch model.

Interior

I like bags that offer flexibility in their interior layouts, and this one certainly fits the bill.

There are two full-width pockets designed specifically for an iPad or similar device. One has a retaining strap with a snap fastener.

The other has an internal magnetic fastener.

The iPad fit into either side, though it’s too tall for the magnetic fastener to be closed, so you’ll likely want to put it in the side with the strap.

You could also just put it loose in the center of the bag, but this doesn’t work too well as there are pen-loops and the like that tend to catch it, so it’s a little awkward to insert here.

As for those other compartments, there’s a good selection:

I put my phone into a deeper pocket than the one used in the above promo photo, as it completely swallows my iPhone 12 Pro Max, leaving it completely protected.

There’s also a detachable keyring, which has a slightly odd combination of rotating fastener and magnet. It works, but personally I think just a magnet would do the job with less complexity.

The strap is an adjustable-length canvas one. One of my pet peeves are shoulder bags with non-removable straps, as there are times when I want to carry it brief-case style, or underarm like a sleeve. Thankfully this strap is removable, though there is no hand-strap, so you can only carry it under your arm if you do so.

Harber London leather messenger bag: Pricing and conclusions

I said in the intro that these bags are for people willing to pay Apple-like pricing. The 11-inch version costs $267, while the 12.9-inch one is $310.

To put this into perspective, Apple’s leather iPad sleeves (when available) cost $129 and $159 respectively for the two sizes. The company doesn’t make leather bags, but if it did, I think we can extrapolate to similar prices.

To me, the pricing is a little steep when I compare it to the backpack I reviewed back in January. That was $418 for something significantly larger, and with softer leather. I’d personally like to see the 12.9-inch model of this bag closer to $250.

However, pricy as it is, I have no quibble with the quality – and I’ve already found it to be a significantly more versatile bag that I’d expected. It makes a pretty capacious man-bag. I’ve carried iPad with keyboard, over-ear headphones, and a paper book, alongside my phone and keys, with room to spare. Viewing it as a more general-purpose bag, and comparing it to bags of similar quality from other brands, I can’t say the pricing is out of line. Whether it’s worth it to you will, as ever, be a personal decision.

The Harber London Leather Messenger Bag for iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard costs $267 for the 11-inch version, and $310 for the 12.9-inch version, with free worldwide shipping. Both models are available in three colors from the company’s website.

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