You can never have too much tech gear, except when you have to find an efficient way to carry it around with you. Waterfield has come to rescue us from tech clutter with their latest tech gear organizers… the Tech Folio and the Tech Pocket.
Earlier this year, Waterfield turned to its customers for help in designing the next great gear pouch (I covered it here on GeekDad) and the results of those collaborative design efforts was the Tech Folio and the Tech Pocket.
What is the Tech Pocket?
The Tech Pocket is a small (7.5” x 4.75”) pouch that is made out of either Ballistic Nylon or Waxed Canvas. The main compartment opens from the top via a magnetic closure (for quick access) and is lined with a soft, plush “cashmere-like” lining. Inside the main compartment you have two small pouches (each about 3” wide and 3” tall) in which you can stash small gadgets like dongles, adapters, or small headphones. The main pouch is also perfect for your smart phone if you don’t want to (or can’t) carry it physically on your person. My iPhone X (even with a bulky case) easily fits in the main compartment (it will fit a Plus or Max sized iPhone as well). The padded interior of the main compartment paired with the rugged exterior of the Tech Pocket means your smart phone is well protected. The entire length of the front of the Tech Pocket has a zippered pouch that is lined in gold-colored fabric to make it easier to see the objects stashed inside. The Tech Pocket can either be tossed into a bag, hand carried (Waterfield also sells an optional wrist loop), or attached to another bag with a carabiner. The tech pocket has two loops attached to either end that can be used to attach an optional wrist strap or a carabiner.
How Have I Been Using the Tech Pocket?
My daily carry bag is the Waterfield Bolt Backpack (which I reviewed earlier this year here on GeekDad). I generally stuff the Bolt pretty full between my work laptop, my 12.9” iPad Pro, and my gym clothes. That makes fishing things out of the front pockets of the Bolt rather difficult (especially if the pockets are stuffed full too). The Tech Pocket solves this for me, because now I have an extra external pocket. Here are the items I carry in my Tech Pocket:
- Main Compartment
- Battery Powered Apple Watch charger
- An extra Apple Watch band (for working out)
- Lightning to HDMI dongle
- iPhone charging brick
- Microfiber cloth (for cleaning glasses and device screens)
- Security token
- Front Zippered Section
- Apple AirPods
- Lip Balm
- Wired headphones
- Portable badge reader for my work laptop
I still carry items in the three front pockets of my Bolt Backpack, but as you can see from the list above I keep my most used items in the Tech Pocket for easy access (and to keep the number of items I carry in the Bolt Backpack pockets down to a reasonable number). I was a little worried that the magnetic closure wouldn’t be strong enough to keep items in the main compartment from falling out, but that fear was quickly dashed once I realized just how strong the magnetic closure was. Waterfield hit the sweet spot in that the closure is strong enough that there is no way anything is accidentally coming out but it is still very easy to quickly open and get at your stuff. The waxed canvas Tech Pocket perfectly matches my Bolt Backpack and it makes an already excellent bag even that much more useful in that it adds extra and more convenient storage/access.
What is the Tech Folio?
The outside material of the Tech Folio (just like the Tech Pocket) is made out of either Ballistic Nylon or Waxed Canvas. The Tech Folio is designed to be the professional’s everyday carry for things like dongles, cords, cables, power adapters, external drives, headphones, smart phones, tablets, and computers. Basically everything a professional that has a lot of tech gear might need for the day. The Tech Folio is just that, a folio. The main compartment is opened with dual water-proof zippers that covers three sides of the folio. The folio (when unzipped) opens up like a book and can be laid out flat for easy access to the inside pockets.
When I say pockets, I mean pockets. The main compartment has a total of 9 compartments/pockets. In the left side there is zippered mesh sleeve (about 6”x10”), a small long and skinny mesh sleeve (about 2”x10”), and at the bottom one more (4”x10”) mesh sleeve. These mesh sleeves are perfect for things like cables, because you can see what is in each sleeve, and because they are compartmentalized you can simply stuff each individual cable into a single compartment without worry about tangles.
The right side of the main compartment has a padded sleeve the runs the entire length of the folio behind all of mesh/padded pockets. This padded sleeve is designed to carry things like tablets and laptops. The Tech Folio comes in two sizes: the standard Tech Folio and the Tech Folio Plus. The Standard Tech Folio can fit a 10.5” or 11” iPad Pro (or smaller iPad) or a Surface Go with Type Cover (or smaller laptop). The Folio Plus can fit a 12.9” iPad Pro, a 13” MacBook Pro, a Surface Pro 6 with Type Cover, or a Pixel Slate (or other similar sized devices). The top half of the right side of the main Folio compartment has three separate mesh pockets (each about 3”x”3”) secured with a single zipper. Below that are two padded top loading pouches (about 4.5”x 5”). The zippered mesh pockets are perfect for things like headphones, dongles, adapters, and SD cards while the padded pouches are ideal for things like smart phones or external hard drives.
But the storage doesn’t stop there. The Tech Folio also has another zippered compartment on the outside front of the folio. The outer material of this compartment (at least for the larger Tech Folio Plus) is leather (either comes in black or chocolate) and the inside of this compartment is lined in a gold-colored fabric and has six top loading pouches to store things like an Apple Pencil, standard pens and pencils, a mouse, and additional dongles and cables. These pouches are made out of the gold-colored fabric and are not see-thru like the compartments inside the main folio.
How Have I Been Using the Tech Folio?
I opted for the Tech Folio Plus as I have both a 12.9” iPad Pro for personal use and a 13” MacBook Pro for work, and needed the larger padded compartment to carry either one of those devices. I already use the Bolt Backpack as my everyday carry bag but the Tech Folio still serves two important use cases for me.
My primary use for the Tech Folio is to take to church with me every weekend. I play keyboards at our church and I use my iPad Pro as my sheet music reader/set list display while playing. I also use a Bluetooth pedal so I can use my foot to turn the sheet music pages on my iPad and keep my hands on the keyboard where they belong. The acoustic setup for our band is a bit problematic so instead of relying on an external speaker/monitor to hear what I am playing on the keyboard I use a set of studio over-the-ear headphones and leave the ear facing the rest of band uncovered so I can hear what the band is playing. The Tech Folio allows me to carry my 12.9” iPad Pro, the Bluetooth pedal, and my headphones in the Folio, which is a much more manageable carry solution than a bag or a backpack.
My other use case for the Tech Folio is for when I am going somewhere other than work (like a coffee shop, an errand, or an activity that I am taking one of my kids to) and know I will be using my iPad Pro to get some writing done. The Tech Folio is much more portable and comfortable to carry around on these short trips than a full-sized bag or backpack. Even though I have the Apple Smart Keyboard case for my iPad Pro, I still like the added protection of the Tech Folio when taking it out and about. Plus the Tech Folio lets me carry things like my wallet, keys, sunglasses, and all the cables, dongles, and adapters I could possibly need for my iPad (all in a compact professional-looking case).
Waterfield did something very unique for the tech industry when they launched their next generation tech gear organizer community design project. The result of that effort was the Tech Pocket and two versions of the Tech Folio that answered the majority of the use cases Waterfield’s customers submitted as input to this design effort. After using both the Tech Pocket and the Tech Folio as tech gear organizers now for the last month I can say that Waterfield did a good job of taking those customer inputs and coming up with some very functional and stylish designs. I enjoy not only the utility of these cases but the look and feel of them as well. It’s one thing to carry around functional tech gear but it’s another thing all together to pull it off while looking professional too.
The Tech Pocket (which retails for $49) and the Tech Folio (Standard retails for $119 and the Plus for $149) tech gear organizers are both available today from Waterfield’s website (sfbags.com).
Disclaimer: Waterfield equipped me with review samples of both the Tech Pocket and the Tech Folio Plus tech gear organizers for the purpose of this review.