ALPAKA Slim Laptop Sleeve Review
The ALPAKA Slim Laptop Sleeve offers an added layer of protection to your device, though it can be too big even for large bags’ laptop compartments.
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- Interior corner tabs prevent device from sliding when opening the sleeve
- Exterior fabric looks and feels premium
- Dependable YKK zippers operate reliably
- Undoing the tabs adds a step when removing your device
- Lots of loose fabric around the side even with a 16” MacBook Pro inside
- Fairly large and needs to be squeezed into a bag’s laptop compartment
7.83082 oz (222 g)
10.6299 in x 15.15748 in x 0.787402 in (27 x 38.5 x 2 cm)
Polyester, Microfleece, YKK Zippers
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When you’re a digital nomad walking around with a multi-thousand-dollar device like a MacBook Pro, you really can’t help but feel a tiny bit vulnerable. More than just the value of the device itself, chances are that the data inside is irreplaceable, whether it’s your latest viral video, CAD drawings of an upcoming project, or even precious family photos. To that end, using a laptop sleeve is almost a no-brainer. Sure, your laptop bag may have its own built-in padded sleeve, but adding another layer of protection feels much more reassuring.
In this review, we’re looking at ALPAKA’s Slim Laptop Sleeve. It has its shortcomings when it comes to its size, arguably being too large for its purpose. However, it also feels very premium with a stylish and classy exterior, reliable YKK-branded zippers, and corner tabs that lock your device in place.
First things first: the Slim Laptop Sleeve comes in two sizes—16-inch and 14-inch—and four colorways (Black, Grey, Teal, and Yellow). Having four colorway options is actually quite generous for an ALPAKA product. Most of their gear comes in black, so we’re glad to see even a handful of options offered. We’re still going for the 16-inch black one for this review, but don’t you think the yellow one is eye-catching, too? It even gets yellow accent stitching along its edges.
ALPAKA specifically rated both models for Apple’s MacBook Pro, so your mileage may vary if you use other 16-inch or 14-inch laptops.
Anyway, the exterior fabric is recycled polyester which, according to ALPAKA, is made from discarded PET bottles. That’s reassuring for the environmentally conscious among us. However, the cherry on top is that we really dig the fabric’s texture. It has a velour-like appearance that’s nice to the touch. Will it stain badly over time, though? We’re not sure. Hence, we’ve gone for the black colorway, since dark colors hide blemishes a lot easier.
For what it’s worth, our sample has remained relatively pristine. The YKK AquaGuard zippers have been zipping and unzipping flawlessly throughout testing as well. These are pretty much the only moving parts of the Slim Laptop Sleeve, so we were particularly observant of this aspect. We can’t take YKK’s stellar reputation for granted, after all. As usual, these come with rubbery Hypalon-like pulls that ALPAKA is fond of using, and we like them, too, since they’re easy to grab.
The zipper starts halfway down one side and runs all the way to the opposite side, providing a half opening that’s relatively easy to fold down, thanks to the Slim Laptop Sleeve’s soft fabric. Once inside, the first feature you’ll notice is the tabs in the corner. We don’t see this in many laptop sleeves, but they’re welcome nonetheless because they keep your device from accidentally slipping out. Microfleece is slippery against the bare metal chassis of laptops like the MacBook Pro, so that can happen.
Packability is where the Slim Laptop Sleeve starts to have a few issues. If you set a 16-inch M2 MacBook Pro on it, you’ll notice that it has a much bigger footprint (surface area) than the laptop itself. We wouldn’t normally call this out; the sleeve surrounding your device will naturally be bigger than the device itself. However, the Slim Laptop Sleeve is just a tad too big compared to similar sleeves, as we’ll show in the next section.
Does this size issue cause problems? Yes, and strangely enough, the 16-inch variant we’re testing has trouble fitting inside ALPAKA’s own Elements Travel Backpack. It technically fits inside the built-in laptop sleeve of that bag, but it takes a not-insignificant amount of shoving to get it to fit. Your mileage may vary depending on how much extra space is in your bag’s laptop compartment, but it’s not a good sign when a brand’s products don’t have good compatibility.
When you compare the Slim Laptop Sleeve to the likes of the Incase Classic Universal Sleeve and Matador Laptop Base Layer, it’s noticeably larger. These laptop sleeves fit in the Elements Travel Backpack a lot better, and the Matador Laptop Base Layer even comes with an extra pocket for accessories, despite being smaller.
The Incase Classic Universal Sleeve is a time-tested favorite of ours. It’s not quite as luxurious as ALPAKA’s offering, but it fits a lot better. However, protection skews in favor of the Slim Laptop Sleeve, given how much more material it’s packing. Plus, neither of these options has the corner tabs the Slim Laptop Sleeve has, so that’s another feature worth considering.
- Has a nice feel to it, though feels a bit loose on the 16″ MacBook Pro M2 model
- Zipper pulls have a nice rubbery hypalon feel to them
- We’re feeling confident with the YKK zippers
- Really dig the colorway selections
- A lot of fabric on each side makes it a bit hard to put into some laptop compartments
- The corners that hold the laptop are an interesting design feature
- Still digging the feel of the fabric and all colors offered
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