STM Velo 2 (Medium) Video Review (Features Score: 21; Access: 7/10)

Posted by Deron Chang on Friday, February 20, 2015 with No comments
STM Velo 2 (Medium) Review






Overall:  
With pros = 30.5 points, cons = -9.5;  The STM Velo 2 (M) earns a Features Score of 21.0 and an Accessibility Score of 7 out of 10.


Video:



Accessibility:

A bag's accessibility is rated on a 1 - 10 scale (10 = most).  Three major compartments are judged.  The accessibility score for this bag:

Organizer pocket(s) = 9.  There is a flap and then the compartment is zippered.  Flaps slow me down and you need to hold it out of the way to access the organizer.
Main compartment = 6.  If you just use the flap and do not zip up this compartment then this is a 9.  Of course, it is SO accessible that you might actually lose stuff out of the compartment because of its low neckline design.  If you zip the compartment, which is an enormous pain, then the accessibility plummets to a 3 and I am not exaggerating. Split the difference and you get a 6.
Laptop compartment = 6.  Side access is a pain. You have to think about it because it is so counterintuitive.  You also HAVE to keep the compartment fully zipped at all times or you will dump your laptop on the ground.

Overall accessibility: 7 out of 10.

Pros:

The bag is made with strong ballistic nylon or Cordura material that could survive a storm.  +2

Nicely made with reinforced stitching in the right places, straight clean stitching and taped seams throughout.  This this will last.  +1

It has a reinforced bottom to protect against abrasion. +1

The bag has an unusually wide and flat foot print.  It is the most stable of the bags I have tested.  The back has an actual plastic frame sheet adding structure to the bag.  (It certainly has a bottom that is perpendicular to the sides that allows the bag to stand on its own and then some.)  +3

Separate, side access fleece-lined padded laptop compartment that is accessible without having to go into the main compartment of the bag.  +3

Separate, fleece-lined tablet pocket.  +3

Dedicated fleece-lined pocket on the TOP of the flap for sunglasses.  +3

Nicely padded handle that is rounded enough to be comfortable for carrying without digging into your hand after five minutes. +1

The handle is centrally located - front to back - so that the bag hangs straight down at your side when being held by the handle.  +0.5

Open top slide in pocket for file folders on the inside (main compartment). +2

Open top slide in pocket for file folders on the back (outside). +2

Ability to slide over the handle of rolling luggage for airport transport.  +1

Organizer panel is just inside of the cover flap (rather than being inside the main compartment) making for easy access to oft used items.  +1

Large shoulder pad with friction pad to prevent slipping.  +1

No Velcro to hold down the main flap.  Allows for discrete opening and closing in a quiet meeting.  +2

Light gray liner allows you to see items in the darker corner of the bag.  +1

Has large vertical pockets on the side that seem suitable for carrying a long item like and umbrella. +0.5

Airmesh on the back to allow for air circulation when the bag is being carried. +0.5

Small loop located flush against the outside back wall of the bag allowing you to easily hand the bag on a hook when you get home.  +1

Lashing points on the back of the bag that are there for the stabilizing belt, but I will use to hang my retractable key and ID lanyard.  +0.5

The opening to the main compartment of the bag is unusual.  It is lower in the front compared to the bag.  This does allow easier access to items in the main compartment and lets in more light to the compartment.  +0.5

Cons:

The side loading computer compartment does not have a simple flap of Velcro inside the compartment to serve as a backup security measure if you forget to zip the laptop compartment closed or if the compartment is inadvertently unzipped (it unzips by pulling down!). This is not a big deal if this compartment were a top loading pocket as the laptop would stay in place naturally via gravity.  A side access compartment has no such luxury.  Slip, crash, cry! -2

The long vertical zip pockets on each side of the bag taper rapidly toward the top making it impossible to fit a 750 mL water bottle.  Seems like they should have made one of the pockets a simple open topped mesh pocket for a water bottle and the other could have been kept as it.  The whole designed seems a bit over-engineered for its own good.  -1

I would have preferred to have the interior file pocket behind the iPad sleeve so that I would not have to reach past files to get to the smaller iPad.  -0.5

The opening to the main compartment of the bag is unusual.  It is lower in the front compared to the bag.  This cuts down on the usable main compartment space of the bag and shortens the front organizer pocket.  Additionally, I would have preferred to have had the file folder pocket along this lower wall to keep the iPad and the folders on opposite walls for ease of access to both items (this was not possible from a design standpoint because of the low front wall).  Lastly, when the pack is filled, this lower front wall design leads the cover flap to slope distinctly down from the top edge of the bag to the bottom making the whole bag look like a wedge rather than a rectangular block.  A bit a bit frumpy in my mind.  (See photo below.) -3


The fleece pocket at the top of the bag is a tad too deep.  It should be about 2/3rds of its depth to make for easier access to your sunglasses (or phone).  (Alternatively, it could have had a wider opening and divided in two to make it possible to hold glasses AND a phone simultaneously!)  Also, the pocket extends down into the interior space of the front flap meaning that the item in the pocket is a bit more vulnerable to impact than I would like.  STM should have let the pocket hang straight down into the main compartment to allow it to have maximum protection.  (This would also somewhat ameliorated the aforementioned wedge look to some degree as the weight of the sunglasses further presses down on the top front of the bag.) -1

I am not sold on the need for the zipper to the main compartment.  The benefit of additional security is not balanced by the cost of the zipper making it more difficult to open up the flap fully.  You really have to pull back on the zippers to give you access to the iPad sleeve and the file folder pocket. -2

Nice but not necessary:

Shoulder strap adjustment cam is a cinch to use.  Nicely done.  Of course, I only adjust this once and then I am done forever. 

The little interior loop along the side wall.  The marketing materials shows it being used to carry a cord from a tablet to a back-up battery that could be stored in the side pouch.  Not sure if I would every use this myself, but maybe someone else would find this useful.

One side of the shoulder strap is removable while the other side is stitched in. Strange design decision.