I picked up a IdeaPad Duet a few weeks after it launched, and I’ve loved it as an ultra-portable companion. I pair it up with a tiny mouse and my homemade keyboard when I want to go somewhere and focus on writing. But stuffing all those mini electronics in my Peak Design bag seemed like a waste. I needed something smaller.
I found it on a humble Office Depot shelf, while I was in for an obscure USB adapter. The Solo Ludlow Tablet Sling is a tiny minimalist bag, but it’s just about perfect for a bit of protection and organization if you’re off on a short trip with an ultraportable laptop or tablet. And unlike a lot of bags made specifically for that purpose, it’s affordable enough for anyone.
Three Pockets, No Fluff
The Ludlow has a tall narrow main chamber and two front pockets, one about twice as big as the other, all accessible with sturdy zippers. Inside the main chamber is a lightly padded pocket for a tablet or small laptop, while the larger of the two pockets has a few pen and card pockets, backpack-style. That’s it, as far as organization goes.
The bag features an adjustable non-padded non-removable strap, a single “Solo” patch on the lower front pocket, and a couple of small metal ornaments on the upper one. Apart from one strip of faux leather on the bottom pocket, it’s all stiff grey polyester.
Solo claims the laptop sleeve can accommodate computers “up to 12.9 inches,” but doesn’t get more specific than that. It holds a 13.5-inch Surface Laptop 3 (8.8 inches wide, 12.1 inches long), though it’s a little snug. My IdeaPad Duet, which is basically an extra-chunky iPad, fits with no problem. I’m able to slide my Bluetooth mechanical keyboard and neoprene cover (about the size of a grade school pencil box) in the remaining space with plenty of room to spare.
In the upper pocket, I keep a Logitech ultra-thin mouse, a USB-C cable, and my trusty Heloideo USB battery (which can charge everything in the bag, and doubles as a wall charger, too). I’ve got enough space left over to throw in a small headphone case like the AirPods, but if I think I’ll need it, I can fold up my noise-cancelling Sony WH-atev3r and fit it in the bottom pocket with no issues.
The small spare design covers everything I need on my basic computer outings—or at least it will, once the Age of COVID passes and I can actually have those again—with enough left over for a paperback book or a bottle of water. It’s a purposeful, restrained design.
Bag About Town (By Which I Mean My Living Room)
Okay, that’s not entirely true: I have used the Ludlow for some quick jaunts, over to the outdoor seating and free Wi-Fi of my town’s library. But yeah, I’m not getting to use this little bag that I bought to the degree that I would like. It is perhaps the smallest pettiest complaint in a worldwide pandemic.
Ahem, back to the review.
The bag is cheap, to be frank. It has minimal padding in the main chamber, but everything in the front two pockets will be exposed to hard bumps and jostles. It’s not bulletproof, certainly not waterproof, and I don’t think I’d trust it on a cross-country flight.
But I wouldn’t bring just a tablet and a few essentials on a cross-country flight, where my bigger, tougher, and much more expensive bag would be carrying a full-powered laptop. No, for the purpose that this bag serves, it does so extremely well. The strap doesn’t have much padding, but even packed to the gills, the bag weighs maybe five pounds. Don’t need it. There’s no skid pad on the bottom, but it’s small enough that I just throw it on the table. Don’t need it.
A Sweet Little Rectangle
I wish the Ludlow’s strap was removable, so I could replace it with a slightly tougher one. And I wish the inner organization of the larger front pocket was double-stitched like the rest of the bag. But for a bag that cost me less than a Blu-ray, or indeed, the adapter cable I bought when I spotted it, I have no complaints.
Here’s What We Like
- Perfectly sized for quick trips
- Big enough for a 13" laptop
- Easy access to everything
- Very low price
And What We Don't
- Strap is non-removable
- Organizer uses single stitching