Last week, I wrote up an excellent buying guide for those looking to brighten the faces of their loved ones that own a Surface Pro 3. In the guide, you'll find a bevy of good options for add-ons and accessories sure to enhance the computing experience this holiday season. And, with Christmas a week away, you better hurry. Read through the guide here: Surface Pro 3 Holiday Buying Guide
In the buying guide, I included a section on Cases for the Surface Pro 3 and explained why a Surface Pro 3 owner might want two options. When I travel, I strap a Messenger Bag to my shoulder, but when I'm just making short trips across town to the doctor or church, I prefer a Surface Pro 3 sleeve. My favorite sleeve is from Maroo. Again, you can check out both of my suggested favorites in the buying guide.
Since I wrote the Surface Pro 3 buying guide, I've received another potential contender for the list in the Cases category. And, while it's not something I might buy for myself, it does have a certain flair for a particular type of person. And, be forewarned...this is one of those reviews that is tough to write.
I recently received the Surface Case Cover Laptop Bag Felt Sleeve (SP1003) from Inateck.
I've used the sleeve on and off for a couple weeks now, but have gone back to using the Maroo for my short trips. That doesn't mean that the Inateck sleeve doesn't offer some value, just that I prefer the Maroo for durability, tablet safety, and the more professional appeal.
The Inateck does have some shortcomings, but for the right individual that wants a sleeve for a nominal price and able to overlook some drawbacks, it can be a good option.
Here's what I've found…
Felt. Yep…you read that right. The Inateck Surface Pro 3 sleeve is made from the same material I worked with in Art class in Kindergarten. Remember that? Our schools didn't allow Kindergartner's to use sharp scissors, so cutting through the material took what seemed like days instead of minutes, leaving your hand convulsing and begging for relief.
And, frankly, that's what the sleeve reminds me of – a fledgling Valentino hopeful cutting out a felt heart for Valentine's Day, only to have it dashed by a young female classmate. So, not only did my hand ache from cutting through thick felt, but my own heart ached, too. Both good lessons learned, I guess. And, maybe that's why I can't get past the material used for the Inateck sleeve. Not only did the material cause me mental, physical, and emotional pain growing up, it also doesn't seem like the most high-quality material choice to use when constructing a protective case.
Felt has another attribute that makes it seem a bit odd as a protective sleeve for a tablet: it doesn't snap back into its original shape. As you can see in the following image, I loaded up one of the back accessory pockets with goodies and it is now and forever stretched. In fact, if you tug on any of the included pockets with even a slight amount of pressure, they'll never look the same.
Inateck describes the sleeve as durable and protective. But, think about it. Felt as a protective material? It's a bit better than trying to cover the Surface Pro 3 with tissue paper, but not much more. Plus, have you ever gotten felt wet? It takes days to dry out and only with direct sunlight or a constant, heated air source. One drop, or one accidental rain shower later, and the Surface Pro 3's integrity could be suspect. Felt as a safety material? I guess its better than using absestos.
On the plus side, the Inateck sleeve comes with plenty of pockets for carrying a multitude of additional items. Very few sleeves from other vendors offer this much space, or this many options. There's a pocket in the front and two in the back (shown above).
The sleeve flap is held together with Velcro and the Surface Pro 3 fits pretty snug inside. The inside of the sleeve is made of soft flannel, ensuring that the Surface Pro 3's screen remains scratch free.
Inateck includes a separate bag (shown below) for carrying a mouse, or in my case, the Surface Pro 3 power adapter. The Surface Pro 3 power adapter fits great in the accessory bag.
Inateck actually makes some really good products. In fact, I included the company's 3-port USB hub in the Surface Pro 3 Buyer's Guide. For me, the Surface Pro 3 sleeve falls short for a number of reasons. Obviously, safety for my Surface Pro 3 is the biggest concern. Inateck describes the material as "high-quality felt," but I'm not even sure it's legal to use "high-quality" and "felt" in the same sentence. Slipping the Surface Pro 3 into the Inateck sleeve is like wrapping it in a robe. And, not the luxurious, thick robes you find in some posh Las Vegas hotels, but the thin wraps you find at a Holiday Inn or a La Quinta.
Still, if you've not found a sleeve yet, you're looking to test the theory of using a sleeve versus a full-sized bag, and you are someone that is extremely careful against slips and drops, the Inateck sleeve offers good storage options and, for the price, is an easy buy.
Inateck is offering a $2 discount right now until December 25th. Just use the promo code WOCWHRFW when you check out. The sleeve is $16.99 right now, normally $22.00.
You can find the Inateck sleeve on Amazon here: Inateck Surface Pro 3 Protective Carrying Sleeve Bag Envelope Case for Microsoft Surface PRO 3