HEX Recon 15″ Charcoal Messenger Bag for iPad Review

The HEX Recon 15” Messenger Bag for iPad is a somewhat unusual bag; it features a space dedicated to the actual usage of an iPad. No doubt you’ve probably seen HEX products and not realised it, plenty of high-profile music artists such as Foster The People, Shiny Toys Guns, Justin Bieber and Dillon Francis are using HEX, and this high-profile presence is nothing short of surprising when you actually take a good look at a HEX product.

The HEX Recon has a black card label attached to it which flips upwards to reveal some information about the bag. HEX mention that the bag is “Way cool” on this label, I would most certainly agree as their ego is well-earned. The bag also ships with a sticker pointing out the HEX PadPort, of course both of these were removed after the photo-shoot to fully enjoy the bag!

The strap itself is adjustable, although not immediately obvious upon arrival; I would have liked the strap to be a little wider. The inability to easily change the strap without cutting the one on the bag seems like a bit of a misstep by HEX, but I’ve kept the standard strap on it, as I love the way it matches the charcoal fabric of the bag itself. The adjustable strap makes this bag perfect for those who frequently ride a bike yet also walk around a lot so need the best of both comfort and security.

Label of the HEX Recon 15" Charcoal Messenger Bag for iPad

The washed charcoal canvas of the HEX Recon is of an observably high thread count, which is soft whilst being rigid in the hands, the fabric is reassuringly thick and also has a water-resistant coating that will help to keep moisture out of your electronics during your commute. The water-resistant coating is very impressive; you can’t even blow air through it, this does a great job of keeping the rain out of where it shouldn’t be. The flap of the bag features a label sewn onto it featuring some fairly unimportant information such as lot number, but it proudly tells you that the bag was designed in the USA. These days people have come to expect the logo of their chosen brand on everything, HEX is somewhat understated, it doesn’t scream ‘nick me, I contain a fortune’ and unless you had seen the bag before online, you probably wouldn’t be aware that it most likely contained an iPad.

The rear of the bag is tastefully adorned with a subtle square HEX branded badge that is hidden whilst wearing it. The rear of the bag also features a fairly deep pocket secured by a piece of Velcro, the interior of this pocket is lined with a water-resistant material meaning that you could easily stow a pair of frost covered gloves in there without getting the contents of your bag wet.

HEX PadPort

PadPort with iPad in the HEX Recon 15" Charcoal Messenger Bag for iPad

The PadPort makes the HEX Recon very similar to those bags you were once able to buy which allowed you to use your PlayStation 2 or Xbox without actually being forced to take it out of the bag. This is a similar principle in which you can simply pick up the bag whilst the strap is still over your shoulder for that extra bit of security, from here you simply open the flap on the bag, which is fastened by two triangles of Velcro in either corner, and can actually start to use the iPad without taking it out. The reverse of the bag flap also appears to be lined with microfiber which will actually clean the display of your iPad as well as prevent scuffs or scratches.
The HEX PadPort has a printed cardboard iPad mock-up in there to illustrate how it is used. The reverse of this card features a few words from the company stating:
“In a world of sameness, we reach for something new and different. But when we dig our hands into that big bowl of promise, what do we bring out? More of the same. What a buzzkill. But your friends at HEX have got your back, protecting your gadget… and your steez. We’re here to serve.”, my first thoughts about this as an out of touch nineteen year old was questioning what ‘steez’ meant, I figured it must mean ‘cred’ or ‘rep’ or ‘style’, style turned out to be the right choice, but their usage of the word, at least according to Urban Dictionary, may not be a wholly appropriate placement of it. The printed iPad mock-up isn’t especially well-printed, but then again, this is just a piece of packaging.

The PadPort itself is a stiffened surround for the iPad to be slotted into, the surround itself is fastened with a piece of Velcro at the top end which stops the iPad from falling out, but the surround is a very snug fit thanks to the elasticated element to the surround to secure your iPad in place. My primary concern about the PadPort was what would happen if the bag was placed down too heavily on a surface, but there is a good two inches of clearances between the bottom edge of the iPad and bottom of the bag itself.

The PadPort provides a nice way of using your iPad on your knee whilst on the train or in a car (As a passenger!) and it provides a level of comfort that the Smart Cover fails to provide in that particular environment. The PadPort allows you to use your iPad in either the landscape or portrait orientation, but clearly the bag was designed with landscape in mind, but for those certain apps which lack a landscape mode (Yes, I know, we need to add one to a few apps) then the HEX Recon definitely provides an adequate way to use it in comfort whilst on the move.

Inside the HEX Recon 15” Messenger Bag for iPad

Interior of the HEX Recon 15" Charcoal Messenger Bag for iPad

Behold the hand of my lovely assistant, Craig. The internal compartment of the bag is closed with a double zipper of a very high quality that has a leather pull-tab and small HEX badges in a manner similar to the badge found on the reverse of the bag. The internal organiser of the bag is somewhat difficult to see due to the dark fabric used inside, it would have been nice if HEX had used a lighter slate fabric rather than their signature dark hexagon patterned interior. If you were looking at the bag in a store, you wouldn’t necessarily immediately see all of the advantages this bag has to offer, and after owning the bag for a week, I’ve only now seen just how sophisticated the internal organiser is, in actuality it has six pockets for cards of various states of economic situation on the front of a larger pocket within which you could stash your earphones, next to that is two pen holders, the pocket after that has a mesh front to it instead of another six card holders, this is ideal for stowing your iPhone so you could open the bag and glance to see what notifications you had through the mesh fabric. I would suggest that HEX outline the pockets with some stitching that could glow in the dark or even just a lighter colour so the pockets are visible at a glance, all that is visible inside the bag is darkness until you actually fill the pockets and learn where they are. I would have appreciated if HEX had printed a diagram on the reverse of the cardboard iPad mock-up so that I could see exactly how much steez this bag has.

The HEX Recon also features a 15” pocket for securing your laptop (Most likely a MacBook and HEX state that it is for a 15” MacBook Pro on their website), the HEX Recon is very soft indeed and won’t be putting any scratches on your new aluminium chassis any time soon due to the microfiber lining, it is also somewhat padded to add an extra bit of protection to your laptop.

Is the HEX Recon Good Value for Money?

This is a bag suitable for everyday use within casual situations, school or even business; it is very smart looking whilst remaining appealing. The HEX Recon is tough on the outside yet soft on the inside to give your gear the protection it needs. It isn’t however suitable for stowing things such as jackets, but then again, not many messenger bags are. The main selling point of this bag is the PadPort, without a shadow of a doubt, if you own an iPad and are looking for a quick way to use this whilst out without getting it stolen or attracting too much attention to yourself then this is the way to use it.

The HEX Recon retails for $79.95 (Or an aesthetically pleasing £51.51 if you do a straight currency conversion), in terms of value for money, this bag rivals the likes of Incase thanks to the brilliant internal organiser and exceptionally high build quality and delightful minimalist aesthetic, this is a bag that you’ll be happily rocking for years. You can buy your own HEX Recon 15” Messenger Bag for iPad here.