UAG Medium Sleeve Review
After 6 months of near daily use, we have mixed feelings on the UAG Medium Sleeve. On one hand, we love the sleekness and the ridiculous amount of drop protection it provides. On the other, it’s pretty damn heavy and utilizes a cheap ‘unbranded’ zipper that isn’t confidence inspiring.
Weight: 482 g
Main Material: Polycarbonate Hard Plastic
Dimensions: 32.0 x 22.6 x 1.49 cm
Manufacturing Country: China
Length of Test: 6 months
Acquisition: Self Purchase
The UAG Sleeve is designed for:
It’s not designed for:
UAG is widely known for their heavy-duty phone cases that have military-grade shock and drop protection. Recently, they’ve expanded their product line to include hardshell laptop sleeves.
For the Medium Sleeve, the main material is a thick polycarbonate hard plastic, which is exceptionally rugged and has a built-in tactile grip. This semi-rigid material handles drops with ease, with no visible damage or scratches to report – it’s tough-as-nails.
As for the hardware, the UAG Medium Sleeve features an unbranded molded-plastic zipper. Anytime a manufacturer uses an unbranded zipper, we have huge concerns over the longevity of the product. While the zipper has worked well during testing, we’re unsure if it will last for years of service.
That aside, the zipper itself has a nylon pull tab attached for added grip.
The marquee feature of the UAG Medium Sleeve is its military grade drop protection (MIL STD 810G 516.6). Essentially, UAG utilized the third-party service of an NEBS Certified Testing Laboratory to drop test this sleeve. And in order to achieve the certification, they had to drop a laptop (inside the sleeve) 26 times from a height of 122 cm (48 in), on each face, corner, and back. After this, the laptop had to function properly while not sustaining any damage to the screen.
While this level of drop protection may be overkill for most people, it’s still impressive and will give you peace of mind in regards to your laptop’s safety.
On the inside, there are internal straps to securely hold your laptop in place – four in total, for each corner of your laptop. The bottom two straps are a soft rubber material, while the top two are a clear plastic.
It’s worth noting that these straps are low-profile and have no effect on ease-of-access. As a bonus, the straps enable you to work on your laptop while it’s still in the sleeve.
From our experiences, we hands-down love the drop protection this case has provided. Our laptop lives in this sleeve 24/7 and has experienced two mid-height falls, with absolutely zero damage to our device.
We also like the sleeve’s slim-profile and slightly flexible construction – it’s easy to fit into and take out of a full pack. At first we thought we’d have trouble sliding the sleeve in and out out of our backpacks due to the grippy exterior material, however we were pleasantly surprised by its lack of friction.
It’s also worth noting that the sleeve’s semi-rigid structure works well as a frame sheet for frameless daypacks. However, for packs with a semi-rigid internal frame, the sleeve can cause slight pressure points to form. As for rigid frames, there’s no issue at all.
The aesthetics of the sleeve are simplistic, while the branding is a bit obnoxious. There’s a high-visibility UAG logo on each side, a bright orange nylon tab with the UAG logo, and even the zipper pull has a UAG logo. To be fair, we’re not fans of logo-heavy designs and generally prefer subdued branding.
At the time of writing, the Medium Sleeve comes in two colorways: black and red.
The competitive landscape for the UAG Medium Sleeve is relatively limited, as hard shell laptop sleeves aren’t very popular. Outside of extremely heavy and bulky Pelican cases, no other laptop sleeve compares to its military-grade protection.
The primary competition (read: alternatives to consider) for the Medium Sleeve are:
While the UAG Medium Sleeve is a bit heavy, the weight penalty may be worth it for those taking their laptop into the backcountry, on expeditions, or even general travel. Comparatively, it’s significantly lighter and slimmer than heavy and bulky Pelican cases.
If you need maximum protection for your laptop, the UAG Medium Sleeve is the most rugged and lightweight option on the market.
What We Liked
What Could Use Improvements
The case is tough, but a bit more flexible than we anticipated. Build quality is good, but the cheap zipper is a disappointment.
So far, so good… the zipper is still working smoothly and the case still looks mostly brand new. It’s also saved our laptop from two mid-height drops.
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