UAG Medium Sleeve Review

UAG Medium Sleeve

Overall Score:7.7

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. 

Durability: 7.0
Functionality: 9.0
Performance: 8.0
Aesthetics: 7.5
Value: 7.0

Weight: 482 g

Main Material: Polycarbonate Hard Plastic

Hardware: N/A

Dimensions: 32.0 x 22.6 x 1.49 cm

Manufacturing Country: China

Length of Test: 6 months

Acquisition: Self Purchase

Countries: Thailand

The UAG Sleeve is designed for:

  • Maximum laptop protection.

It’s not designed for:

  • Lightweight enthusiasts.

Table of Contents

Durablity

Build Quality

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.  

Functionality

Main Feature Set

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.

Performance

Practical Utility

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.

Aesthetics

Design Elements

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. 

Value

Primary Alternatives

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:

Sleeve Main Material Weight Opening Padded?
Medium Sleeve Polycarbonate Hard Plastic 482 g Zipper No
Gauntlet 3.0 Polyurethane 363 g Zipper Yes
Nacuwa Silicone / TPU 590 g Zipper No
Incase Makrolon Polycarbonate 227 g None No
HardBack 1085 Polypropylene Copolymer 1406 g Latch Yes

7.7/10 Rating

Overall Verdict

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

  • The poly-carbonate hard plastic is ridiculously tough and provides excellent drop and shock protection.
  • The built-in tactile grip is surprisingly useful and very grippy. 
  • The ability to use your laptop while it’s still in the sleeve works well on wet surfaces and/or when you want a bit more discretion.  

What Could Use Improvements

  • Upgrading to a #8C YKK Zipper would increase the sleeve’s longevity.   
  • Gutting the useless interior mesh would shave a little bit of weight. 
  • Minimizing the use of four logos to just one would help with aesthetics.
Longevity

Usage Timeline

Good

Initial Usage

The case is tough, but a bit more flexible than we anticipated. Build quality is good, but the cheap zipper is a disappointment.

Good

Good

6 Months of Usage

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.

Good
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