- Buyer's Guide
Drive By :: This Is Ground Mod Laptop 2
This Is Ground’s Mod Laptop 2 aims to deliver a sleek and simple solution to your daily carry needs by offering elegant and easy access to your tech and small EDC. Does it deliver? Felix Scholz, Editor of Time+Tide, puts it to the test to find out…
For the last few months This Is Ground’s second version of their popular laptop Mod has been my pretty constant companion. It’s travelled with me to work, cafes, meetings and the odd international conference. TIG have made clear improvements on the original, and incorporated the feedback they’ve received. Smart and stylish, the Mod is made in LA, using materials and hardware sourced in the States. Broadly speaking the TIG Mod Laptop 2 does exactly what it says on the box – namely protect and carry the daily essentials, all the while acting as a good-looking folio/portable office.
Who It Suits
The Mod Laptop 2 is clearly designed for career carry, and if you’re a professional or creative type who’s looking for something above and beyond the usual laptop sleeve, then this might be the guy for you.
Who It Doesn’t
If you’re into active gear, on a budget or simply carry lots of odd-shaped objects on a regular basis you should probably keep looking.
If you love a good flat lay you’re going to like the Mop Laptop 2. When closed it’s got the clean lines of a traditional leather folio – but unzip the solid UCAN zip, open up the Mod and you’re in stationery organizing heaven. One side is dominated by the dedicated laptop pouch – with its protective raised lip of Buffalo Felt. There’s also a canvas-lined pocket designed for a tablet, but it works just as well for a diary or notebook.
“…if you’re a professional or creative type who’s looking for something above and beyond the usual laptop sleeve, then this might be the guy for you.”
The ‘spine’ has two Romag magnets embedded in it so you can plug and play with any of This Is Ground’s specialized carry inserts. TIG assures us that these magnets won’t affect your electronics. The other side of the Mod has three pockets, suitable for phones, glasses, hard drives, notebooks and the like. There’s also some slots for business cards and space for pens, headphones and cords.
The outside of the Mod has a clever diagonal slit pouch designed for bulkier chargers, or for things you need frequent access to. There’s also a removable leather strap which clips onto D-rings that can be hidden away should you prefer to go strapless (as I must confess I did).
While I tried using it in lieu of my regular bag for a while, I found I needed to carry more than was comfortable in the Mod. And as a big guy I found the relatively small case and slender strap awkward to wear (hence the strapless option). But this is a personal take – it looks great on others.
“When closed it’s got the clean lines of a traditional leather folio – but unzip the solid UCAN zip, open up the Mod and you’re in stationery organizing heaven.”
However, when I looked at it as a laptop case with benefits the Mod really made sense. Diary, pens, notebook, laptop and the other essentials all went in there. So if I had meetings, or went to work in a café all I needed was the Mod. It looked good and I could access anything I needed quickly. It’s kind of like a corporate bug-out bag.
“It’s kind of like a corporate bug-out bag.”
The Not So Good
The biggest stumbling block many will have with the TIG Mod Laptop 2 is the price. This 13-inch model clocks in at $450 USD. Add in one of their modular inserts and a fancy monogram and you’re well north of $500. That’s getting perilously close to the ‘luxury’ space, and I don’t think that This Is Ground is quite ready for that tough market segment in terms of fit or finish. The leather, while soft and with a nice grain, has scars and other blemishes, and the stitching and cutting is in places irregular. While none of these elements are deal breakers, it doesn’t live up to the glossiness of their Instagram account. It seems to me that This Is Ground is trying to straddle both the artisanal maker and mid-tier luxury market segments, and as a result their promise is compromised.
“The biggest stumbling block many will have with the TIG Mod Laptop 2 is the price.”
The other issue to be aware of is that you need to stow your gear carefully in the Mod. Laptop + tablet + bulky hard drive means that the smooth lines of the case might be marred by an unsightly bulge.
Others to Consider
One of the greatest strengths of the This Is Ground Mod Laptop 2 is that there’s not a whole lot like it out there. Sure, there are squillions of laptop solutions – something like the Hard Graft All in One Laptop Folio comes to mind, but it lacks the organized storage. The other main option is a classic leather folio, which range the spectrum of office supply special to Louis Vuitton. While these are good at carrying documents and the like, they tend to fall down when it comes to laptops.
“…when I looked at it as a laptop case with benefits the Mod really made sense. Diary, pens, notebook, laptop and the other essentials all went in there.”
A marked improvement on the previous version, the This Is Ground Mod Laptop 2 offers plenty of function for the café worker and will certainly impress in meetings, but it could benefit from further refinement of promise and function.