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Loved STM Bag so tried the new iPhone cases; they're keepers

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Reviewed By Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher ©2013

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Like most travel journalists, we are deluged with emails news releases and pitches about cruises, resorts, new properties, travel packages, last-minute deals and more, all over the world.

And, on occasion, we are asked to check out a new product that works nicely in an on-the-road lifestyle. That was the case when we were first introduced to STM Bags. This company out of Sydney, Australia, offered us the chance to review one of their protective coverings for our laptop — a crucial piece of equipment that every road warrior now requires.

We’re still delighted with the STM case (in bold royal blue) on our MacBook Air, the laptop we’re using now to write about the newest STM product, iPhone 5 cases.

STM Bags does indeed live up to its claim that it features incredible attention to detail and unique functionality. Read our first STM review here:

STM Bags has several “models” of iPhone 5 cases:

  • Harbour 2, which incorporates a unique hinge design, enabling seamless removal, insertion or docking of an iPhone;
  • Catch, for carrying a phone, credit card and ID, so you can travel lighter;
  • Grip, which features a unique, soft touch finish with grip texture for a secure and comfortable carry;
  • Arvo, a dual hard shell and soft touch construction with built-in kickstand for viewing. The inside lining is modeled after the iconic Sydney Opera House tile design. Satin matte finish repels fingerprints and scratches; and
  • Opera has an exterior tile pattern inspired by the Sydney Opera House.

We couldn’t wait to get our hands on a couple of them, as proud new owners of a pair of iPhone 5Cs, one in lime green; the other Caribbean blue to match our office colors (chosen to inspire memories of all those island getaways over the years).

Fletcher opted for the Grip while I went for the Harbor 2. Full disclosure: The Arvo and Opera were not among the choices when we ordered; if so, it would have been even harder to narrow it down.

Company co-founder Adina Jacobs said in the news release: “We strive to create a case that compliments the sleek form factor of the device while protecting it from everyday mishaps. It’s almost a shame to cover them with a case. So we make sure to add functionality and some style of our own to compliment the protective requirements”

Fletcher was hesitant about covering up his cool iPhone 5C because he went directly from a dinosaur of a flip phone to the cool factor that is iPhone. So, for him, the Grip was perfect. As you’ll see in the slideshow, it’s see-through so that cool Apple logo is easy to spot. I love, too, that it is “grippy.” No sliding off sleek surfaces.

STM Bags promised: Available in multiple colours, the Grip allows for easy access to all ports and a tough polycarbonate plastic shell protects a shiny new iPhone from bumps and scratches. It delivers all that. We also agree with the pronouncement that its super svelte design accentuates the slim silhouette without adding extra bulk or weight. (MSRP $20 USA)

The Harbour 2, which is protecting my lime green iPhone 5C has a unique hinge design for easy removal and docking the iPhone. Also a nifty stand function props the phone up on a tabletop (see the photo). Sleek and super lightweight, the innovative case comes in four colors: black, green, purple, grey. I went for the green and love how fashionably it matches my green phone. (MSRP $30 USA)

And, bonus: STM has partnered with RewardTag™, a unique program that protects your gear in case of loss. With every STM purchase, users now receive a free RewardTag sticker to affix to your device or bag. By creating your own reward online the finder of the lost item now has a good incentive to return it. For more information on the program, visit to

We are both thrilled with our STM iPhone cases. We’ve already had a few folks ask where we got them. Like Fletcher, I hated covering up my cool phone so we’ll be switching back and forth as soon as I can talk him into letting me try the Grip. But then I have to let go of the Harbour 2. Hmmm. What to do?


Founded in 1998 in Sydney, Australia, STM Bags ( offers a full range of lifestyle oriented laptop bags, iPad cases, iPhone cases and accessories. STM’s mission is to provide a more comfortable, secure and stylish means to transport your digital gear. All STM products are backed by a product lifetime warranty.

Ready To Shop? Visit STM was founded in Sydney, Australia, and has offices in Poway, CA, the UK and Shanghai, China.

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy these:

• Other stories by J.S. Fletcher, International Travel Examiner
• Stories by Kathy M. Newbern, Luxury Travel Examiner
• More international travel stories by this team

Raleigh International Travel Examiner J.S. Fletcher and spouse, Kathy M. Newbern, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created and, their personalized romance novel business.



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