A laptop sleeve that does a little more than protect your laptop, the Journey Nexa offers a way to charge your gear to go. Kinda sorta.
Working from home as many of us still do, it can be all too easy to forget that laptops still need protection. When you move a notebook from points A, B, C through to Z, you may find that keeping the laptop protected from not just the elements, but everything in your bag, isn’t an easy task.
And all in an accessory that has hardly evolved.
Every laptop sleeve has one thing in common: they’re all made to protect your laptop. That is literally their only job.
Except maybe for the Journey Nexa, a laptop sleeve with a difference. A couple of points of difference, even.
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What is the Journey Nexa?
Not just another laptop sleeve, the Journey Nexa takes what we liked about the Alti desktop mat and marries it to a laptop sleeve.
Specifically, it’s a laptop sleeve made with vegan leather featuring a built-in MagSafe/Qi phone charger and an extra charging pad for something smaller, such as a pair of AirPods Pro or something else that charges over wireless charging.
What does it do?
Because of this extra charger section, the Nexa does that little bit more than your standard laptop sleeve.
Sure, it protects your laptop, but it can also be used to charge your phone and earphones, something so many of us rely on each and every day.
Those of us with an iPhone 12 and higher will be able to use the MagSafe magnetic charger for phone charging, and anyone with a phone that supports wireless charging (going as low as the Pixel 7a, for instance) can use the same charging pad minus the magnets.
There’s also an extra charging pad for wireless earphones (or phones) so you can charge two devices at once using a laptop sleeve. No, we’re not kidding.
Granted, you can’t charge them while you’re carrying the laptop. The charging pad is on the flip-over cover for the sleeve, so you won’t be walking through the streets MagSafe charging your phone using it. Rather, it’s for your desk, effectively turning your laptop sleeve into the Journey Alti charger-equipped desk mat, which we reviewed earlier.
Does it do the job?
Journey’s Nexa will definitely protect your laptop and provide a charger, something you might forget to bring from time to time.
This year’s iPhones all support it, as do last year’s and a generation or two before that, so it’ll recharge quite a few phones, plus many Android devices, too. They may not have magnetic wireless charging until Qi2 appears in devices next year, but many support wireless charging as it is, and Qi supported handsets will charge on either panel.
It’s very much a charger for when you’re sitting at a desk, though, not so much one while you’re walking around.
You can also use the sleeve as a desktop mat and mouse pad, and it definitely functions as that, giving you a little more than just laptop protection.
What does it need?
Weirdly, the one thing that seems to be missing in action with this sleeve is a place to store the cable to make the thing charge. It seems minor, but the omission of a little pouch means you still need to find a place to bring the cable that pieces all of this together.
If the Nexa had a pouch — or even just the room for the cable — you could probably just bring the Nexa with your laptop, and carry your phone and earphones in your pocket. And you’d be done. Without the pouch, though, and you still kind of need some luggage or a bag of some kind. It’s minor, but it would be welcome.
Is it worth your money?
Available in two sizes — one covering both 13 and 14 inch laptops, and the other for 15 and 16 inch models — the Nexa 4-in-1 sleeve is $129.95 regardless, basically making it sized for any MacBook, though it can feel snug all the same.
It’s a tight squeeze for a laptop sleeve when we tested with both an older style of MacBook Air and the newer 14 inch MacBook Pro (which isn’t technically a bad thing), and manages to bundle in an extra charger or two for the price.
The idea is clever, but the price is definitely much higher than other laptop sleeves, with premium sleeves typically fetching between $60 and $90, and the Nexa still a good $40 higher. You’re definitely paying for the extra-ness of having that charging tech inside, which is handy, but may not be worth the extra cash.
Yay or nay?
Journey’s Nexa sleeve is clever and handy for folks living in the iPhone-MacBook world, but we’re not sure it’s a must have by itself. The idea is neat and the sort of thing that could make travel that much easier, especially since you won’t need to carry extra chargers with you.
But for the cost of the sleeve, we’re not sure it’s the accessory every MacBook owner will necessarily want. You could get all three accessories for a lot less from other brands, that’s for sure.
If you’re a huge fan of minimalism and convergence alike, there’s something to like, but we’d wait for the price to drop or for a second version with that extra plug storage. That might just be us.