These Cozy Jackets Have Giant Pockets Just so You Can Take Your Tablet Outdoors

Lenovo teamed up with fashion designers to make outerwear for carrying—and using—its Android tablets outside the home.
Person wearing Lenovo Tab Wear
Kit Wan Studios' tactical vest keeps your tablet safe as you navigate the urban jungle.Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

Have you ever thought, “Damn, I wish I could put this laptop-sized tablet in my jacket”? No? Well, Lenovo did. The PC maker challenged three clothing brands to design garments that have space to store its tablets—specifically Lenovo's extra-large 14.5-inch Tab Extreme. Waiting for the bus? Just zip open the giant pouch on your chest, whip out your tablet, and instantly be the coolest person at the bus stop.

This project is more or less a marketing stunt for Lenovo's tablets. The brand kicked off a sales campaign for its tablets during the pandemic using the motto “Me Time.” According to Wahid Razali, marketing director at Lenovo, people choose a tablet over their PC or smartphone when they want to really get absorbed in something. “It's the one product you go to by choice for doing things that bring you joy—a feeling of fulfillment.”

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Ranra's anorak has a pouch in the lower half that unzips and turns into a walking desk.

Photograph: Lenovo

Since most people exclusively use their tablet indoors, Lenovo's Tab Wear Collection makes it easier for users to take their “me time” device anywhere. The outerwear designs from the three participating brands—Ranra, Kit Wan Studios, and Maium—were only meant to serve as proof of concept pieces. But Maium liked its design of an inflatable pink puffy jacket so much that it's now launching a limited run that lets you order one through December 31.

Razali says Lenovo's research in 2022 found a correlation between tablets and fashion; people who were using tablets and displayed an overall enthusiasm for technology tended to also have a high interest in fashion. Turns out folks in Silicon Valley might not just be wearing Patagonia fleeces and hoodies.

I got a chance to don all three pieces. Frankly, they are more interesting than you might think. London- and Reykjavik-based designer Ranra had the most practical piece of the lot. The brand's anorak has a large pouch in the middle. Open up that pouch and you can throw the hidden strap around your neck to hold up the tablet and use it handsfree. It's kind of like those walking laptop desks. The oversize hood is meant to block out sound and noise so you can be a bit more engaged with your media. You can fold the ends of the hood to make it a little smaller when you don't need to be that engrossed.

If none of that is impressive, well, there's a whole shoulder bag hidden in the inner back of this jacket. If if it gets too warm to wear the jacket, just clip off the shoulder bag and stow the jacket inside. Too bad this one's just a concept.

The Amsterdam designer Maium's giant pink jacket, the one you can buy, retails for €499 (around $530). It's a longer design that covers your arms and legs to keep you dry if you're walking or biking in the rain. It also inflates! This helps increase its insulating powers, but also gives it some extra padding so you can use the whole thing as a blanket if you're at the park. Better yet, you can convert the jacket into a hammock (yes, really) and take a nap inside of it. Naturally, there's a zippered pouch in the front and back to store a tablet.

Finally, there's the design from Kit Wan Studios from Hong Kong. This one's a bit more out there thanks to the steampunk-esque pieces of metal poking out of the tactical vest. Loosen the vest and it doubles as a way to hold the tablet in place so you can use it handsfree. The rest of the outfit has a smart clip-on system to attach or detach several of its pieces in a modular fashion.

Lenovo's Tab Wear Collection is hardly the first time the worlds of fashion and technology have blended. Google famously partnered with Levi's to make denim jackets that could understand touch gestures to trigger certain activities on your smartphone, like advancing tracks in a playlist or finding the ETA of your Uber ride.

It's not quite clothing, but Lenovo-owned Motorola also recently showed off a bendable smartphone display you can slap on your wrist like a bracelet. Up-and-coming Humane is also leaning heavily into fashion with its AI Pin, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week. I've always liked it when tech companies think beyond the routine of iterative upgrades and stir up some fresh product ideas instead. Lenovo's concept is fun, though perhaps we should see the outdoors as a place to take a break from our screens rather than as a place where we can use them even more.

While I like Lenovo's jackets, I'd rather see the company support the software on its tablets for a longer period by offering more Android upgrades and security fixes. Maybe then I'd spend $500 on a jacket to carry one everywhere.