Laptop Backpack ReviewS
The Brain Bag is the Suburban SUV of laptop backpacks. You can carry 7 kids, a dog, and three floaties for the pool in it. No, really, it has huge amounts of room, great protection, and great organizational features, especially with the Freudian Slip. The front compartments, as it damn well should be, a big open space to load stuff in. Books. Magazines. A Canon 1200 USB powered scanner. Yes there is that much room. There are snaps in here to snap in an accessory that Tom Bihn produces. They were nice enough to send me their Freudian Slip which I used in here and this really help in the organization! Again... Complete Mobile Office Solution (CMOS).
Titanium 2 is constructed much like the Ti-1. Same material, same stitching (as far as I can tell) same thoughtfulness in design. It has great storage facilities with compartments and pockets tucked here and there. Heck, I had been using this backpack for about three days and actually discovered a new compartment. One that I was really glad of since it became my cable storage place.
The main laptop area has a vertical version of Brenthaven’s Powerbook sleeve, an accordion style file/paper area right in front of the laptop, and pockets for batteries, DVDs, etc. against the front wall of this compartment. I really found the accordion style file/paper area to be very convenient to put magazines, notepads, etc. I also carried my digital camera here.
The main pocket, also very roomy, is divided in two. The half closest to the wearer is square and padded -- perfect for a laptop. It secures with Velcro, and a nylon strap with a plastic clasp draws across the entire main compartment. There is also another pocket that runs along the outside of the main compartment. It's made of nylon and mesh; it's top doesn't fasten, but its trimmed with elastic and isn't the least bit gappy. I used this pocket for my sunglass case and at various times stuck my wallet or checkbook there.
I really like how it looked. My sample was blue and pewter colored. Pretty sweet. The zipper pulls were a lighter silver color which looked nice. There were also not 10,357 straps hanging off it. Shoulder straps were well padded the included waist strap worked well.
The inside back of is also padded with that Moisture Wicking Stuff ( I don’t know if I need to capitalize that but it seems important enough to do it). There is also a removable hard plastic insert to help with rigidity, but if you remove it you and Steve Irwin (Crocadile Hunter guy on TV) will have to wrestle it back in. It’s not easy.
Clive : Citizen
Pros: Good construction. Very comfortable to wear. Kickin' color scheme.
Cons: Where's the cell phone pocket/pouch? No outside drink pocket.
Here is another Clive Classic. This backpack carries on the tradition of the retro Space 1999 and Gery Anderson’s 1970’s UFO look. Very simple and clean. This backpack is the perfect candidate for general trekking surround the urban jungle or campus.
The first thing that you notice is that there is a flap that covers 2/3 of the front of the bag. This flap is held closed by two clip buckles and a strip of velcro. As far as I can see this flap has two functions; one is to cover the some of the organizational features such as pens holders, key clip, etc. Underneath the bottom part of the flap where the velcro attaches to the backpack is another compartment that has an interior CD/MD/MP3 pocket and a headphone cord port. The main compartment is large and roomy just like you want it to be. You can stash coats, gloves, books, a laptop in a sleeve, etc. here.
Like all of Clive’s products this was a very comfortable backpack to use and wear.
I missed two things on this backpack. One was a place for a mobile phone. Not only is there no pocket or shoulder strap pouch but because of the way the shoulder straps are constructed, there is no easy way to add an after market one either. I also missed an outside pocket for a drink bottle.
The Citizen is a great simple backpack. It’s clean lines and color scheme evoke a retro futuristic feel. There is plenty of room for your gear in the main compartment and basic but adequate organizational features. All around this is an impressive offering from Clive.
And did I mention I really dig the color scheme?
AVERAGE SCORE 8.7
Construction 8.5 • Comfort 9 • Organizational Features 8 • Protection 8 • Aesthetics 10
Clive : Traffic
Pros: Good construction. Great looks. Perfect size for an iBook Dual USB. Very comfortable. Mobile phone pouch on chest strap. Yipeeee!
Cons: Gosh...I don't know.
The Clive Traffic is an across the chest sling bag. It also has that color scheme that I love so much. The Traffic is not meant to be a laptop bag but I believe that it would make a kickin’ iBook (Dual USB) bag. A sleeve for the iBook would add protection but it isn’t a necessity. The iBook will fit great.
The bag has a flap that kinda wraps around the front of the bag, velcro's and snap buckles closed. On the backside of this flap is a zippered pocket. Underneath the flap on the front of the main pocket are pen holders, another small zippered pocket, and a few other compartments.
The main compartment is one large area and as I mentioned earlier could easily hold a small laptop like the new iBook or Sony Vaio.
The chest strap is very comfortable and buckles closed rather than relying on velcro. This only adds to the overall comfort and feeling of security. On the chest strap is a mobile phone pocket that fit my phone nicely. I wonder if it would fit an iPod? Anyone wanna donate an iPod to bagreview.com?
The Traffic would make a great bag to cruise around town in when not allot is needed to be carried. A small laptop, CD/MD player, a magazine, etc. would do nicely in here. The Traffic is one great bag and a keeper.
AVERAGE SCORE 8.7
Construction 8 • Comfort 9 • Organizational Features 8.5 • Protection 8 • Aesthetics 10
Willow Design: Titanium Light Brief
Pros: Small and lightweight.
Cons: Organizational features are lacking. Certain compartments are basically unusable. Aesthetics need a little attention.
After my experience with the Jacques Pack from Willow Design, which I really liked, I guess I was expecting too much from the Titanium Light Brief. I can’t say enough good things about the Jacques Pack. It was a superb backpack/brief. I hated to switch to a new bag.
I really missed all of the compartments that the Jacques provided. I always had ALL my gear with me and I always seemed to have room for more. With the TiCase, I never seemed to have enough room or had what I needed. The closest comparison I can make to the TiCase is the RacerX from Waterfield Designs and the RacerX is simply better.
The first problem I encountered was that there was no where to put papers or a magazine. Oh sure, there is a pocket on the back of the bag, but you have to stand the papers/magazine up on end because the bag is not wide enough to lay them down. Well, that presents a problem. If I stand the stuff up, then it interferes with the handle. Like, you can’t hold on to it!
I will say that the main compartment was nice and I did like how the Powerbook was held in place vs. just sitting’ there. There is a zippered mesh pocket built into the lid of the laptop compartment but I never could figure out what was supposed to go there. Anything of any depth (AC Adaptor, power cord) would press against the top of the Powerbook. Not good.
On the front there is a zippered compartment for pens and the like but the areas provided were too small to fit what I was carrying in. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect companies to call me a custom design around what I carry, but a PDA and Zip 250 is not uncommon for Ti:G4 owners to have and I had no place to really put them. I ended up just sticking them in the compartment. My cords were put into a zippered mesh pocket, similar to the one in the main laptop compartment, located in the pens compartment. I used the zippered pocket on the front of the bag for my checkbook (yea, I still use paper checks. Sometimes.) and my mobile phone bill (eeek).
The two aspects of the bag that performed adequately was the laptop compartment and the handle which is, I must say, well done. If you are looking for a lightweight, basic carryall check this out and the RacerX. I would recommend the RacerX.
AVERAGE SCORE 7.8
Construction 8 • Comfort 8 • Organizational Features 7.5 • Protection 8 • Aesthetics 7.5 • RETAIL PRICE $75.00
The Webmaster is one serious business bag. Really that’s what its name should have been. The Swiss Army One Serious Business Case. Sounds good, eh? The bag expands with zip out section to add even more room if needed. Needless to say, I was able to carry my list in its entirety. If you are looking for a bag that will carry all you have and weight is not a prime consideration or if you travel a lot and take your desk with you then check out the Swiss Army Webmaster. The construction will not fail you, it looks high-end and offers top-notch laptop protection.