Notebook computers are an excellent way to remain mobile while staying productive — but they are also fragile machines that need to be transported with care. That’s not going to happen if you’re toting your notebook around in a recycled grocery bag or sticking it in your handbag amongst makeup, pens and gum. After spending time and energy finding the best stylish new notebook for you, it only makes sense to be sure that you transport it with safety and style. That’s where picking the right bag for your notebook comes in, whether you envision toting a backpack or a shoulder-sling style messenger bag. In this article we will look at three of the most highly rated notebook computer bags on the market, and will hopefully give you some ideas about which style of bag is right for you.
One good place to look for recommendations is a place where the tech-savvy meet and discuss all things about gadgets—tech blogs. One tech blog, Engadget, rates the Oakley’s AP Backpack 3.0 highly as the ideal carrier for the tech-centric notebook owner. The AP Backpack 3.0 is made of high-density polyester—in this case, the 600 denier stuff. It measures 18 inches high, 12.5 inches wide and seven inches deep. It features a “stuff sack”-style entry with drawstring closure and a flap. It costs US$160 from the Oakley website.
According to Engadget, what makes the Oakley AP Backpack 3.0 attractive is, well, its attractiveness. It’s not the typical blend notebook bag. Instead, it’s a military-inspired all-black carrier with serious looking hardware in the form of metal carabineers acting as clasps on the front. It has a plethora of pockets in addition to the spacious main compartment, including a slot for your mobile phone on the side. Of course, it also has a notebook sleeve to protect your machine.
Perfect for activities as diverse as hiking and commuting in a crowded city, Oakley’s AP Backpack 3.0 can handle the toughest trips with your notebook. The crew at Engadget even tested this bag by stuffing it full of technical gadgets (including a computer, tablet, camera, and adapters, among other devices) as well as clothing and accessories. Despite the multitude of objects, they still found that there was plenty of space to spare. Now that’s a lot of gear, even for the most tech-obsessed notebook owner, and moderate or casual tech users should be covered as well.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the compact Booq Boa Squeeze. It’s a backpack made of 1680 dennier ballistic nylon with a lining made of 420 denier ripstop polyester. Its dimensions are a width of 11.8 inches, height of 17 inches and depth of 6.3 inches. It features two small zipper pockets on the sides and one in the centre and a main compartment that contains six smaller pockets and compartments. Naturally, a densely padded notebook compartment lined with soft Nylex is also included in the main compartment. It costs US$99.95.
According to CNet, the Boa Squeeze may seem too small for your notebook at first glance. But its unconventional curved design means that it actually has more space than meets the eye. A CNet review noted that the curved zippers created a “padded gear-tube” that stores a large quantity of items. For example, while the Boa Squeeze officially fits a 15-inch notebook, CNet put a thick 16-inch notebook inside easily, and there was still room to spare for books and a power adaptor. CNet also used the Boa Squeeze to carry an SLR camera body, books and other portable gadgets to great success, and the technology portal on CNet gave the Boa Squeeze four out of five stars.
While both the Boa Squeeze and the Oakley AP Backpack 3.0 exude a futuristic and unconventional attitude, the winner of Gizmodo’s best notebook bag test is something with a decidedly more traditional look and feel.
Gizmodo found Jansport’s Cross Talk Messenger to be the best notebook bag among several that it tested. The Cross Talk Messenger is a messenger bag, so it is carried with a shoulder strap. It has a 16-inch height, 12.4-inch width and 4.4-inch depth. It’s made of 12-ounce cotton canvas and is available in four colors. It costs US$50, and so is a great affordable option for students.
According to Gizmodo, the Cross Talk Messenger is not the most spacious of all the notebook messenger bags it tested, losing out to Manhattan Portage’s Flatiron, for example, in the size stakes. But the Cross Talk Messenger’s more compact size added to its mobility and ease of use, while its padded shoulder strap added to its comfort. Gizmodo also noted that its traditional styling and cotton canvas exterior made it all the more attractive, drawing on nostalgia and familiarity in a way the other bags couldn’t. Finally, its low price tag — the Flatiron cost four times as much — meant that the scales were tipped in the Jansport carrier’s favor as the tech blog’s top notebook bag.
The next time you head out with your notebook computer consider using a bag of similar features for the most protection. Even if you don’t choose one of the bags on this list, be sure to take care when transporting your mobile devices or you may be in line for a replacement faster than you like.
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