Top positive review
82 of 93 people found this helpful
Chaotic ordering process, but the product's not bad.
on April 26, 2011
Whoops! Samsonite's warehouse sent me the wrong color at first. To make matters worse, they sent me the girly purple color they had been trying to sell for cheaper than my color.
Amazon recommended that I start by calling Samsonite's customer service. I did, and of course they helpfully suggested that I call Amazon. But I stayed on and explained my situation, and they located the mistake in their own records and apologized for sending the wrong thing.
Unfortunately, this first call resulted in being promised a replacement that never got shipped, and being promised a confirmation e-mail of the return that never got sent. And after a week of waiting, I got an e-mail that was worded as if the first call to Samsonite had never happened, telling me that this is Amazon's problem to take care of.
I e-mailed them back with a detailed explanation of all the (mis)communication that had taken place so far and they apologized for putting me through the run-around, sent the correct one, and most importantly, promised to streamline their communication with Amazon.
Overall everyone was very friendly on the phone, I am happy with my product now. No more hassle to go through now.
About the bag itself:
I use the bag to carry a heavy laptop and school materials to and around campus and it's definitely up to the task.
It seems durable and well made; nothing's out of whack so far even though I've used it a lot. I got to try two of them, and there weren't any obvious manufacturing differences so quality control seems to be ok.
The backpack is indeed a little noisy over cobblestone and sidewalk cracks, but completely silent at all other times.
The handle only has one length setting and I'm not so sure about that. I was surprised it's not longer; I'm very short and it seems just the right height for me.
When you're picking up the backpack for a curb or stairway, you have to bend down and pick it up by the strap; you cannot safely pick it up by the metal handle. I can tell it's not strong enough for that. The handle's clearly designed to only take force in one direction; putting any diagonal force on it tends to tweak it out of where it's attached. Secondly, it's designed for an amount of force equal to pulling the backpack while it's on the ground, not pulling the whole weight of the full backpack into the air. If you're buying this for a kid, of course they're going to yank it by handle anyway, so it won't last as long.
I found the straps to be adequate even though they're not as padded as you'd get out of a regular backpack.
For going up several flights of stairs you may want to switch to the straps, but this is hindered a bit by how the zippers for uncovering the straps get caught. Since I was able to try out two of these backpacks, I can say that both of them had this problem with that zipper. I learned that the problem is not the zipper itself; it's actually getting caught in a triangular flap where the straps mount. This is sort of a design flaw. To get around it, you have to pull the zipper an inch up and then down again until it gets past that point and lets the straps come fully out.
About the "rolling backpack experience" in general:
I was actually slightly underwhelmed with the savings in physical effort required by a rolling backpack vs. a normal one. It's not effortless; you do have to hold your arm and shoulder in an unnatural position and apply a bit of constant force (on anything but a downhill), which could lead to the same type of shoulder strain / repetitive stress soreness of regular backpacks, which I was trying to get away from. Just less of it, maybe.
Also, whenever you get to any sort of curb or stairway (which turn out to be much more common than you would notice with a regular backpack), you usually have to bend down to pick the full weight of the backpack up (if you try to skip this step in a hurry, you risk the wheels skipping off the ground, spinning the backpack around until you fix it). Bending down and picking it up by your arm strains the back moreso than if you just carried a regular backpack up the same stairs, where the weight would be properly placed over your center of gravity.
The real benefit of the rolling packpacks, then, comes not from reduced strain but from the added amount of stuff you can carry around. Although it's still a strain rolling one of these around all day, you don't really feel much difference if it's full of heavy stuff or nearly empty; that weight is pressing down on the ground, not you! Practically speaking, this means that I can comfortably carry around my laptop, textbooks, notebook, water bottle, and a jacket all the way to and across campus, whereas with a normal backpack I could only comfortably carry the notebook without getting sore shoulders afterwards.
In conclusion, the benefit of this backpack comes not necessarily from savings in effort, but from the increased utility of being able to carry around however much you want. If you find yourself having to forego bringing certain things with you because you have a back back and are worried about having to lug it around, then this backpack is for you.
I should mention that you might stand out more with a rolling backpack at school if you're the only one with one. If you don't want that sort of attention, think about that too. Also, there are things such as "tripping people" that you suddenly have to think about, when you wouldn't with a normal backpack.