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134 of 153 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well designed but a little tight for some 17-inch laptops
I chose this backpack to carry my new laptop and to replace a regular old backpack that I carry my things to work in every day. My decision was based primarily on it selling for 67% off and that it seemed like it would be big enough for my laptop. I've got a 17.3" Asus gaming laptop so it's really long and also pretty thick. This is a great bag, especially for the...
Published on February 5, 2010 by JRS

versus
442 of 464 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for a road-warrior
I bought this to replace a SwissGear 'Melton' backpack I'd been using for 3+ years. My old backpack suffered a rip when I accidentally snagged it on a sharp edge (my fault) but had otherwise been the best laptop backpack I had ever owned (of 5).

On the other hand, this SA1908 is the worst I have ever owned and I have returned it. Within hours of transferring my...
Published on July 13, 2011 by F. G. Gates


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442 of 464 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for a road-warrior, July 13, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
I bought this to replace a SwissGear 'Melton' backpack I'd been using for 3+ years. My old backpack suffered a rip when I accidentally snagged it on a sharp edge (my fault) but had otherwise been the best laptop backpack I had ever owned (of 5).

On the other hand, this SA1908 is the worst I have ever owned and I have returned it. Within hours of transferring my junk to it one of the zippers burst, just as other Amazon reviewers have reported (I now read). On my backpack it was the zipper for the small compartment at the foot of the bag and all I had in there was a couple of USB flash drives and an iPod cable. Hardly over-stressing the zip. The zippers are obviously lower quality than the ones on my previous backpack.

I had to use the backpack for a trip with 6 flights involved since I had no other backpack available. Over the course of that trip I realized:

- The TSA/Equiv do not recognize the backpack as ScanSmart and every time I was told to remove my laptop despite my opening the backpack per SwissGear instructions. (PHX, PHL, LGW (UK), MAN (UK), JFK, ATL).

- There are too few small pockets. Every pocket extends to the bottom of the laptop so you need to rummage wrist-deep or elbow-deep to find anything. I'd prefer many more small pockets to organize things.

- The top handle is set too far back to be able to place the backpack on a rolling 22" cabin-baggage rollaboard case and hold both the backpack handle and the rollaboard handle in one hand. It is possible but very uncomfortable as your hand cannot grip properly.

- The top handle is only made of quilted fabric and does not have any interior steel strengthening as other SwissGear laptops have or had. I doubt this handle would stand the test of time.

- The side-pockets intended for water bottles are too baggy and any water bottle will fall out every few minutes.

- The zipper toggles are stylish but functionally wanting. Rather than a simple toggle you can just pull, these have polygonal loops which attach to the zipper closure and every time you need to open or close a zip the toggle has fallen to the wrong angle and jammed so that you have to spend seconds fiddling with the toggle.

- There is very little padding in the bottom of the laptop compartment. If you are not super careful setting down the backpack on a hard surface you can hear the crunch as the corner of your laptop hits the floor.

In the week I had to use it the stitching in one of the shoulder straps popped and the edging began to fray away. If I kept it longer the shoulder strap would have separated. (This with one light 4lb laptop, charger, a paperback book, a few light cables, and some Bose headphones).

Overall: I hope this laptop isn't representative of all SwissGear's present products because I do hope to buy another. I'll be inspecting backpacks in person though before I purchase another.
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134 of 153 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well designed but a little tight for some 17-inch laptops, February 5, 2010
By 
JRS (Michigan) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
I chose this backpack to carry my new laptop and to replace a regular old backpack that I carry my things to work in every day. My decision was based primarily on it selling for 67% off and that it seemed like it would be big enough for my laptop. I've got a 17.3" Asus gaming laptop so it's really long and also pretty thick. This is a great bag, especially for the price and the only reason I gave only 4 stars is because it is a very tight fit for my laptop. Due to the side-access design, inserting/removing the computer is much harder than it might be if it just slid in from the top or opened up all the way. Once the computer is inside it is hard to zip up and I have to pull and stretch the edge as I bring the zipper around the corner of the laptop or the zipper pull will drag against it. Once zipped up the top corner of the laptop really pushes out hard against the zipper and I hope that after a lot of use it doesn't bust through and ruin the zipper in that spot. If I'm lucky the bag itself may stretch a little and give a little more slack. Don't get me wrong this is still a pretty large bag; if it was even just 1/2 inch taller it would be perfect.

Once the laptop is inside, the whole bag can open up like a clamshell and there is a "ScanSmart" plastic window that looks into the laptop compartment. This is supposed to be a feature that makes it easy for TSA screeners to screen your laptop at the airport. Since nothing else sits behind the laptop, by opening the bag like a clamshell it leaves the laptop side all alone without your other pockets full of stuff obscuring the x-ray image. However, as far as I knew the TSA requires all laptops to be completely removed anyway so your mileage may vary with this feature. There are several other pockets with a lot of good storage space for things like folders, pens, keys or other computer accessories. There is a dedicated MP3 player pocket inside with a little hole to push headphones through that I think will come in really handy. The TWO water bottle holders on the sides are stretchy elastic and my extra wide 32oz. bottle fits in easily. The back of the pack and the shoulder straps are both pretty cushy and there is a small elastic band on the back of the strap to hold your sunglasses if you want. The materials throughout all appear very sturdy and feel substantial. There's also a sturdy handle on the top of the bag to pick it up by or carry that way if you choose.

TL;DR version:
Should easily fit mainstream 17-inch laptops but is pretty tight for larger gaming type laptops. If you have an 18-inch don't even bother. This is probably the best laptop backpack on Amazon at this time especially for the low price. Tons of sweet storage options and well constructed; not cheaply made. Looks cool too.
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64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good bag for a good deal!!!!, April 2, 2010
By 
S. Patel (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
This bag is perfect for 17.4" laptops. Actually it reduces weight on your shoulder due it's air-flow technology. This bag is big enough to put college books or business documents. I also keep cooling hub and external hard drive in it. This is perfect for great deal. Thanks amazon.

EDIT on Jan 27 2013: I have been using this awesome bag for almost 3 years now. This is my primary bag for commuting in train. People get surprised how much this bag holds. All the chains are in perfect condition and there is no physical damage after rigorous usage. Will definitely buy from this manufacturer in future if this bag goes bad or something.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome Bag For My 17" MacBook Pro!, January 17, 2011
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
I was a little worried I'd have a hard time finding a practical bag that fit my somewhat unwieldy 17" MacBook Pro, but it fits perfectly in this wonderfully constructed backpack. I wanted a bag that could double as a travel and gym bag and decided on this one based on the great reviews and price ($59.99 a few weeks before Christmas). Even after reading so many good reviews, it has surpassed my expectations.

When I first got it, I thought it would only be good for carrying my laptop and a few accessories in the front pockets since the main part of the bag is the "Scan Smart" section, which is meant to be completely unzipped and laid out flat for airport scanners (which means you can't put much in that section aside from a few small accessories in the pouch. See the above pictures.) However, I was really impressed with the amount of stuff I could fit in the other three pockets! I can easily carry a pair of running shoes, gym clothes, travel toiletries (a quart-sized Ziploc bag full of 3oz travel toiletries fits perfectly in the smallest pocket), a bag of groceries and more without it looking like it's about to explode. The bag distributes the weight beautifully (the 17" MacBook Pro isn't light) and the cushions and "Airflow" section on the back give it a great feel. The iPod pouch in the third pocket with the headphone hole is a cool touch as well as the sunglasses hook on the left strap and side pockets--perfect for cords and phone chargers.

It's got a great look to it too. At 26, I began to feel a little self-conscious wearing the same Jansport backpack I had in high school so this is a welcome replacement. Highly recommended!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meets the quality as described., February 11, 2010
By 
JT (Madison, WI) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
I own a 16.4" Sony VAIO FW Series and it fits snugly into the laptop section of the backpack. It should fit most 17" laptops as advertised, but I can't guarantee that because my VAIO has 16:9 aspect ratio display, which makes the laptop dimensions a little narrower and longer. Comes with a strap that holds the laptop in place. It's made of strong material on the outside; however, the material used to separate the different sections of the backpack could be stronger. The color is totally black, unlike the picture shown on Amazon's page which seems a little lighter. Zippers used are pretty strong, would be great if the front zippers were the same. Back portion has lots of padding. However, it would be nice if the shoulder straps had a little more cushion. The backpack is very light, which is a good thing as most laptops add a lot of weight to the backpack. Has an interesting window design that shows the laptop when the backpack's laid open. I would've taken one star away for the material used to partition the different section of the backpack, if not for the 5 year limited warranty it comes with. For the price I'm paying for ($39.99), it's a great buy. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a laptop backpack that supports larger laptops.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would Buy Again, March 19, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
Even at full price, this backpack is worth the money. It's great for students, with a high textbook capacity, and the padded shoulder straps and back make it so comfortable to carry. Best backpack I've ever seen.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Durable Product, Excellent Buy, February 2, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack in Black
Summary: This is an excellent and durable backpack (and I don't work for "them". I'm a real buyer that have found other user's reviews helpful)

I purchased four months ago, and use it daily since then. It still looks as new.

Pros:
1. Very durable. In some cases it was so packed it was hard to carry - no signs on the shoulder straps, handle or zippers
2. The ScanSmart feature works! was never asked to take my 16" desktop-weight laptop out of the bag when scanning it in airports
3. Great padding in the laptop compartment, and excellent location close to the back
4. Has some internal pockets for smaller gadgets, an audio player pocket and a key strap for fast attach while traveling
5. Most important - great padding on the back and shoulder straps
6. Nice black look

Cons:
1. It has 2 bottle holders - for me one is enough, and the other could have been an external zipped pocket - which I really miss
2. (not for me) The rising price - I was luckey to get it for $59, others here mentioned $39 and $49 and now it's over $79 - still a good value for a long lasting bag - but you may want to wait for a sale...

I highly recommend this product. For me it was a good purchase.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Money, August 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
I bought this to replace an OGIO backpack that I wore out. It sounded like a good backpack with plenty of room for my traveling needs. Since I commute on an airplane every week, I depend on the backpack as my office. This backpack has very few pockets. I rely on easily accessible stuff like my ipod, headphones, passport, etc. The internal pockets don't hold everything, so you end up leaving stuff laying on the bottom. Makes finding things a pain. Worse yet, everything falls out of the internal pockets so that stuff also ends up on the bottom of the backpack. The scanning feature is not as great as it sounds since you still have to unzip, lay it out (this takes up more space on the belt) and then zip it back up once through security. No different than taking out your laptop. I'm giving this to my son in college since I tried to make it work and now cannot return it. Also, this does not carry well on top of your roller. Save yourself the misery and get something else, Targus 17" citygear comes to mind....
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent computer backpack for travelers, January 8, 2011
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This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
I was looking for a new laptop bag to replace my old messenger laptop bag and I'm glad I invested in this one. I've been using this bag for 3 months now and I have nothing but good things to say about it:
1. Excellent for traveling. I don't have to remove my laptop out of my bag when it has to go through the scanner at the airport so less hassle going through the security line.
2. Plenty of room and compartments for laptop accessories, key fob, business cards, pens, wallets, books, folders, etc..
3. Has 2 water bottle holders, one on each side of the bag.
4. Made out of durable material and easy to clean.
5. Straps are adequately padded and super comfortable especially when my bag weights more than 25 lbs. at times.
6. It has a slot on the strap to place my sunglasses that is pretty convenient.
7. I love the design and looks cooler than most laptop backpacks out in the market.

I'm glad I bought this bag when it was $49 3 months ago. Now Amazon is selling it for $30 more! What's up with that?
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Zippers, Inadequate Padding, July 1, 2011
By 
Jeffrey A. West (Dallas, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack (Black) Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops (Personal Computers)
I was looking for a bag to replace my SwissGear SYNERGY Bag that is now worn out after hundreds of thousands of miles of air travel and checkpoints. The only reason it needs to be replaced is because someone repeatedly slammed the overhead bin on one of the back strap clips and broke it. I ordered an SA1908 and an SA1923 and they are both no where near the quality, in terms of materials and construction, of the SYNERGY bag. Even the canvas material and stitching looks like it will wear down and tear in less than a year

The zippers on this product will obviously and easily break if you don't make sure they are in the 'right' position when you pull them. For example, if the tab is tilted to the right and 'flipped over', when you pull the zipper I'm quite certain it will break. The zipper tabs seem thin and fragile. In addition, the teeth along the zipper are too small, and it is difficult to actually close the zippers. Compared to the SYNERGY, which has large zipper teeth this bag is extremely difficult to zip closed.

As for the padding, there is not a consistent 'U' shape to the padding for the laptop. Its more like |_| with gaps where the two side pieces meet the bottom - so if your laptop positions itself in one of the corners, |_\| or |/_| then when you set the bag down you can feel the laptop hitting the floor very firmly as well. Only a laptop that is 3 inches thick or more will not suffer from this problem, and this is not 1996 so most current laptops will suffer from this.

This bag is no better than the cheap knockoff I got in China (which had surprisingly better padding).

Do not buy this bag to replace your SYNERGY bag if it is finally worn out.
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