Top positive review
722 people found this helpful
A (very) detailed review
on April 11, 2010
I searched high and low for in-depth reviews on this product, and came up short, so here you are:
Purchased: Dark Brown Kenneth Cole Reaction Messenger Bag
Full Description (What you can't see from the pictures):
- 13 inch width, 3 inch thickness (small-medium bag)
- Single gusset interior pocket, 2.5 inches
- 2 pockets on front of bag containing:
- -Left Pocket: Phone Holder (Blackberry-Tour sized with space)
-Right Pocket: 3 business card/credit card slots, 2 pen holders.
- Interior zipper pocket roughly 10 inches across.
- Back magazine pocket sitting directly behind handle, lined with same material as the interior.
- Strap pattern leading down both sides of the bag.
- The bag pulls off what very few male (or androgynous, as this bag is in the small-medium category) messenger bags can do: it looks great when you're wearing sweatpants or when you're wearing a business suit. The brown is dark enough to seem professional, light enough to go with a black suit (just don't carry it all around with you during a banquet; it's not a man-purse), and has a simplistic enough stitch to come off youthful and assertive.
- The dark brown does not run at all. My guess is that most of the bags that have an issue with the leather bleeding are black.
- It is very portable in comparison to many male messenger bags. At only 3 inches in thickness, it doesn't seem you are carrying your entire life with you.
- Currently my bag is holding my 10" Asus netbook, a 600-page softback textbook, a clipboard, a 20 ounce Coca-Cola, my blackberry, 2 pens, wallet, optical mouse, and keys. The front pockets still have some room for probably a one-subject notebook, a magazine or two in the exterior pocket, and my laptop charger and portable phone charger in the front pockets. This would be the full capacity of the bag, though.
- the leather strap already comes at an excellent size for a 5'10" to 6'0" man, and can be adjusted for several sizes. The shoulder pad is pretty comfortable, fits well with the bag, and stays still when you want it but can be slid to the position you want.
- the magazine pocket is big and has its own magnetic closer. You won't want to put anything other than large magazines or flat objects or it will dig into your thigh.
- The bag is a soft bag, and the leather cover folds in unusual places when being worn or hung up. This will eventually leave marks in the top on the leather. It won't diminish the overall professionalism of the bag, but can be annoying to OCD users who insist on the bag keeping form or folding right at the center.
- The cover stays closed magnetically, and the magnets aren't all that strong. I have lifted the bag by the handle successfully (while the bag is very full) without the covers sliding open, but if the cover is already open, the bag could fold over and let objects in the gusset slide around.
- The strap looks professional but feels awkward when picking the bag up. The bag tips slightly forward when you grab it. I like the positioning because your eyes aren't drawn to the handle when you see the bag, but for those who like a briefcase-style open, it can be a problem.
- The strap must be put on the right side, or else your neck will feel the strain. This is slightly annoying for people like me who like to grab their back while walking and throw it on.
- This bag will take damage. The wear is very natural and still looks professional (it is leather, after all), but marks will become noticeable eventually over time.
- This is most definitely not cushioned for your laptop, nor will it fit a standard laptop above 13" (and 13" is a stretch).
- It is not designed to carry your life when traveling.
- It is a high-volume bag, meaning you may run into others with the same bag even in your own company.
Why 5 Stars?
- It is incredibly multi-purpose for the business user. Any efficient businessperson has made the move to the comfort and portability of the netbook/smartphone combo. It still works for a student, as well, although don't expect it to hold your netbook and several classes worth of books at once. I am a Graduate student who works full time, and it's very nice to go from class, make a quick pit stop to drop off my books and fill it with business work, a drink, and some snacks, and go straight to work.
- Not only does it fit the usability criteria, it also fits the fashion criteria. Nobody, man or woman, will look bad wearing this bag (until they treat it as a man-purse).
- Not only does it fit the criteria to make it look like a Man's messenger bag, it is small and does a LOT with the space it has. A normal Man's messenger bag is 1-2" thicker.
- Every con of the bag does not take away from the versatility or fashion of the bag. They are minor nuisances that take a few minutes to figure out and adjust to, and in only a few days they had become natural for me.
- All together, this bag is more impressive and better looking than many bags several hundred dollars more expensive. If this bag cost $400, it would earn a lower star rating, but it's very similar quality (minus obvious finishing touches of lavish bags) for 75% off the price.