Top positive review
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Good value for price, but it makes some compromises
on January 1, 2013
We just purchased this set and took them from one end of the planet to the other, along with a side trip so they made a total of four legs. Now onto what to expect.
Structurally, they only have reinforced corners, so an item laying on one of them will not depress the luggage much. However, along the edges there is no major support, so the suitcase will sag if any significant weight is applied to it. For the price, this is something to be expected, but it should at least be a consideration if you plan on packing anything fragile in the suitcase.
In terms of storage, there are three various sized exterior pockets that would be suitable for documents and small, relatively flat items you may want to access. Only one of these pockets can be locked. On the inside, there is a single full size mesh pocket on the top flap of each bag. Each suitcase comes with two elastic straps that will require you to rummage around in your packed suitcase to put them together.
The wheels held up well and no visible damage was seen from any trip. After being on six different plane flights, the wheels all roll as smoothly as they did when new. In fact, they are so smooth that our one year old can easily push a loaded suitcase along a smooth floor with minimal effort.
For size, they are capable (and come shipped this way) of being loaded one inside the other for easier storage. The two larger ones will not fit in any overhead bin I am familiar with. Speaking of, the smallest only came in the cabin for the final leg and was rather tricky to place in a bin. While it technically fits (by the smallest of margins in a 777 overhead bin), the wheels create some interesting problems. If the bin is the curved type found in some newer planes, the bag will actually roll forward with ease when placed lengthwise in a bin, unless there is another bag directly next to it to hold it in place. Inserting it in backwards (with the wheels facing you) will prevent this, but then makes it hard to remove as there is no bottom handle on any of these.
For weight, they weigh almost nothing, which is a good/bad thing. It takes up less of your weight allowance, and makes it easier for some to manage it. However, this partly comes from a lack of structural support throughout the entire suitcase.
Finally, on to looks. Personally, I can care less how it looks, so long as I can easily spot it on a conveyor belt. After picking these up four times, I found that I had no issue picking out the light blue ones from the sea of black and brown bags out there. However, there were two legs where rain got on them, which caused a lot of discoloration. Additionally, all that dirt and grime lurking in the cargo hold will find your suitcase and smother it with a variety of ugly spots. If looks matter, I would avoid this color.
Overall, they were easy to lift and move, and provided adequate protection to mostly clothing and books. The elastic straps were irritating to use as it requires you to hunt for them at the bottom of your stuff to hook up. Also, it would be nice to see a bottom strap because it makes lifting the suitcase up onto a luggage holder a much more enjoyable experience on your back.