Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
on February 7, 2011
Ask yourself this question: do you need a larger, durable laptop bag that will easily hold even a 17" laptop PLUS many laptop accessories, a few engineering tools, and maybe a change of clothes? And since all that will weigh at least 20lbs (or more) you want a roller bag with a strong extend-able handle, so you can roll it behind you? If YES on those questions, this is the bag for you.
If instead you are the typical "travel light" enthusiast with a lightweight 15" (or smaller) laptop or netbook, this is NOT the bag for you.
You'll find this bag is very appreciated by engineers (like me) who use this bag to lug around 17" high-performance workstation laptops PLUS they stuff in another twenty pounds of laptop accessories and engineering tools. And those engineers are amazed this bag can carry all that AND handle the abuse of 100,000+ travel miles per year, being dragged up/down countless flights of stairs and down pothole-filled sidewalks in godforsaken 3rd world cities where business takes you.
Back in early 2007 I spent a week searching for a 17" laptop bag that can handle such a harsh travel environment. I probably looked at 30 different laptop bags, finding NOTHING suitable...until I found this incredibly strong and roomy roller bag manufactured by Samsill (model 39202) and branded with Microsoft name. Now after nearly four years of use, I tell you this is an EXTREMELY well-made 17" laptop roller bag. I am absolutely amazed at the abuse this bag has taken and it has not fallen apart!
A week ago I noticed Amazon.com has this same bag at this incredibly low price (compare to $120 to $150 at other retailers), so I bought a second bag by ordering off this Amazon.com product listing to which I'm now reviewing. Frankly I worried this price was "too good to be true" and so was concerned I'd receive a "cost reduced" cheaper version. However, I was relieved to see Amazon.com deliver EXACTLY the same model and quality bag that I had previously ordered for $150 about four years ago from another retailer.
I'll wrap up this review by stating some important facts about this bag:
- No shoulder carrying strap. It would have been nice to have that feature (but keep in mind, most would consider this bag too large for shoulder-strap carrying)
- The handle at top of bag has about an inch and half of padding that rests against palm of your hand, for much improved comfort
- Very high quality zippers with metal sliders. I've NEVER had one fail on this product
- It has a remarkably strong Aluminum extend-able handle. I've had so many handles break on OTHER brand bags, but never on this one. Also that handle is adjustable to different lengths, up to its max locking position that is a full 40" above the floor! That long handle means this bag does NOT have the discomfort of rolling so close behind you that your feet are constantly kicking it as you walk. This bag doesn't have that issue.
- It does NOT have a strap/web on its back side, a feature some other bags have so you can thread the bag down upon the extend-able handle of another luggage. You'll miss that feature when traveling additional luggage because you cannot safely piggyback this Samsill bag on top of a larger wheeled luggage (that has extend-able handle).
- The roller wheels are extremely durable and high quality, very close to the quality of wheels seen on Rollerblades.
- This thing has close to TWENTY separate small pockets on the interior, plus four LEGAL sized bi-fold pockets, which I've found roomy enough to hold 1" thick legal folders. Also has snap ring to clip your keys onto.
- This bag is unusual for having THREE separate zippered compartments and EACH of those is large enough to hold a 17" laptop! (I know; I tried it one day). In actual use, the middle compartment is for your 17" laptop. If you plan to use this for a 15" laptop, this bag also ships with a removable padded carrier (that holds 16" or smaller laptop) and slips into that larger middle compartment. (NOTE: most 17" laptops will NOT fit into the padded slip cover because that is for the smaller like 15.4" laptops.) The second zippered compartment is to the front and holds your books, folders, and laptop accessories, with many small pockets for pens, cell phone or whatever. The third zippered pocket (found at the back) is HUGE, measuring 2.5" deep X 16" long X 12" tall. You can literally stuff a light change of clothes in there plus it even has the suitcase-style X-shaped elastic band to hold your clothes in place.
- WARNING: when you remove the 15" padded slip cover from the middle compartment (so your 17" laptop will fit) that leaves that compartment with INSUFFICIENT padding to protect your laptop (if bag is dropped) - so I strongly recommend you add some kind of padding in that compartment around the FOUR outer edges of your laptop. This is the biggest design defect of this bag.
- In addition to the THREE large compartments already mentioned, this bag has TWO more compartments: one in front that is closed with the fold-down (Velcro closure) flap, and a thin slotted compartment at the very back (only holds maybe a couple thin manila folders)
- When they claim exterior is made of 1680D Ballistic Nylon they are not joking. This is very tough material.
- This is NOT a super stylish bag. This is a boring looking black bag; not cheap-looking, just nothing remarkable about the styling.
- I don't agree the spec that this bag weighs 11 lbs empty. I weighed it at about 9 lbs (empty and without the 15" padded slip cover in the middle compartment). That's relatively light weight; most other roller bags of this size (and durability, with these features) are heavier.
- A bit of warning to avoid SCRATCHING your laptop: when you put a laptop into the middle pocket, be sure to orient the TOP of the laptop towards the BACK of the roller bag, because that will orient the non-cosmetic bottom of your laptop against the exposed metal zipper slide. You don't want that zipper slide to scratch the decorative top surface of you laptop. You'll see the zipper slide I'm talking about as soon as you look into the middle zippered pocket of this roller bag.
It is a mystery WHY Samsill advertises this bag as only fitting up to 15.4" laptop. All you need do is pull the padded slip cover out of the middle compartment and throw it away; then this bag fits any 17" laptop with room to spare. Also, I think FEW people actually use this bag (with the padded slip cover) for a 16" or smaller sized laptop, because frankly this bag is too big if all you need is something to carry a 16" or smaller laptop.