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Customer Review

167 of 190 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
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This review is from: SwissGear SA1908 Black TSA Friendly ScanSmart Laptop Computer Backpack - Fits Most 17 Inch Laptops and Tablets (1908215) (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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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 21 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 2, 2010, 7:32:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 2, 2010, 7:32:19 PM PDT
R. Choi says:
Do you feel that loading 2 or 3 textbooks in it would put pressure on the laptop?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2010, 4:44:28 AM PDT
J.R. says:
I think 2 or 3 textbooks would be fine and wouldn't put too much pressure on the laptop.

The tightness I described was mostly related to the length from top to bottom and was hard to zip up over the top of the laptop compartment. My laptop is pretty thick too so it was also tight depth-wise but it still left a lot of room in the rest of the bag. The next compartment for books or whatever is a good 4"-5" deep and 2 or 3 common textbooks would fit in there easily without pressing too hard; since they are flat it distributes any pressure around quite a bit.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2010, 7:33:59 AM PDT
R. Choi says:
thanks, JRS!

Posted on Sep 30, 2010, 10:35:52 AM PDT
J. Lee says:
I also have an Asus 17". Thank you for your review, it was very helpful with my decision making and I am happy with the backpack.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2011, 9:10:31 AM PST
mukhi says:
you said it will be a little tight for some 17-inch laptops, how about a 17.3"? will it just fit or you really have to try hard to make it fit? i like "just fit" padded chamber because it will not let laptop move at all within preventing it from possibility of damage. TIA.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2011, 1:09:14 PM PST
J.R. says:
Mine is actually 17.3" and also thick but it just fits in the laptop slot. I can't use the little velcro strap they put in there but it fits really nice and snug so it doesn't move around at all. It takes some practice on the angle to insert it and then you have to pull on the outside edge to get the zipper around the corner of laptop but once it's in it is in there securely.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2011, 1:29:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2011, 1:32:09 PM PST
mukhi says:
@J.R.S.
<<I can't use the little velcro strap>>

thanks for the reply. so although laptop just fits, you can't use velcro strap because the laptop does not go totally inside the padded chamber? i actually had the same situation (did fit, but velcro couldn't be used) with lenovo 15" backpack with my 14", and i returned it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 10, 2011, 3:14:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 10, 2011, 3:18:20 PM PST
J.R. says:
The strap in the laptop compartment is completely removable and fits horizontally across laptop. The whole laptop fits in there; mine is just too thick to leave any room for the strap. Since it is in there so snug and doesn't move I just took the strap out and don't use it. The rest of the compartments still have plenty of room. I guess I could use the strap if I really took the time to attach it and cram it in together but it would be a pain in the ass.

Posted on Jan 20, 2011, 10:57:07 PM PST
F. Young says:
Current TSA regulations allow you to open this type of bag up without removing the laptop. International airports may be a different story though.

Thanks for the review!

Posted on Sep 13, 2011, 6:45:12 PM PDT
Thanks for the TL;DR version.
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