Laptop bag reviews: nine tested
Most of us wouldn’t think twice about spending hours researching that next laptop purchase, but buying a bag to protect it and carry it around rarely receives the same sort of attention.
We’re here to change all that with a selection of the very best laptop-luggers on the market, from expensive rucksacks to simple protective sleeves. Read on to find out which we like best.
Crumpler Box Boy, £159 – 3/6
Crumpler’s Box Boy couples style with big-bag practicality, accommodating laptops up to 17in. A proliferation of pockets and a zip-up front make it easy to access small items. It isn’t very comfortable, though, and doesn’t distribute weight evenly, with most resting on the lower back.
Pakuma Akara K1, £39 – 5/6 RECOMMENDED
The Pakuma K1 is a slight update of a design classic. Featuring a well-padded slot for laptops up to 17in, it’s comfy and practical, with two external pockets for small items and webbing at the sides. It could be bigger at the top, and it looks plain, but at this price you can’t complain.
Targus Dart, £50 – 5/6
The Dart easily swallows a 16in laptop in its well-padded rear compartment, and it also has a dedicated pocket for tablets or ebook readers. It boasts a ridiculous number of interior and exterior pockets, and a rain cover is zipped into the base; irritatingly, however, it can’t be detached for drying.
knomo Saxby, £115 – 5/6
The ultra-stylish Saxby isn’t the biggest shoulder bag around, but it’s one of the best made. It will take laptops up to 15in, and with its padded microfibre interior, you can be sure your pride and joy will be kept safe from knocks and scrapes. Best for the Ultrabook crowd, though, since there isn’t an awful lot of room for a charger.
Crumpler Chester Stallion, £159 – 4/6
To test this enormous bag, we stuffed a 4kg, 17in gaming laptop into its internal sleeve and lugged it home. The bag coped fine, spreading the weight well with its “third leg” stabiliser strap, and it has lots of pockets, plus a zip-up front for easy access. It’s pricey, but very stylish and practical, and comes with a 30-year guarantee.
Crumpler Good Boy Slim, £79 – 3/6
Crumpler’s bags are always stylish and well made, plus they come with a 30-year guarantee. This minimalist shoulder bag/briefcase is a little light on protection, though, with little padding at the bottom of the bag or in the laptop sleeve. There’s plenty of room inside for chargers, but it’s basic for the money.
BRIEFCASES & SLEEVES
Targus Revolution, £42 – 6/6 RECOMMENDED
It lacks style, but this Targus is very practical. It will take laptops up to 14in (there’s a 16in one too), and it can be used as a briefcase or shoulder bag; a stretchy section of the strap takes the weight. The laptop section has an “airbag” insert at the bottom to protect against knocks, and there’s plenty of room for extras. Excellent.
Targus Pulse laptop skin, £13 – 2/6
Taking a dedicated laptop bag out and about isn’t always practical. But if you’re slinging it in a bag with lots of other gear, it’s still going to need protection. That’s where sleeves come in, but this one from Targus isn’t the best we’ve seen: the neoprene just doesn’t provide enough padding.
Pakuma eco 2 bag, £12 – 2/6
The greenest laptop bag around, Pakuma’s eco 2 bag uses recycled plastic bottles for its outer casing and inner lining. It feels well made, with plenty of padding and a tough finish on the outside. Perhaps Pakuma should have used recycled metal for the zip: it broke the first time we used it.