What Bag Carries Your Geekd’m? – Part 3 of a Three-Part Series Review of the Best Laptop Slings 2009

May 18, 2009

One of the reasons we wanted to offer a review of sling bags is because most folks carry their backpacks like a sling, and yet there are so few laptop slings on the market.  There are millions of “casual professionals” toting computers in their daily commute, many of whom would like to be hands-free when mobile but don’t really care for the “backpack look”. The sling is a viable option for these folks, and in our quest to disclose the best laptop bags on the market, we may have uncovered a couple slings you weren’t aware of.

 

All of the bags chosen for this article series were chosen for the quality of the manufacturing, design, materials and functionality.  It’s not always about money, so we didn’t factor cost into our initial round-table discussion about which manufacturers to contact; we just wanted to contact the best.
 
Here at LitCentral Founders’ Blog we wanted to strive to do better than the mundane laptop bag reviews that inundate the web – offering a press kit, Photoshopped image and a cursory review.  In this three-part article series (What Bag Carries Your Geekd’m?) we lay hands on the product, take pictures and communicate the functionality and quality of these bags.  Part I of the series covers the best laptop and messenger bagsPart II covers the best laptop backpacks, and Part III showcases some of the best laptop sling cases on the market.

Part III – Best Laptop Slings

 Listed Alphabetically
1. Axio – Slingpack
2. Belkin – Sling Bag
3. Chrome Bags – Soma 

Axio Slingpack

Axio SlingpackIt’s obvious that Axio really thinks about the design of their bags, but even more so with the Slingpack.  The pockets and carrying straps bring a lot of functionality to the bag and yet it still fits within Axio’s sleek overall design.  It’s Axio’s attention to fine details  that makes their bags stand apart from the crowd – and the Slingpack is no exception.  

Axio sent us three bags – Slingpack, Hybrid, and  Messenger.  All three bags are black, lined with a vibrant red and constructed with this incredibly durable and easy to clean 900D polyester.  The Slingpack has two outside pockets sewn along the seams to maintain a sleek overall appearance, and the zippers are topped-off with chrome pulls.   There’s an MP3 player pouch embedded in the shoulder strap with an audio port for your headphones. 

The adjustable shoulder strap is dedicated to the left shoulder.  At first I would find myself “thinking” rather than “slinging” because it’s a natural tendency to grab things with my right hand.  After a few days of use, the hesitancy began to fade, and the bag and I became one.    I didn’t use the lower strap but it’s there if you want to secure the Slingpack across your body.   The backside lends itself to a padded panel  constructed of a breathable type mesh which is a godsend in Temecula, California, where temps reach 100-plus-degrees in the summer months. 

Inside there are three large zipper and Velcro-closure pockets, a large padded laptop compartment and additional open-face pockets for pens, and small gadgets.  Your computer is surrounded by padding (not only within the laptop chamber), as the entire bag has a thick layer of padding on all six sides. 

Honestly, this is one of the best slings on the market.  With all the thought, unique design and quality materials, Axio has the nerve to offer this bag at a sweet price point of only $84.95.   It’s one of those bags you reach for on the shelf and the moment you touch it you think, "I bet they’re charging an arm and a leg for this…", but then you flip over the price tag and…  Shhhhh!  Don’t tell Axio, it might be a mistake!

Cost: $84.95

External Size:  17”H x 12.5” W x 4.5”D
Weight: 2 lbs  2oz
Holds: 15” laptop or smaller
Material: 900D polyester
Purchase Here

Axio Slingpack

•   •   •   •   •   • 

  Belkin Sling Bag

Belkin Sling BagAs we mentioned with the Belkin Slim Backpack, this bag is a sweet bargain.  You get a cool, sleek design with durable materials, and lots of pockets for all your gadgets and important docs.  The bag is identical to the Belkin Slim Backpack, with the exception of the uni-strap located on the back.  Again… 
 
If you’re the kind that likes to throw your bag on your back and forget about it, the Belkin Sling Bag might be your perfect companion.  This sling lives up to its name, offering just enough room for your laptop, a couple of books, MP3 player, pens, and a document folder or two.
 
The top grip handle lays flush with the bag and allows for an alternate carrying method.  The laptop compartment has a soft, padded velvet lining to help protect your laptop from bumps and scratches.  Inside amongst numerous open-faced pockets, there is a detachable pouch that is perfect for housing your A/C adapter and gadget cords. 
 
There are two horizontal and vertical pockets on the front, which can accommodate other slim gadgetry such as an iPod or a cell phone. There’s also an earphone jack connected to the front pocket that allows you to thread your headphones through, up, and over your shoulder.
 
Overall, I think the Belkin Sling Bag is a really good deal for the budget-conscious writer. You get good value for your buck, and with a lifetime guarantee backed by Belkin you really can’t go wrong.
 
Cost: $49.99
External Size:  18”H x 12.5” W x 5”D
Weight: Not Available
Holds: 15.4” laptop or smaller
Material: 100% polyester

Purchase Here 

 

 

Chrome Bags Soma

Chrome Bags SomaThe Soma is really a fusion of three different types of bags – the messenger, the laptop bag, and the sling.  We put the Soma in the sling category of the article series.  This is because the way this bag is designed to be carried stands out amongst its best features.  First things first… if you haven’t heard of Chrome Bags as a writer or a techie, it’s because the company mainly markets to bicyclists.  However, Chrome Bags has moved into the laptop bag business, and inadvertently made the world a better place.  The ingenuity and genius that was once only offered to bike folks has been directed toward creating two laptop bags – the Soyuz and Soma. We covered the Soyuz in the backpack series. Let’s take a look at the Soma…
 

The exterior is crafted of a 1000 denier Cordura nylon. What does all that mean?  Well, we did a little research and found that in comparison, your average Jansport laptop backpack is made of 420 – 500 denier nylon. This is the equivalent of 500 thread count sheets vs. 1000 thread count sheets – you can literally feel the difference in the Soma quality. 

When you put the Soma on, you literally feel "strapped into" the bag, and the Chrome Bags’ signature seatbelt buckle definitely adds to the affect. There’s an under-the-arm strap that sort of pulls the bag into your body, offering a very snug feel.

Chrome Bags claims the Soma is large enough for 15” laptops.  We tested a new 15.4” Fujitsu Lifebook and found that while the exterior flap does close, there’s about 2 inches of the computer that protrudes past the interior laptop compartment, leaving part of the computer exposed inside the bag.  Therefore, we would recommend a 13” laptop model or smaller.

There are three open pockets in the main compartment plus slots for pens.  Just outside the main compartment are two vertical open pockets lined with an 18 oz weatherproof tuck tarp – good for keeping water bottles insulated and condensation off the gadgets.

We all really liked the functionality of the Soma.  It has the look of a messenger, yet you can carry it as a laptop bag using the handle strap or as a sling with the uni-backstrap.  And in summary, having already reviewed Chrome’s Soyuz in the backpack review, I described the funky cool factor that accompanies this company’s approach to design. The bags have this hip, urban, ergo, eco milieu about them that would leave even the biggest of geeks feeling a little more hip. And if that doesn’t do it, check out their clothing line.

Cost: $140.00
External Size:  15.4”H x 12.5” W x 4.75”D
Weight: 2 lbs  2oz
Holds: 15” laptop or smaller
Material: 1000 denier Cordura
Purchase Here

 

 

 

 

* Stay tuned…  We will be giving away many of the bags featured in this three-part article series!

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