A lightweight shoulder bag for your 13" Mac laptop. (April 9th, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: Be.ez
Price: $69.99 US
- Excellent construction. Lightweight. Reasonable price. Bright interior colors.
- Shoulder strap needs a wrap-pad. Questionable padding. Bright interior colors. No protective feet on the bottom.
There is an infinite variety of laptop bags on the market. While I'm partial to those made in the US by Waterfield Designs, in China by Booq, and in Australia by Crumpler, these bags have one not so great attribute in common, they are expensive. Generally, they run between $100 and $300, but are designed to last longer than your laptop most probably. Less expensive bags abound too, but usually don't use the same quality materials, may not last as long, and are more fashionable than utilitarian.
The LAbeace Classic 13" MacBook shoulder bag from French company, Be[bullet]ez (be easy), is a less expensive, but fine looking bag. The quality construction combined with its unique design makes it a good fit for students and others with lightweight needs. From the outside, it looks remarkably similar to Booq bag products, but that's as far as the similarity goes.
The LookThe 1682D nylon outer fabric wears well and all the stitching is finished off nicely. This black bag comes with a variety of interior fashion colors, but simple black or white piping gives it an outward business look. The bag I acquired at Macworld has an electric orangey-red interior (pumpkin), but you can order the interior in orange (Classic), pink, or wasabi. In addition, they sell the LAbesace LIME DROP with a yellow-green interior. It only weighs a bit over 1.5lbs, so its suitable for petite people or those who don't want to lug a suitcase.
The ConstructionWhile the shoulder bag holds it unique curved shape well, even when crunched under other paraphernalia, my concern lies with some of its lightweight construction. First, the rather small zipper travels a curved path, and I'm not confident it will last over long-term use, especially if you fill the bag with books along with your laptop. To its credit, a lip of material completely covers the zipper and keeps even the worst rain from finding its way into your bag.
The padding is advertised as "hi-density paddings up to 8mm thickness," but it doesn't invoke confidence. I prefer a bag in which I can put a laptop within a sleeve inside, and this bag includes its own laptop compartment. This compartment is open across the top, and a one-inch Velcro strap holds your MacBook in place. The top cover isn't padded as well as the bottom; so unless it is dropped in just the right way, I'm not convinced the top padding provides enough protection. Be[bullet]ez also makes laptops sleeves, but whether their sleeve fits in the bag isn't clear.
The PocketsInside the LAbeace Classic are two other compartments, made of 420D Ripstop nylon. One is perfect for holding papers or slim notebooks. The other wider pocket includes a variety of smaller pockets. An open pocket fits a spare battery or portable hard drive, such as the Iomega Ego, while three slim pockets hold pens and pencils, or Slim Jims, if you're so inclined. Four slit pockets hold little more than business cards, plus there's a plastic faced leather-like pocket for an identity tag. No extra padding or closures exist on these pockets, so I don't recommend you slip an unprotected iPod in any of them.
A medium sewn-in pocket in the front of the inside uses a zipper closure and for some reason is secured to the bag by a Velcro strip. This pocket may be useful for flash drives, small cables or even your earbuds. Yet another zippered pocket is built into the cover flap. The top half is small mesh nylon, while the bottom is the same rip-stop nylon used inside the rest of the bag. Two other pockets grace the outside of the bag. A rubber-like cover protects the odd pocket on the outside of the cover flap. I suppose you could put quick-access items there. Another six-inch wide pocket runs along the length of the back of the bag.