AmazonBasics 15.6-Inch Laptop and Tablet BagCUSTOMER REVIEW
Well I am simply surprised. I have 4-5 other netbook cases and this one is significantly better than all of them, for a lower price (a word on pricing later):
* The handles are the right thickness and “feel” - they aren’t just webbing that seems like an afterthought and feels uncomfortable, they appear to be made of a thinner Neoprene style material with stitching on the “grab” area to create a nicely-formed, nice-feeling, handle. At first I thought there was a “stiffener” inserted in the handle area to give it more shape and “grippability,” but apparently its just a good choice of materials and a well-executed design. You won’t need any additional handle wrapper to be comfortable!
- I have another zipper case with a handle but would never feel comfortable carrying it by the handle around town. The handle is too flimsy to be comfortable and I don’t trust the security of the construction/stitching. This AmazonBasics case is completely different. I feel like I can have my normal day back and carry this one by hand for quick and easy access on a commuter train or bus.
* The zipper, which runs only across the top and down each side about 2”, is robust-looking - it isn’t one of those “narrow gauge” flimsy looking zippers (technically, it is a “coil” not a “flat lock” design).
* As another reviewer mentioned, the zipper tabs are large enough to find and operate quickly and easily, and they are a “soft rubber” that feels good to the touch. One minor negative is the large “amazon basics” lettering on the zipper pull. Actually it is beginning to grow on me - yeah baby, I am too cheap (and too smart?) for Belkin or Built! (And got a better designed product.)
* There is NO zipper or “single stitch seam” at the bottom of the bag. Look carefully at some other designs. Make sure that when you send the bag down there is actual padding on the bottom of the bag so the netbook won’t “slam” down hard on the table top, floor, etc. Some bags are just Neoprene panels that are sewn together at the seams along the perimeter, and the stitching compresses the Neoprene at the perimeter so it can’t do its cushioning job.
- My netbook nestles between the “panel seams” (the bag has two flat side panels, then a perimeter panel to give it width, just like a “normal,” larger bag) and rests on normal thickness Neoprene.
* Because the zipper isn’t full length on the sides (you only need the zipper across the top, it is plenty wide, for getting the netbook in and out), there is less risk of failing to close the zipper completely and having the device slip out one end.
* The inside of this bag is ORANGE so you can easily make sure you haven’t left something inside.
* There is a zippered side-slot on the exterior of the bag which may, in fact, be large enough for a Nook as another reviewer noted. There is ample room for a typical power brick with cord, although that would pretty much ruin the appearance of the bag for carrying, but would be helpful for transiting security (if you have to remove power bricks as well as small computers).
- I checked this side-slot for use with both an external DVD player and with a couple of external hard drives. All fit with room to spare (well, not at the same time!).
- My preferred use for this side slot is to carry memory sticks and an older (3rd gen) iPod Touch. The Touch “boots up” much more quickly than a netbook for quick email and Facebook monitoring.
Recommended modifications/usage adjustments:
- I will put some orange duct tape on one handle so I can keep a better eye on this through airport security (although I try to put my computer bag under my shoes and jacket in the bin through security).
- If I end up not liking the Amazon zipper pulls, it is a simple job to cut them off and replace with lanyard style zipper pulls from REI or other sources. But I think I will keep the stock zipper pulls.
- I will probably find an extra microfiber cloth and roll it up length-wise and lay it down across the entire width of the bottom seam to add extra padding there. It’s always handy to have a microfiber cloth around anyway, for wiping the screen on the netbook (not required often) or for wiping my iPod Touch screen (required more often).
- I won’t store the power brick in the side slot. I don’t like the bulge, not for appearance reasons so much as because it creates a potential pressure point against the netbook side. I will store a DVD player or external hard drive if I decide to carry one (the DVD player is useful for playing DVD’s purchased on a trip, the external hard drive is useful if I am taking a low-capacity netbook in which I have installed an SSD - solid state drive - instead of a conventional hard drive).
- I probably won’t carry this around like a mini-attache. But the handles are almost indispensable in getting a secure grip on the case when inserting the case and netbook into my daily carry pack or into a laptop slot in carryon luggage. The greatest risk of damage is when we pull the case out of our other bag or put it back in, and handles GREATLY reduce the risk of slipping and dropping during those moments.
- During storage at home, I will separate the battery from the main unit so it doesn’t discharge, and the side slot is a perfect place to put it (diagonally).
A WORD ON PRICING: Amazon’s prices on EVERYTHING fluctuate like the commodities market. This nice piece is selling for 20% less than when I bought it just last week (10 vs 12). You need to compare prices to other netbook bags an other online and bricks and mortar dealers before you buy so you don’t get irate later! (At 12 bucks it was a bargain at 10 it’s a steal!)