Recently I bought a new laptop, with a 17" screen. Choosing the laptop was easy. Choosing the bag to carry it turned out to be a hassle. Why? Because very few bags are designed for these larger screens. Even some bags that claim to hold 17" screens were too small for my laptop. With few choices, I was happy to find the Solo PT920.
Recommend this product?
This is not a bag with wheels, nothing that doubles as a suit case. This is a carry-on bag, with a shoulder strap and a handle. Yes, it gets heavy when loaded, so make sure you can handle it, before investing in this type of bag.
With its black, red, and gray tones, the bag is attractive, and unique enough to stand out, so it's easy to spot among the rest of the carry-on items. And, it's not too "girly" - my husband doesn't feel self-conscious carrying it - not like some of the bags we investigated that looked a little too purse-like for his taste.
Most importantly, it holds our laptop, and quite a bit more. And it's padded in all the right places, so I feel secure that my laptop will arrive at its destination undamaged. It also has loads of extra pockets and pouches, to hold all of the accessories, and, yes, a few snacks, too.
The front of the bag is a giant flap, that secures with a 3-pronged clip. You have to lift the flap to get to any of the bag's compartments. I won't lie. I wish there were a pocket or two on the outside of the flap. It would be very convenient to slip travel documents, a few bucks, or a magazine on the outside of the flap - where the items would be readily available. But this bag doesn't have any storage outside the flap, so you're constantly having to open it.
Immediately under the flap is a very useful organizer. The various slots are designed for pens and pencils, and business cards. There's even a clear plastic slot where you could put your business card, or your license, something that you want to be able to see without removing. This organizer area is on the outside of a zip-out section. Within the next section are slots for file folders, and pouches for your cell phone, PDA, music player, etc. There's even a mesh pocket designed for - well - I'm not sure what. But if you want a meshed pocket, it's there. Finally, there's a built-in keychain. This entire section holds closed via zipper. And when the zipper is open, the section can be opened quite wide. This is very useful if you want to put several file folders in there, or a few thick items.
Finally, open the last zipper and you'll be in the last section of the bag. The most important part of this section is the padded area for your laptop. My laptop slides in easily, in either direction. I note this because with the bigger laptops you might find that some slip in one direction, but not the other; because their backs are just too wide. So, in some bags, laptops might have to go in front-first. It's not a huge deal, just something to think about when you're scrambling to put yourself and your laptop back together, after passing through airport security.
The padded section closes with a Velcro strap, which is just one more level of security, knowing that my laptop won't shift around, even if the bag tumbles a bit.
Just in front of the padded section is a very wide section for accessories. This is where I put the power cord, mouse, and any cables I may need. Also, I've been known to put bags of potato chips, chocolate bars, and yes, a sandwich, in this section. Like I said, this bag carries my laptop and a bunch of other stuff, conveniently.
The removable, adjustable shoulder strap contains a moveable shoulder pad. So you can adjust it any way you need to, to make the load comfortable to carry.
Finally, there's one more feature, that I admit confused me at first. There's a slot in the back of the bag. The top of the slot is permanently open, no way to close it. The bottom of the slot is a zipper. So, the bottom can either be closed, or open. At first I couldn't understand why one might open it. After all, what use is slot if it's open on both ends. But a quick glance at the attached tag explained it all. With the bottom of the slot open, you can slip the entire bag onto the handle of another piece of luggage. This is extremely useful! As long as you're rolling another piece of luggage, it's very easy to slide the laptop bag right onto the other luggage's handle, so you can roll them both together. And because the laptop bag is actually strapped onto the handle, you don't have to worry about it rolling off. How clever!
Overall, I'm happy with this purchase. For $45 I have a laptop bag that I trust to be well-made, sturdy, and convenient. Other than the lack of outside pockets, there are no negatives to this bag.