Pros: Plenty of space and compartments, well constructed.
Cons: Tow handle pinches when being collapsed.
When the boss said that he would spring for a rolling laptop case - but it had to be on the approved list - I jumped at the chance to get some new gear.
When I travel overnight, I need a case that will allow me to bring two laptops - a business issued ThinkPad and my personal Dell XPS. This is very important when I am gone for a week at a time, as I need to keep only work on my work-issued laptop, and my personal stuff (such as this review) on my personal machine.
When I went through the list of approved cases, one jumped out, namely the Targus TCG717 Roller Notebook Case. I've had Targus gear in the past, and what it lacks in esthetics it usually makes up in ruggedness.
This is a three-compartment, black, nylon (840D) case with a handle that retracts into the case. Targus touts that the case will hold a 17-inch laptop, but that is a marginal claim.
The case itself is 18-inch wide, 15-inches high and 10-inches deep. That put it right on the edge of most airlines' carry-on baggage size. I've had not trouble on two recent trips, but I don't tend to over-pack my carry-on. It was still a tight fit in terms of depth fitting it into the overhead bin on a 25-year-old American Airlines Mad-Dog 80. It had no problems fitting into the overhead bins on an AA 737-800.
The front of the case has a zipper that runs most of the way across the front. It leads to a compartment that is good for holding small, skinny things, such as boarding passes, passports, maps and the like. I've not tried to put anything large in there.
The front-most compartment has a zipper that runs along the top and both sides, allowing you to have it lie almost flat in front of you. This is my junk compartment, as it has two pockets for small notebooks, portable drives, cell phones, power supplies, and the like. The pockets are separated by several elastic pen holders. The other side has a full-size zippered mesh pouch that is absolutely ideal for storing all the cables and wires that are necessary when you travel. Since the case also came with a removable mesh pouch that is about the size of a carton of cigarettes, this is a great place to store that pouch, once it is filled with keys, a wireless mouse, memory sticks and relates small items tht usually fall to the bottom of a laptop case and are nearly impossible to find.
The next compartment is where you are supposed to store the laptop. This is where I stick the Lenovo as the Dell is a bit too wide to fit comfortably. Oh, I can force it in there, but I really don't want to, as there is a better solution.
The third compartment is what makes this roller bag a complete winner. It, too, has a three-fourths zipper, but is the deepest of the three compartments. It is deep enough that you could carry a laptop, and a big telephone book. This is where I carry my Dell. When I am just going someplace overnight, it is a perfect place to carry a change of clothes, eliminating the need for a second bag.
Along the side of the bag, in the vicinity of the second compartment, there is a short zipper along the side. Unzip the zipper and a small mesh bag pops out. This is the perfect place to put a bottle containing the beverage of choice - which will get confiscated when you go through security at the airport. I have a better use for it. This is where I stick my car keys so they don't get lost while I am travelling.
The case also includes a removable sleeve that holds up to eight CDs or DVDs. I usually stick this in the second compartment along with my ThinkPad.
The case itself comes with a padded carrying strap that I have grown to dislike as it always seems to get caught up in the wheels when I am pulling the case along. I've since removed it. When all the compartments are zipped up tight, there are two small handles that join together in you wish to carry the case. The towing handle has three sections to it, and extends to a good length. When fully collapsed, it fits into the back of the case, and has a zippered lid so that it is out of sight and does not catch on anything. I have managed to pinch my fingers a number of times when collapsing the handle, so now I do so very cautiously, as it hurts like the dickens, even though there is no permanent damage.
Wheels and Zippers
The wheels are made of urethane, and seem to be holding up well.
When researching this case, I saw a number of comments that the zippers were not holding up. Now I'm no expert on zippers, but in my opinion, the zippers seem to be of a quality material and craftsmanship, and they are smooth in their operation. I've pretty well come to the conclusion that the zippers are just fine unless one chronically overload the case - but I'm not willing to test that theory.
The bag is made for Targus in China, but carries a lifetime limited warranty.
If my boss were the consummate cheapskate, and he is not, I would have bought this case using my own money.