The Best Laptop Bag

The Best Laptop Bag

You spent hundreds of dollars on your laptop. You’re not going to toss that thing around like a Frisbee. The right bag should keep that precious piece of metal and chips safe, but it should also make the machine mobile. That means portability, comfort and style. After two weeks hauling four different bags, we’ve found one that’s great to look at and easy to lug.

Testing Methodology

Our laptops are our livelihood here at Gizmodo. We bring them to the office every day,, so they have to stay well-protected and comfortable to carry.

With these bags, we rotated the daily drivers over the course of about a week. The bags had to fit a 15-inch MacBook Pro, a charger, a notebook, keys, wallet, sunglasses, iPhone, and a couple of extra gadgets currently being schlepped around for testing.

4th Place: Tyla Rae Paula laptop bag

This bag is so ugly it’s painful, and it was actually the least ugly bag this brand offers. You could easily find something better at Target for less money. It has no extra room. A weird microfibre screen-wiping cloth is attached to an outside zipper — that makes no sense. It’s not at all durable. The fake leather wears off if you rub it against any surface. The flimsy material could not reliably protect your computer. The detachable cross-body strap is both awkwardly placed and uncomfortable, and it doesn’t even have room for your charger.

Tyla Rae Paula laptop bag
Dimensions: 15 inches
Colour: pebble blue
Material: faux leather, lined pouch
Pockets: an extra one on the outside, interior zipper pouch
Price: $US99

3rd Place: Clare Rojas for Incase Tote

This bag, designed by artist Clare Rojas for Incase, is wonderfully whimsical. It got compliments from strangers on at least three occasions. It’s stylish, and the sturdy canvas is easy to clean. There’s plenty of room for your laptop, your charger and several pockets for all your accessories. You could even throw in your running shoes.

The tote itself just a little less secure than the other options because it lacks a zipper pocket. It’s still a good bag, and it’s definitely worth considering, especially for the fact that it’s unique and adorable. It took third place because it was up against some tough competition.

Clare Rojas for Incase Tote
Dimensions:13 inches
Colour: off-white, blue, orange, brown
Material: weather-resistant cotton canvas on the outside, cotton twill lining, padded bottom
Pockets: one big one for your laptop, an exterior zipper pocket and one open pocket, two interior pockets
Price: $US100

2nd Place: Flatiron Messenger Bag

Manhattan Portage makes fantastic bags. This one should honestly last much longer than the laptop will. The build quality (and a two-year warranty) make it easier to consider dropping $US200 on one of these totes.

This bag has a dedicated pocket for your computer and a removable sleeve for added protection. It’s unbelievable how much you can fit inside it. Honestly, you could probably stow a feisty cocker spaniel in there, and the bag wouldn’t tear and the strap wouldn’t fray. This really is a quality piece of portage — if you have a considerable amount of cash for a laptop bag, it’s worth it.

Manhattan Portage Flatiron Messenger Bag
Dimensions: 23 inches x 12.5 inches x 7 inches
Colour: grey and black
Material: waterproof Cordura nylon
Pockets: two zipper pockets on the front, three smaller sleeves, two interior zipper pockets, miscellaneous pouches.
Price: $US195 (Australian retailers here)

BESTMODO!! Jansport Cross Talk Messenger

You probably had a Jansport backpack in high school. You probably decorated it with a bunch of buttons and Wite-Out. This laptop bag is not that; it’s much better, and it just edged out the Flatiron. It was a close race, but this took the prize because $US50 is an unbelievable deal for such a fantastic bag.

Plus, it’s just a little bit more comfortable. The Flatiron is bigger and bulkier, but Jansport’s model is slightly more compact, and some added padding on the strap keeps it from digging into your shoulder. It just felt familiar and well-loved from the start, like some favourite T-shirt you’ve worn for years. So soft. So attractive. Such a pleasure to schlep to work day after day.

Jasport Cross Talk Messenger
Dimensions:16 inches x 12.4 inches x 4.4 inches
Colour: cilantro (coriander)
Material: cotton canvas
Pockets: two exterior zipper pockets, miscellaneous interior pockets
Price: $US50