Belkin Does Backpacks Now, And They're Actually Good Value

In Australia, laptop bags and backpacks are usually unreasonably expensive for the quality that you're buying -- you're paying more for a brand name than you are solid construction and protection for your expensive gadgets. Belkin's first bags are less pricy than some of its own battery packs, but at the same time you're not just buying throwaway trash.

There are two backpack variants and one messenger satchel. The lesser backpack is the $69.95 Classic Pro, and it has two separate internal padded sleeves for a 15-inch or smaller laptop and a 10-inch or smaller tablet, as well as a bunch of smaller comparatments both inside and outside. One thing also worth noting is that the padded back section also has a Velcro luggage strap that happily slides over the carry handle of a rolling suitcase, so it's a good carry-on combo for a frequent flyer.

The $79.95 step-up Active Pro Backpack, and its messenger/satchel variant -- you can see them all below -- adds some limited waterproofing to the mix on the base of both bags, making them a little more versatile if you're getting outdoors. Both are top-loading and have a hidden pocket in the back padding, so you can store your valuables there if you need to. There's also a rear loop that Belkin says is for a bike light, but would be equally at home with your Qantas or Virgin bag tags. You'll be able to buy all three from Harvey Norman.

I've been road-testing the $79.95 Active Pro this week, and I actually really like it -- even though I didn't expect to. The flat base means the bag stands up on its own, unless you've got a laptop in the padded back and nothing else in the main compartment. There are a good range of zippered and unzippered compartments. I brought a cake box into the office today, along with a rolled up jumper and leather jacket and water bottle and my Surface Pro, along with my usual headphones and cables and portable USB battery pack. I'm impressed by how much space there is for the size. [Belkin]