Product Type: Belkin Laptop Case
Newest Review: ... this as something that would make me mark it down. ===Upgrades=== As I've said I've had this bag for a very long time. Apparently Belk... more
I'd never shoot this messenger
Belkin Messenger Bag For notebooks up to 17"
Member Name: ryanando
Belkin Messenger Bag For notebooks up to 17"
Advantages: Pockets for everything, a place for your headphones to slot through too
Disadvantages: not waterproof
A good few years ago my trusty desktop computer began going on the fritz. Since I had insurance I was constantly having to send it off to get fixed rather than buying a new one which was occasionally leaving me without a computer for a couple of weeks at a time. After the first stint of computer-less living I decided it was possibly time to be dragged away from my campfire, fresh meat and finest collection of animal skin clothing and into a modern world with shiny things like Laptops. Not only would it mean having an extra computer kicking about that I could write my reviews on, it would mean I could be slightly freer as to where I was while doing things on the computer and therefore a touch more social. Well, as social as you can be while typing away. I can multitask, it's all good. Either way, generally it's a good idea to get a bag with a laptop to keep it safe during your travels.
===A Bit about Belkin===
I'm only a little bit of a tech geek and I know the name Belkin. The company started in 1983 in southern California and has since grown to the point where they have employees in 21 countries world wide. What do they do? They accessorise your gadgets. They made my mums internet router. They made my laptop bag. They make hundreds of gadget related products, protectors and wires to help make your gadget-ing more comfortable, safe and easy. Fantastic. They have a website (www.belkin.com) and if you are really desperate to get in touch with them they have a few ways to do this.
Address wise, assuming you are in the UK you can write to them at the following address:
Express Business Park
If you prefer to give them a call then go right ahead and dial 01933 35 2000. If you prefer you could be totally retro and send them a fax on 01933 31 2000. If you are in any other country in the world then it's probably best to check their website as they have around 27 addresses and sets of contact details that you can get them on depending on what part of the world you want to get in contact with.
===Bagging a bargain===
When I popped down to Argos for a new laptop they were doing a fun little deal where you got £30 off your next shop when you spent over £300. Keep in mind this was YEARS ago. My laptop came in at £320 so I got my voucher and decided to be sensible and went straight back in to get a laptop bag to carry it around in. This is how I met my Belkin 17" messenger laptop bag and at the time it was £30 so I got it for free. The bag has come down in price slightly since then and is currently still available from £18. Some places are trying to charge £35 so you'd be best to shop around!
The material this bag is made from is 100% polyester. It's almost woven together but very, very tightly giving it a bit of a rough feeling. The zips are metal with a plastic moulding round the top for easier grip. The insides are all the same material apart from one plush-lined section in the main compartment. I've had the bag for around five years and there isn't a scuff mark on it. I don't use it all the time, but when I do it's generally for travelling on trains, planes and automobiles. It's slid around the boot of my car on numerous occasions, stood on, thrown about and generally battered. It is a solid bag. While the bag is not waterproof, it's not easily soaked through. Your laptop needn't worry too much as it's surrounded by about two inches of padding all together and would take a long time even in heavy rain to seep all the way through. Probably best to keep this out of the swimming pool though.
===Colour me Happy===
This particular bag only comes in two different colours as far as I can see. You can get the bag in a very dark brown and bluey-grey combo (chocolate and tourmaline) which is made out of neoprene (like a wet suit) or you can go with the one I got: a sexy black and red number (or Jet and Cabernet as it comes up on Google). The outside of the bag is mostly black. The strap on the bag is black on the top and red on the underside. The inside of the bag and all its pockets (bar the one on the back) are also red. There is a small red highlight on the front of the bag and the zips are all covered with matching red plastic tabs. It's very smart indeed. It was certainly the best looking bag that Argos had at the time and even now it's one of the best looking in an affordable price range.
===Pick a Pocket===
This bag comes with hundreds of pockets and sections. Ok ... well, maybe not hundreds but there are plenty. Its shape is slightly tapered so is thicker at the bottom than it is at the top, which helps give the bag a lot of room inside. The main section is accessed with two zips that run along the front edge of the bag. The zips actually unzip almost to the bottom of the bag so there should be no problems in getting stuff into the bag. This gives the main compartment a very wide mouth when needed.
The back of the main compartment is lined with a lovely soft velvety material that will help keep your laptop scratch free. Opposite the back wall of the bag there is a padded divider (not removable) about half an inch thick that is also lined in the luxurious velvety material. Your laptop slides gently into this padded, fluffy pocket and snuggles safe and warm. As if that wasn't enough, there is another fabric divider on the other side of the padded one. It comes about ¾ of the way up the padded divider separating the remaining space in the bag into two large compartments that are perfect for storing papers and larger books in.
The front of the main compartment also comes with more fabric dividers attached up the other side. There are two sections that are the perfect side for holding a pen each. Next to that are two larger sections that are about the size of a DVD case or a smaller book. Above these compartments there are two sections that are the right size for holding credit, debit or business cards. Very organised indeed! But wait! There's more! (Oh god, I actually just said that and meant it!) Lastly, near the top of this wall of the main compartment is another zip compartment. Its about 3 inches deep and runs along the length of the wall. I imagine it's for carrying pencils, pens, rubbers and rulers in as it's almost the exact same shape as a large fabric pencil case.
The main case is well padded and very well thought out, containing space and compartments for plenty of your stuff. If I was a student, I'd probably be carting this bag around everywhere with me as it would easily contain everything you require for a busy study session. Fancy having your office stationary on hand at all times? Easy. There's pretty much a place for everything in the main section.
===Now pick another===
Now that you've seen the main pocket you'll probably think there can't be much more to this bag. You'd be terribly wrong. On the front of the bag there is another zip that runs along the length of the bag. Open this up and you'll find another large compartment to store things in. You could easily store A4 paper in this compartment with plenty of room on every side. Not only that but it comes with a little fabric pocket inside that's large enough for the biggest of Smart-phones (I'm thinking galaxy notes) or even an I-pod. Why would you want to keep it in there? Well, if you look closely at the top of this pouch there is a little rubber circle (apparently called a grommet). This circle has three flaps on it which allow you to pop your headphones and wire through it, meaning your can happily listen to your I-thingies with them being safely inside and essentially attached to your bag. It's little touches like this that really make products great.
The little red flash on the front of the bag isn't just a decorative feature. It actually indicates yet another pocket. This section is a little simpler and it really is just another pocket for storing and separating things. There are no dividers in this pocket which is just as well as it's a little tighter in this pocket. Anything you put in this pocket will actually end up sitting in-between the main compartment and the pocket with the I-thingie section.
===The last pocket===
Last but not least there is another pocket on the very back of the bag. This takes up the whole back of the bag and the outer wall is about half a centimetre thick to provide that extra little bit of padding. This section is held shut by a small piece of Velcro in the centre of the opening. It's fairly strong but I suspect that's only because I've never really used this section as I've always worried stuff will fall out. This is the only bad point of this bag. I don't see why they couldn't have popped a zip on this section too as it would give this pocket a little bit more security for the items you are carrying. There are, however, plenty of other pockets in which you can put your stuff so I don't see this as something that would make me mark it down.
As I've said I've had this bag for a very long time. Apparently Belkin has a life long guarantee on this bag and have since added only one new feature: A removable pouch for wires and plugs. Usually I store my wires and plugs on the other side of the big padded insert but if I wanted to put more in the bag I would imagine this would be incredibly useful to have. I can't vouch for how durable or handy it is though as my bag didn't come with this years and years ago.
===A strapping bag===
The bag has an adjustable strap on it which comes in very handy. You can set the length of the strap to where it's most comfortable for you and sling it over your shoulder. Some bags come with straps that can only be carried one way. With this bag, however, if you want to show the brighter side of the strap it's easy to do so. Simply pick it up with the gorgeous red colour facing outwards and it sits comfortably on your shoulder the same as if it had the black side showing. I prefer to have the red side on show because, quite frankly, it's cool.
If you don't want to lug this bag over your shoulder there is also a small handle on the top of the bag so that you can carry it more like a briefcase. It comes in very handy if you want to carry a bigger bag on your back. This is also where the back pocket comes in very handy as the main strap sits above the opening meaning that you can tuck the strap away neatly into the back pocket so that it's not trailing on the ground as you carry the bag.
===Is it comfy?===
Sometimes bags that look good are simply uncomfortable to carry. This one is not. While it can be very heavy while fully loaded, it tends to be very easy and comfortable to carry. The rougher fabric means that it tends not to slide around on your clothing much and the wide strap stops it digging in. If you are carrying it via the briefcase handle the fabric makes it easy to keep a grip of. Perfect for your carrying needs.
As well as being a great case for transporting your laptop in, I have found myself using it to store my laptop in too. When it's not in use I simply tuck my laptop up to sleep in the Belkin bag and slide it down the side of my sofa out of sight. It not only keeps everything neat tidy and out of sight but also stops any dust, dirt or spilled drinks from getting on my laptop which means I don't need to buy a new laptop. That can only be a good thing!
I really cannot find anything bad to say about this laptop bag other than the fact it's not waterproof. Even then, it's as waterproof as you really need it to be unless you are going diving with your laptop in tow. There is plenty of storage space and compartments to help organise anything you could want to carry in the bag. The material is tough yet comfortable to be carting around and there is more than enough padding to protect your precious laptop. The price is great for the amount of storage you get and it looks really sexy with its luxurious hints of red peeping out from the black exterior. Throw in that it's lasted over 5 years in my care (near on impossible) and you are definitely on to a winner with this Laptop bag. Well done Belkin! Five stars from me!
Summary: A fantastic bag to keep your laptop and entire stationary collection safe in
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