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I've never really been one for carrying my laptop around with me; my phone is connected to the internet and if I have a pressing query for a site I can't access on my phone I'll just ring home and get one of my daughters' or my partner to check for me. Over the past few months however I've been doing some typing work for a friend of Marks and have needed my own laptop, I wouldn't usually be bothered about transporting it on the passenger seat of the car without a bag but I think he took pity on me and in June presented me with this highly attractive Dicota Bounce Messenger Bag.
First things first, the bag looks absolutely fantastic. The exterior is a pale grey with a pattern made up of small circles of a darker grey, inside is lined with a beautifully bright pink which I love as it not only softens the grey expanse but also gives it a more girly look compared to other laptop bags I've seen. The bag has a large flap and fastens with a sturdy plastic clip which is pretty much hidden once you have done it up, although to be fair it's very well designed so it wouldn't really matter too much to me if this clip was more visible than it is.
The dimensions of this Messenger bag (as taken from the Dicota website) are 19.3 x 13.8 x 2.8 inches, this basically means it'll hold a laptop with a maximum screen size of 16.4 inches. Having never used a laptop case of any description before I was unsure how this satchel style bag was going to keep my laptop safe, but after opening it up I saw the thick foam padding and then it all made sense. You simply slide your laptop into the main compartment, fasten the strap around the body of the laptop and that's it. No faffing to put it in in a 'proper' position or anything, as long as you've done the strap up it won't move an inch.
As far as carrying other stuff around with you there are a few open pockets on the front of the bag (which are hidden and enclosed once you've popped the main flap over) - these are shaped to be classed as dedicated phone, mouse and pen holders but really you can store whatever you like in there as long as they fit. Personally I wouldn't carry my phone in the bag as if it were tipped upside down things can fall out of these non-fastenable pockets, and if my phone made it's way out of the flap and I lost it I'd be extremely upset! My Microsoft wireless mouse doesn't fit in any of the pockets without me squeezing it in which is a bit of a nuisance but hey, I'm a girl - I can just throw that in my handbag and fish it out again when I get to my destination. I do use the pen holders (for eyeliner! ha!) and they're just the right length and thickness to keep pens and pencils secure without you having to exert a huge amount of pressure to get them out of their pockets again.
At the back of the bag is a long document compartment; this could be quite useful if it was fastened with a zip, but as it has just a small strip of (not terribly strong) Velcro to do it up I don't think it's as secure as it needs to be. This is a shame really as although I don't specifically carry documents the pocket does pull out widely enough that I could use it for other things, unfortunately I just don't trust the Velcro to keep my stuff safe and secure so this compartment goes largely unused. You do have a pink trimmed zipped compartment running alongside the phone and pen pockets (which is where my phone lives if I'm using this bag), in theory this is a brilliant addition to the structure of the bag as it opens widely and would make for secure storage of smaller valuable items - however, if you're using the open pockets to store your mouse or whatever you'll find you lose an awful lot of space in this zipped pocket so it does seem an odd place to have put it! To me, bag designer that I am..., it would have made a lot more sense to give the larger back pocket a zip for security and versatility, maybe even leaving this smaller one off completely.
The woven strap seems to be very strong, to be fair unless you're carrying a laptop that weighs the same as a small child you're not likely to ever test the strength of the strap! It's wide and comfortable to carry, the long padding which protects your shoulder is a little annoying as it slides around too much and as it couldn't be tightened I asked Mark to cut it off for me. Since doing that the bag is much more comfortable for me personally, although Mark did mention that he found it easier when the padding was still attached. The strap itself is adjustable, I like to carry mine quite short but on the odd occasion my daughter has used this bag she lengthens it - we've been backwards and forwards between lengths at least twenty times now so I'm pleasantly surprised that the light grey strap hasn't pulled out of shape or discoloured at all.
The Bounce bag is used on a fairly regular basis and is still spotless. The tough fabric used to make the bag doesn't show up any dirt or grime and even though I'm not particularly careful how I put (throw) it down none of the corners or edges of the bag have been damaged. I'd say it was still in remarkably fabulous condition considering the amount of use it's had by both myself and my daughter, in fact as my typing work with this guy comes to an end I suspect it'll find its way into my daughters bedroom as she starts college next month and will no doubt get more use from it than I will. When new this Laptop Messenger Bag cost £33, which I don't think it's worth, but if you look around now you may find one for a shade under £20 - which is much more reasonable, but the lack of useful pockets does mean I won't look for this style of bag again if I ever come to purchase another.
*Written for the Olympic Relay Competition, for Team Doolympians Four*