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I am a PhD student, and lucky enough to have been given a laptop from Unifor in order to use for my work. As I do a fair bit of traveling to see my Supervisor and to conferences, it was wise for Uni to get me a bag to carry it in.
I have past experience using a shoulder laptop bag, which I had not got on with at all. I found it to be very heavy i.e. not distribute the weight well, and put a huge strain on my right shoulder (I have a preferred shoulder for carrying bags- the other just doesn't work as well!). There were several evenings where I would be in great pain after train traveling, walking and meetings using this type of laptop carrier. I also didn't feel safe using it- I think that a shoulder laptop bag advertises that you have a computer on you and so a target for criminals (this is not a proven fact just my opinion) and so I felt pretty vulnerable when using it.
Due to the reasons above, I decided to opt for a laptop rucksack. I have been lucky enough to be given a laptop with a pretty wide screen and so I had to check the bag specifications carefully. I assumed that all laptop rucksacks fit all laptops- not the case. This bag fits most 17 inch screens and so was ideal for me.
The bag is excellent for carrying along other things as well as the laptop- there are several zip pockets- sometimes I lose where I have put things!! It has graduated pockets from the front of the bag which get bigger as it approaches the rear of the bag.
The first compartment has a mobile phone pocket and card wallet- I use this to hold tickets/ papers/ leaflets etc. The second one back had a net pocket insert- this one I use to hold my pens etc. The third one back is like a proper rucksack compartment and can be used to hold A4 sized papers- there is plenty of room in there for this/ laptop charger and some lunch. The last pocket back is where the laptop is held, there is special snug compartment where the laptop can be inserted and held securely into place with velcro. There is also room within this compartment to store flat A4 documents. The bag also has a couple of small side pocets and net pockets on the outside to hold water bottles etc. Overall the storage of this bag is excellent. I also feel very confident that the laptop is protected by the bag.
Comfort wise to carry, this nag is excellent. It has two well padded shoulder straps that can be adjusted to suit and also a handle at the top where you can lift it up. The back of the rucksack is also cushioned to allow a pleasant carrying experience- since I have used this bag I have not complained of aches and pains! Also, as it just looks like a rucksack it does not advertise to the world that you are carrying an expensive piece of computer equipment!
This laptop bag does not come cheap though- it retails on Amazon at £58.95, and I am sure that Uni paid more for it as it had to be purchased from a specific supplier. I have had it for about 4 months and use it regularly and it is still in excellent condition (as it should be). I personally think if you want to make an investment purchase in a good quality laptop carrier then this is the one to get :-)