Laptop bags: 13- and 14-inchers
Mid-size machine holders
Xmas Gift Guide Fed up of lugging your laptop around in a tatty old backpack? Fancy something a little more stylish? Feel your other half ought to carry a pack that's more chic? Here are five of the best bags for 13in and 14in laptops that Reg Hardware saw during 2011.
We'd recommend any of the following bags, but our favourite is listed on the next page as Editor's Choice. In reverse order of rating we have...
Ports Design Manhattan II Toploader
Designed with the business traveller in mind, Ports' Manhattan II isn't half bad for the rest of us, especially if you'd rather go for a more conservative look. There's a velco-latched passport pocket on the front and even a recessed address label on the side. Inside a second, zippered pocket on the front are icon-labelled holders for your IT goodies, and there are further pockets - for documents, this time - inside the main, zippered compartment.
There are both handles and a strap - with metal clips that I suspect may not wear too well and which will work the strap into the corner. And if the Manhattan II is no looker, it's nonetheless compact for a 13in bag.
Price €45 (£39)
More Info VIP Computers
Cool Bananas Old School Class 1
For a more retro look, here's Cool Bananas' leather-look shoulder bag ready for a laptop and accessories. There's an inner flap to keep your computer covered when you open the main cover, and the whole inner space can sealed with a zip.
There's a zipped pocket on the back for items you want to get quickly, and and interior pocket, but they'll only take small, thin items and documents. But the Old School has a certain academic charm, and since it's not real leather, it's inexpensive.
More Info Cool Bananas
STM Alley Small
STM has gone for a long but narrow design rather than the usual wide and short look favoured by most messenger bags. That makes the Alley more discreet that some laptop bags, but no less capacious for that. In addition the the shoulder strap, there's a carry handle. If you don't like the mobile phone holder on the strap, it's easy to remove.
There are plenty of pockets for mice, power adaptors, phones, books and such, but it'll only take a bulky item like a DSLR camera in protest. The laptop section has its own, internal cover, and there's a second padded pocket for a tablet. The cover is velcro sealed.
More Info STM
Crumpler Free Wheeler L
Also available for 15-inchers and smaller kit like 11in laptops and 10in netbooks, Crumpler's Free Wheeler range also comes in a choice of dark brown or black if the pictured blue canvas is too trendy for you.
Whatever the hue, there's acres of space inside - it's quite capable of taking chunky devices like cameras - and an extra, zippered pocket on the back. It seems pretty well stitched and the plastic clips feel solid.
Price €79 (£67)
More Info Crumpler
Be.ez Besace Classic
A messenger style offering this time, and a rather bright, stylish one, to boot. French firm Be.ez has kitted this 13in laptop bag with plenty of inside space for all your papers, pens, computer accessories and more. The cover zips down. There's a separate fast-access pocket on the outside, and a cable cache on the inside of the cover.
The strap is sewn onto the body of the bag for greater resilience, and is made out of car seat-belt material so it should be long-lasting.
More Info Be.ez