Among the many brands and models of luggage ConsumerSearch reviewed for our full report on luggage, one stood out -- and not in a good way. Although Samsonite has earned a reputation for durable luggage in the past (check out this wacky commercial from the '70s, where luggage is trampled by a marching band), reviewers say its Samsonite Black Label X-Lite line doesn't measure up.
Three reliable sources -- CNNMoney.com, Wired and Popular Mechanics -- test $400-plus Samsonite Black Label X-Lite cases. Wired reviews the Samsonite on its own, while CNNMoney.com and Popular Mechanics compare it to similar bags by makers such as Eagle Creek, Titan and Tumi. Of the three publications, only Popular Mechanics describes its testing methods. They not only roll the bags across different surfaces, they also pack each bag with paint-filled glass bottles wrapped in towels and hurl them off a loading dock 40 times each.
The Samsonite Black Label X-Lite's exterior -- hard on one side, soft on the other -- is roundly criticized by all three review sources. It's prone to scratches and dents, and the fabric puckers at the seams, reviewers say. Popular Mechanics editors also say the X-lite's handle -- connected to a single stalk, rather than two rods -- snapped off after just two throws.
Interestingly, despite their complaints about the damage to the X-lite's exterior, Popular Mechanics editors say it did the best job of protecting the glass bottles in its test. Moreover, all three sources say the bag's four wheels are very quiet and make the bag easy to maneuver.
We would like to have found some user reviews for the Samsonite Black Label X-Lite luggage, since owners can attest to bag's long-term durability. But sources that are usually rich sources for such feedback, including Amazon.com, Shopping.com, Epinions. com, don't have any consumer reviews, so we can't assess how well the X-Lite luggage holds up over the long term.