Laptop backpacks tend to be more affordable than similar-quality top-loading cases and messenger bags. They typically consist of traditional backpack construction (one large pocket, one or more smaller ones) with the addition of a laptop compartment, sleeve or sling. Three models top our best-reviewed rankings for backpack-style laptop bags: the Case Logic DLBP Laptop Backpack (*Est. $35), one of the most affordable options among our best-reviewed cases; the Ful Powerbag Backpack (*Est. $90), which charges your small devices (but not your laptop) right in the bag; and the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack (*Est. $80 and up), a smaller-sized backpack with messenger-bag styling.
Timbuk2 usually receives high marks from reviewers and users for the durability of its bags, and that's no different with the Swig Backpack, which is waterproof and well made. However, users say that laptops stored inside the bag are not fully protected from drops, which brings down the overall durability score.
The Case Logic DLBP Backpack scores worst in this category; reviews say this is the price you pay for so many features in such an affordable bag. The Case Logic does have a 25-year warranty, but most reviewers do not expect it to last anywhere near that long: it is not double-stitched and is not reinforced in all areas.
The winner is the Ful Powerbag Backpack, which users feel is well made, with good stitching, sturdy zippers and a rubberized coating on the bottom to protect against bumps and bruises.
Reviewers write that the Case Logic DLBP Backpack is well padded on both the back and the straps. The straps easily adjust, they say, and items inside the pack never poke users' backs. But most users express some dissatisfaction with the comfort of the straps, with smaller people saying they are too wide-set and slip off shoulders, and larger people saying the straps cut into their shoulders during longer carries.
The Ful Powerbag Backpack wins raves for its comfy padding on the pack and straps, but only the straps have a mesh coating. That leads to a sweaty back for long carries. Also, the main pocket doesn't have any compartments or dividers, so when you carry the pack items shift to the bottom rather than distributing their weight across your back, reviewers write, adding that this is mostly a concern if you overload the bag.
Finally, the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack gets high marks from users for its padding and staying put on the back. Users say they were skeptical that the thin straps would be comfortable, but most find them to be, although some find that for longer hauls the straps cut into their sides. The three packs tie overall for comfort scores.
The Case Logic DLBP Backpack is easy on the eyes, in part due to a design that makes it look smaller than it really is. The bag is frequently called "stylish," and sports an attractive diamond-stitch pattern on the outside. It's slimmer than most laptop backpacks on the market.
Reviewers really like the way the Timbuk2 Swig Backpack looks, with its messenger bag-style flap and small size, but mark it down for a distinct lack of exterior pockets and interior compartments with zippers.
The Ful Powerbag Backpack does a good job of hiding its gadget-charging nature, which could make it less attractive to thieves. Reviewers find its design appealing but plain, with a slimmer profile than some. Overall, the Case Logic DLBP Backpack takes the appearance category with its attractive combination of form and function, earning a perfect score.
The Ful Powerbag Backpack includes a battery and charging cables, allowing owners to charge their devices on the go. Unfortunately, that means it also carries an electronics-style warranty: just one year, compared to 25 years to a lifetime on most of our other better-reviewed laptop bags. The bag construction is not separately guaranteed.
The Timbuk2 Swig Backpack carries the company's limited lifetime warranty, and users report no problems at all receiving service. Most say they've never needed it due to the quality of the bag.
The Case Logic DLBP Backpack does have a 25-year guarantee, but the odds you'd actually go through the hassle of returning it to the company (when it only cost $35 to begin with) after any length of time are slim. Users don't complain about any bags that immediately failed, and have nothing to say about Case Logic's customer service. The Timbuk2 Swig easily wins the warranty category.
Reviewers complain that the Ful Powerbag Backpack is more expensive than buying a good pack and a separate battery-powered device charger, though they appreciate the integration and in most cases say it's worth it. Users, who might have a sharper eye on their wallets, tend to disagree.
Reviewers and users alike love the price tag on the Case Logic DLBP Backpack, but note the pack's reduced durability. Still, at an estimated $35, you could buy two to three of the DLBP packs for the price of the other well-reviewed backpacks in this report.
The Timbuk2 Swig Backpack wins this category, but it's not perfect; while users and reviewers say its extremely high-quality construction and design are worth a premium, all wince a bit at the $90 estimated price tag.
Competition in this category is surprisingly tight, with several reviewers awarding high scores to each of the laptop backpacks we mention here. The Timbuk2 Swig Backpack, with its unusual messenger-style design, smaller shape and top-notch construction, wins over many fans -- but most wince at the $90 estimated price tag, high for the backpack category.
The Ful Powerbag Backpack is widely reviewed because of its unusual charging feature, which keeps your small devices topped off while you carry them. Testers say the feature works well. But reviewers don't like the fact that it can't charge the actual laptop, and point out that buying a pack and a charger separately would be cheaper.
The best balance of price versus features comes in the Case Logic DLBP laptop backpack. Reviewers like the multitude of smartly designed pockets, the padded laptop compartment, the external design and the smaller size. Complaints generally center around its construction, which is not as durable as the other bags', but it is still named as a top bag by more reviewers and scores an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 50 Amazon.com users.