Laptop Bags : Ratings of Sources

Updated February 28, 2014
In this report

Laptop Bags: Ratings of Sources

1. OutdoorGearLab.com Laptop & Messenger Bags, OutdoorGearLab.com, Oct. 10, 2011
Credibility:
In two related reviews, OutdoorGearLab.com tests eight messenger bags and six backpacks. Eight testers carry each bag in turn for a week and rate its looks, comfort, construction and features. Each bag receives a star rating and an overall score from 1 to 100. There are detailed reviews for each bag (with videos for some) and a helpful grid sums up the results. Top-ranked bags are named as Editors' Choice, Top Pick or Best Buy.
2. TheWirecutter.com Favorite Bags, TheWirecutter.com, Nov. 9, 2012
Credibility:
Five editors at TheWirecutter.com test around 60 computer bags (selected from a list of hundreds) and list the ones that they say they'd recommend to friends. Unlike most of TheWirecutter.com's reviews, which name a single best product in a category, the reviews of laptop cases delve into the pros and cons of each particular case. Editors discuss durability, features, styling and the most appropriate uses for each bag.
3. Macworld Laptop Bags, Macworld, As of March 2014
Credibility:
Macworld and its sister site TechHive.com have reviewed about 20 laptop cases over the past 18 months. Reviews are fairly detailed, covering capacity, durability and features, and some of them include video. However, the grading curve here isn't very steep: more than half the bags reviewed earn ratings of at least 4 mice out of a possible 5.
4. Laptop Magazine Best Laptop and Tablet Bags for the Holidays, Laptop Magazine, Nov. 5, 2013
Credibility:
Mark Kakkuri of Laptop Magazine offers his picks for laptop and tablet bags that combine "usefulness and good looks." The winners are presented in a slideshow, with a photo and a one-paragraph write-up for each bag. Selected models include backpacks, messenger bags, briefcases and sleeves. However, Kakkuri doesn't describe his testing methods or explain why he chose these particular bags over others.
5. CNET Best 5 Laptop Cases, CNET, Aug. 28, 2012
Credibility:
Two senior editors at CNET present their top picks for transporting your laptop. Their original five choices have been narrowed down to four, including three backpacks and one messenger bag. The write-ups here are brief, but links take you to the full reviews, which examine design, features and construction in detail. However, most of these reviews are several years old, and one of the recommended products has been discontinued.
6. CultOfMac.com Laptop Case Reviews, CultOfMac.com, As of March 2014
Credibility:
It's not easy to find reviews of laptop cases on CultOfMac.com. The easiest way to track them down is to search for "bag review" or "case review," and even then you'll get lots of hits for bags that aren't for laptops. However, the few reviews we managed to find are thoughtful and hands-on, covering pros and cons in detail. Only one bag earns a perfect 3-star rating here: the Rickshaw Bagworks Commuter 2.1.
7. PCMag.com Cases & Carrying Gear, PCMag.com, As of March 2014
Credibility:
PCMag.com collects all its reviews of carrying cases and bags here. It's easy to narrow down the category by price, brand and rating, but not, unfortunately, by type. Each hands-on review includes a rating from 1 to 5 stars and a summary of pros and cons covering design, features and performance. Of the 20-plus bags and cases reviewed in the past 18 months, only three have received the Editors' Choice award.
8. CNET Cases & Bags, CNET, As of March 2014
Credibility:
CNET has published fewer than a dozen new reviews of laptop cases or sleeves in the past two years. However, in that time, three bags have received ratings of 4 stars out of 5 or better: one backpack, one messenger bag and one sleeve. Reviews present an up-close look at each bag, including design and features, and include a handy summary of pros and cons.
9. DigitalTrends.com Pack Attack: 25 Awesome Laptop Bags That Add Style and Function, DigitalTrends.com, May 20, 2013
Credibility:
This roundup presents 25 "stylish, fashionable, and practical laptop bags" in a range of styles and prices. There's a photo of each bag and a few sentences focusing mostly on design and features. Author Brandon Widder doesn't say anything about his testing methods or his criteria for choosing these 25 bags out of the hundreds on the market. Based on the write-ups, however, they appear to have been selected mostly for their looks.
10. Computer Shopper 2013 Guide: 12 Best Laptop Bags for College Students, Computer Shopper, July 29, 2013
Credibility:
This slideshow presents 12 laptop backpacks, carrying bags and sleeves that are ideal for college students. However, the choices appear to be based on features rather than on hands-on testing. There's a photo and a brief description for each bag that covers its main selling points. Bags aren't rated, so there's no way to identify the best of the best from this list, but it's a good survey of styles.
11. Amazon.com Laptop Bags & Cases, Amazon.com, As of March 2014
Credibility:
A huge number of bags receive hundreds of reviews from users at Amazon.com, including many with overall ratings of 4.5 stars out of 5. Many of the top-rated bags here aren't covered in other sources (possibly because the manufacturers don't provide samples to reviewers), so this is a good place to look for brands you may commonly find in stores but not in reviewers' lineups. Quality of reviews varies, as with all user-review sites.
12. EBags.com Laptop Bags, EBags.com, As of March 2014
Credibility:
Like Amazon.com, eBags.com has a huge number of user-written reviews for laptop cases. We found dozens of bags that have received hundreds of reviews with ratings averaging 4.5 stars or better. We found highly rated bags from designer brands like Kenneth Cole, student-oriented brands like Jansport, and eBags.com's own house brand. However, most of the top-rated bags are not covered in professional sources.