Increasingly compact laptops like the MacBook Air, Ultrabook and perhaps even devices like the Microsoft Surface mean we no longer want, or need, the hideously unfashionable laptop bag of old. And thank goodness, because the death of those ugly monstrosities is long overdue.
So what are your options now. Well, if you've got a roughly Air-sized laptop, then Toffee thinks you should consider its messenger satchel.
There's not much confusing here, the messenger satchels come with an adjustable shoulder strap that has a cushioned area to keep you comfortable. With these smaller laptops though, we're not talking about the bone-crushing weight that we associate with older laptops. Everything in the strap is easily adjustable and there's no fiddly bits to spoil the ease-of-use.
The compartment is sealed shut with two small clips. There's a sort of faux buckle here too, which looks nice enough, but doesn't actually help much with adjusting how much you can put in the bag. The clips are smooth to operate, but can be a bit of a challenge with one hand, which we had some problems with.
Inside, and there's a wonderful padding that will help keep your devices safe. We love the way it's partitioned, and it makes loads of sense to us. First up, there's a zipping front pocket. We've used this for travel documents and stuff like SD cards that we really don't want getting lost.
Then, inside, there's a large pocket with a clip. You put your laptop in here, and then if you're in a rush and accidentally turn the bag upside down, your laptop is restrained, and won't plummet to an early grave. The front-most pocket is divided into two, and can be used to store paperwork or a charger. It's a good layout, and it's the thing that makes the bag worth considering.
A choice of materials
We had all of the available materials, from the black leather through to the canvas. The only version we didn't see was the black canvas option, but we can assume that it's quite similar, but a different colour. We've looked here at the khaki canvas satchel, as it's the one we liked the look of the most.
The leather versions are both very nice, if you like the colours - the black was our favourite, with the tan being a bit bright for our tastes. The leather is very soft indeed, and they're really nice to carry around. They are a bit more expensive though.
Whichever you go for, you'll find that the padding on the inside is excellent, and really ideal for keeping your expensive laptop safe.
We didn't test water resistance here, but we're fairly sure the canvas version won't survive a proper drenching. We did take it out in the rain though, and there were no real problems.
Great to use
We've used the messenger satchel for all sorts. From going to meetings in town, to flying across Europe to work. And we've really enjoyed our time with it.
It's fair to say that the size is a limiting factor when it comes to taking other things. We can't, for example, get an SLR in there too. But that's to be expected. A compact camera would fit easily, and give us less back strain than we currently endure.
The materials and build are quite obviously top-notch. All too often we see bags and clothing that simply fall apart after a few uses. We've had coats that come apart at the seams, and we're pleased to say that the Toffee bags feel like they'll survive for ages.
As a laptop bag, we've enjoyed using them for taking our XPS 13 about with us. Toffee has marketed these bags toward the Apple crowd, but anyone with a laptop of around 13-inches will find that this satchel is perfect for them.
£120 (canvas) £161 (leather)
Our only grumbles with the messenger satchel are about the price, and the size. But we can live with the size, because for those who just need a laptop and charger, it's absolutely perfect. The price, really, depends on what you think is appropriate to pay for a bag.
In our time with the messenger satchel, it's survived various weather, had too much stuffed in it, and generally been treated like any other bag and shoved into places it would probably rather not be. It still looks smart, and isn't falling apart.