Slappa is a company who provides cases promising to protect your CDs, DVDs, laptops, and (of course) iPods. One of their lines of laptop cases is called the Velocity Pro, a well-lined backpack designed to carry laptops, small and large (up to 17″ screens). I’ve tried it out on my recent 5-week trip to NYC, Toronto, London, Tokyo, and Beaverton, Oregon (one of these things just doesn’t belong), and, to save you the rest of the read, it’s a pretty good laptop case. If you’re interested in the why, read on…
Slappa is a company who provides cases promising to protect your CDs, DVDs, laptops, and (of course) . One of their lines of laptop cases is called the Velocity Pro, a well-lined backpack designed to carry laptops, small and large (up to 17″ screens). I’ve tried it out on my recent to NYC, Toronto, London, Tokyo, and Beaverton, Oregon (one of these things just doesn’t belong), and, to save you the rest of the read, it’s a pretty good laptop case. If you’re interested in the , read on…First off, I have pretty much ruled out over-the-shoulder/messenger-style laptop cases. They are causing me back and shoulder strain, and if I have to run through O’Hare, they are quite inconvenient. I’m no ergonomics expert, but it seems pretty clear to me that 10 pounds of weight on the same shoulder for an hour a day can’t be all that good for you. The Velocity Pro has an adjustable strap, which I was able to set for my height fairly easily (I’m 6’3″ so this is important to me). Here are some pictures of me wearing it both as a backback and over-the-shoulder:
The Velocity Pro is water-resistant (I was this close to putting it in the shower to put it to the test, but I got fairly well rained on in London, and it stood up a-ok for me), with an exterior rubber layer. The interior is soft and plushly (is that a word?) lined, which gives me a good comfort feeling that I can toss it around (or into the overhead compartment) without bashing my laptop to bits. The Slappa backpack is quite spacious on the inside, with four distinct compartments. As a guy who travels with a good amount of gear, the sections are quite helpful.
The section which rests against your back is where the laptop goes, and the lining combined with the company’s padded logo on the exterior made the case quite comfortable. I even put my laptop in such that the battery protruded into my back, but couldn’t feel the difference. The zippered section at the furthest end has a vertical zipper, and is a convenient place to keep my headphones, screen cleaner, extra business cards, PPC6700, and other items. In the other sections I store my extra battery (mandatory), charger, spare network cable, presentation remote, and either a book or two or the next day’s clothes (or my neck pillow for international flights). No matter which way you look at it, this case has enough room for just about anything you are planning to lug around.
The zippers have an interlocking system and are all lockable (they even provide a few locks in the box, as well as an iPod/cell phone/PDA carrying case!), although on an earlier unit I had tried, one of the zipper handles fell off, but I haven’t seen it happen since. My only real complaint on the zippers at all is that one of the sections can’t be zipped up single-handed, so you actually have to hold the backpack in place while you close it. Not really a big deal.
The shoulder straps are well-padded, and quite comfortable to wear. In addition to the shoulder straps, the Velocity Pro sports a solid rubber handle, also convenient to carry it short distances. I did find the case was a tad on the heavy side, so even when only carrying my laptop and a few things it seemed overly weighty. I think this is the trade-off you have to make if you want a really well padded bag with lots of room. One other nice touch is a small pocket on either side, which I presume to be business card holders (I guess you could put a pen in there as well). Also on the inside several compartments contain subpockets, so you can easily store your USB drive without ‘losing’ it on the inside.
My two other (minor) gripes with the Velocity Pro are as follows:
- The left shoulder strap always seems to twist over itself when I put it on. At first I thought it was user error, since I don’t wear a backpack too often, but now I just think it’s due to the spacing on the strap itself. Obviously not a big deal, but it’s a minor nuisance.
- The bag gets warm on your back, quickly. If you live in Canada, this is probably a good thing. If you are wearing a suit walking through Heathrow in June, it’s a bad thing. I am not sure if it’s a ‘breathable’ thing, or just due to the shape of my back, but in less than 10 minutes of wear, I’m feeling the warmth.
Overall, I like the Velocity Pro Spyder from Slappa. I think it’s a good option for anyone who travels a lot, and wants to cut down on the number of bags they carry. We’ll be trying out a few new cases in the next few weeks, but Slappa sets the bar decently high! You can buy the unit directly from their Web site here for $79.99.