Notebook computers aren’t meant to be bound to a single location. They’re meant to be mobile computing solutions, so you want to have a good way to carry them around. Walking into any variety of different stores, you’ll get bombarded with a wide range of options in the laptop bag department, but you’ll also find that the vast majority are meant to house up to 15.4-inch laptops. Others accommodate laptops with screens as large as 17-inches.
That’s perfectly suitable for the majority of notebook users, but what if you want to travel around town with your compact netbook? Something like the Asus Eee PC will just get completely swallowed up by those bags, swishing around in every which direction, effectively nullifying much of their utility. To better accommodate this segment, Mobile Edge has developed the Edge Ultraportable Backpack. It’s a more compact solution for more compact computers.
A Backpack for Smaller Computers
You want to keep things relatively compact while maintaining a reasonable level of utility. The Mobile Edge Ultra Portable Backpack was designed with netbooks in mind, but it easily swallows up the smaller notebooks on the market as well. In fact, it’ll take anything from 8.9-inch to 13-inches.
I’d imagine that it would be quite a snug fit for a 13.3-inch Apple MacBook, but any of those ultraportable 11-inch and 12-inch laptops shouldn’t have too much trouble. This is most definitely a niche product.
Dedicated Padded Compartment for Netbooks
Let’s start by looking at the dedicated compartment for the netbook. This takes on a similar configuration as what you may find with a larger laptop backpack.
There is a padded portion inside the main large compartment toward the rear of the backpack. In the picture above, you can see the 12.1-inch Dell Inspiron 640m with the larger six-cell battery. Because of the battery that does not fit flush with the back of the small laptop, this made for a snug fit in the compartment, but it did fit. A standard battery would allow this notebook to fit quite easily.
Unlike the V7 Premium Toploader that I reviewed earlier this month, the Edge Ultra Portable Backpack does not have a “checkpoint-friendly” configuration. You’ll still need to take your netbook or notebook out of the bag to get through airport security. There are other bags in the Mobile Edge lineup that feature this functionality, but nothing (yet) that caters specifically to netbooks.
Why is the Front Pocket So Small?
Continuing with the theme of keeping things compact (the Edge Ultraportable Backpack is only about 40cm tall in total), Mobile Edge has made the front pocket rather compact on this bag as well. I’m not entirely sure why it wouldn’t stretch across the entire width of the bag.
To either side of the front pocket, which comes with a couple of metal grommets for wire pass-throughs and that kind of thing, are a series of straps. I guess the idea is that you can use hooks and such to attach additional items to this bag, but I would have preferred more or larger pockets in the front instead.
The Other Compartment for Stuff
Aside from the main compartment where your netbook (and a few other things) would go, there is another large compartment that takes up the entire length of the bag. In here, you find a small pocket for smaller items, some pen holes, and the main compartment area. Not shown in the picture is a zippered pocket with grommet access to the outside (front). This is a great spot for an MP3 player or cell phone.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the construction and material choice for the Mobile Edge Ultraportable Backpack. The use of the durable 600 Denier Ballistic Nylon accented with 1200 Denier Diamond Ripstop Nylon makes for a very tough exterior, so you wouldn’t have to worry too much about random rips and other kinds of damage.
There’s also a lot of padding in place to protect your Eee PC, Dell Mini, MSI Wind, or whatever other netbook you happen to be carrying. I would have liked a “ScanFast” solution, perhaps with the netbook off to one side and a second slot for the associated power supply. This would make for a great travel bag and it would maximize the utility given the size of the bag.
If you’re in the market for a backpack that is meant to accommodate a laptop, but you’re rocking something that is 13-inches or smaller, the Edge Ultra Portable Backpack is a perfectly viable option that offers good storage space, quality materials, and an aesthetically pleasing design. At $49.99, it’s quite the affordable backpack as well.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10