Sunday, April 17, 2005

Capital investment: the laptop bag

With all this serious talk about politics, economics and media, it's almost time for an equally serious debate over the best laptop bag for the buck. I've been shopping around for that laptop bag. You know the one. The cool one. Several candidates have emerged. I bought a somewhat crappy Targus Fusion messenger-style laptop bag. I figured that it would be good because it had a handle on the top, but man was I wrong. I paid 59.99 at Best Buy, and this was too much. It's getting returned ASAP. This is not the laptop bag you want becuse it has zero room for things like extra files, charger, cables and mouse. Oh it makes claims that this is the case, but in practice it is not so.

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Targus Fusion

Now, one of my economist buddies spent a hundred dollars on a laptop bag from Alienware. Don't get me wrong - it's a nice bag that has tons of padding inside and even some extra room. But once my buddy found out that it is really just a version of the same bag made by Mobile Edge, he was a bit choked, as he could have spent 60 dollars at Future Shop for essentially the same bag, minus the handle. Yes, the handle - the Mobile Edge Messenger bag without the handle. That's why I went for the Targus with the handle. I would have preferred the Mobile Edge over the Targus.

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Alienware Bag

Another one of my Economist buddies in Calgary is a huge fan of Timbuk2 messenger bags in general, and would certainly approve of a Timbuk2 laptop bag.

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Timbuk2 Commute

I heard that Redbike in Edmonton (Near the Sugarbowl) sells them - based on a back of the envelope calulation, I figure that they ought to run in the $130 + range. I haven't actually gone in to see what the prices are, but that's what I would expect to pay. Pretty pricey, but the computer geeks rate them quite well. One of those computer geeks maintains that while the Timbuk2 is cool, a guy's gotta look at Crumpler bags. In Canada, these are carried by Store OS, and start at $130 and range upwards of $249 - a good kick in the junk. If given a choice between a Crumpler and a Timbuk2, I'd pick a Timbuk2.

Now, if the economic axiom of transitivity holds, I ought to either prefer or be indifferent between a Timbuk2 (around $130) and a Mobile Edge ($60). Does the Timbuk2 really have twice the benefit of a Mobile Edge? I sort of doubt it. The Timbuk2 is a nice bag, and people who choose this over the Mobile Edge will likely be cyclists who really, really like the brand. I'd say that, based on the major shortcoming of the Mobile Edge messenger bag not having a proper handle, it still beats out a Timbuk2. However, I really like the idea of being able to carry a laptop without a shoulder strap, so the two bags aren't even that comparable. In order to get a Mobile Edge bag with a handle, a guy has to fork out at least $90. Even when the features are adjusted, the Mobile Edge still beats out a Timbuk2. But damn, those Timbuk2's are sweet.