Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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August 28, 2008 • Reviews

Review- Ice Red’s Shine and Sirocco Notebook Bags

For the last month or so both my wife, Elana, and I have both been using MacBook Pros almost exclusively. What amazing machines they are.

As strong as their aluminum cases are, however, they are still delicate electronic devices that require gentle handling and a good case for transport. New notebooks… new search for the right bags.

For the last couple of weeks we’ve both been using bags by Ice Red. Read on for our thoughts…

Elana has been using the “Shine”, a 17″ tote-style bag made from pink, silver or black glossy vinyl. It features a large main compartment that fits up to 17″ laptops as well as a number of external zipper pockets (including one for magazines). The front pockets include an organizer for easy access to pens, change, phone, iPod etc.

Ice-Red describes it in this way-

Is it a laptop tote or is it a fashion accessory? Ice Red’s spectacular Shine women’s laptop tote bag is sleek and stylish with a distinct look that’s equal parts iBook and Fashion Week. With a glossy vinyl cover, these 17″ laptop tote bags bring the past and the future together with a look that’s as classic as it is modern. With multiple laptop bag compartments, including protection for up to 17″ laptops and an easy-access organizer for cell phones and other valuables, Shine women’s laptop tote bag truly shines above the competition, carrying your life safely and securely while turning heads and catching eyes as you walk down the street. It’s our time to SHINE!

Elana describes it in this way-

I loved it when I saw the picture, I loved it even more when it arrived, and I continue to LOVE it now that I am using it.

When I asked her to be more specific this is what she had to say-

It is fashionable. It has good pockets for staying nicely organized. I can easily carry cables, pens, credit cards and a file folder or two. It is designed in such a way that I don’t need to carry another bag when I use it. It is super easy to carry. It is light enough that it doesn’t add a lot of weight. The handles are comfortable and I have not found that I need to use the shoulder strap. I’m not a fan of notebook bags but I didn’t hesitate to use it since it doesn’t LOOK like a notebook bag. It looks like a sleek, fashionable tote that goes great with whatever I am wearing.

While Elana loves the look of the bag and continues to rave about it a month later I have some concerns. While it is a convenient way to carry a large notebook, the notebook compartment does not include any significant padding. This isn’t an issue if you keep your notebook in a sleeve, a hard shell or are exceptionally delicate with it but, personally, I want a bit more protection. Regardless, Elana loves it and continues to use it.

The Shine– measures 17″W x 13″H x 4″D and includes a laptop compartment that is 16″W x 11″H x 2″D

Urban Laptop Tote Bag – Sirocco

Urban Laptop Tote Bag – Sirocco

I have been using the Sirocco Urban Laptop Tote Bag. The Sirocco comes in blue jean, red,  gray or  black “crinkle-nylon”. The is lined with high-quality 420D nylon. Laptop compartment fits up to 15.4″ laptops. The large main compartment is expandable by 2″ with side zipper. (This bag holds a ton of stuff!!!) The large front pockets are good for organizing small electronics, as well as pens, change, phone, IPod and more. A back pocket is good for magazines. The bag ships with a shock-absorbing shoulder strap.

Ice-Red describes it this way-

Hit the subway, lead the board meeting, or pack up for a day at the beach — with the Sirocco urban laptop tote bag, you’ve got a trendy computer case ready to go wherever or whenever life beckons you. Sleek and protective, Sirocco looks like a normal stylish laptop tote bag or shoulder bag but comes with spacious and snug fully-lined compartments to carry everything you need, including laptops up to 15.4″. And unlike other shoulder bags, you’ll never have to worry about damaged laptops or sore shoulders with the Sirocco urban laptop tote bag; a Shock-Absorber Shoulder Strap protects your equipment while making even the heaviest loads feel light and comfortable.

I didn’t love this bag initially since, unlike Elana, I actually want my notebook bag to look like a notebook bag. Out of necessity, however, I started using it and I must admit it has grown on me. It is easy to carry and, as I noted above, it has an amazing amount of space. While I would not use it for work I can see using it if I take my MacBook with me for a weekend away.

The expandable zipper that  goes from one side to the other makes it a perfect bag for transporting your notebook AND a ton of other stuff.

Unfortunately I have the same criticism of the Sirocco that I had of the Shine. It is a terrific bag for transporting a notebook but not so good for protecting it. For that reason, while I can see myself using it on occasion regularly, I don’t see myself using it as my daily bag.

The Sirocco measures 17″W x 13″H x 4″D and includes a laptop compartment that is 16″W x 11″H x 2″D.

Shine:
What Elana Like: Looks great, well designed and built, doesn’t look like notebook bag
What Elana Doesn’t: Nothing.
What I don’t: Minimal notebook protection
The Shine retails for $69.99 and is available directly from Ice Red.

Sirocca:
What I like: Well designed and built, spacious
What I don’t: Minimal notebook protection
The Sirocca retails for $ 69.95 and is available directly from Ice Red.

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