Tenba Messenger: Small Photo/Laptop Bag Review

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If I had to choose one style of bag as my personal favorite it would have to be the traditional messenger. I love the flexibility, the ability to “dress it up” or “dress it down” and I love the ability to carry “just enough” gear. Oh, and I just tend to like the way they look. That’s why I was so taken with the Tenba Small Photo/Laptop Messenger bag. It offers all of the flexibility of a traditional messenger in a bag that is well-made, roomy and looks great. At the same time, it doubles as a highly protective camera bag and, when used in this way still has plenty of room for a laptop as large as a 15 inch MacBook Pro.

The company does offer two other sizes – the Mini which is appropriately sized for a camera and a tablet and the Large which has even more space than the one we are reviewing. The Mini looks fantastic but I wanted the flexibility to carry a full-size laptop. The Large has a tremendous amount of room for storage and the neat option of having a custom logo plate on the front. I would have loved to have the Gear Diary logo on my bag, but the Large struck me as being a bit too big for my taste. So – the Small version it was.

Let’s take a look at what the company has to say about it and then jump into our video review.

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From Tenba:

The Tenba Messenger is an urban-inspired laptop bag that’s designed to hold everything you need for a day; on vacation or at work; at school or at the gym. A removable photo insert holds camera gear as well.

From the outside the bag measures in at 16.5W x 11.5H x 5.5-8.5 in. This translates to interior room of 16W x 11H x 5-8 in. That does not include the laptop compartment which is large enough for my MacBook Pro. It weighs in at just 2 lb. but felt much lighter. Finally, it includes Tenba’s Messenger Removable Photo Insert. A great addition that adds a good deal of flexibility to this bag.

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I like this bag a lot and expect that it will be on the short list of bags for CES 2013. The flexibility, build-quality and photo insert that lets it switch from Messenger to Camera Bag in seconds is a GREAT design choice. There is one place where I do find some fault with this bag. The grab handle is positioned a bit too far back for my taste and causes the bag to sit at a bit of an angle when carried. It is a small complaint and one that will certainly not prevent me from using this bag but I do wish the handle was positioned more centrally on the top.

You can learn more here on the Tenba site.

The Large is available here through our Amazon Affiliate Store for under $110. The Mini is available here for under $95. The Small is available here for under $105.

MSRP: $104.95

What I Like: Well made; Flexible; Looks good; Lots of compartments, many zippered for protection; Sturdy clips and pulls; Removable camera insert that lets this move from camera bag to traditional messenger and back in seconds

What Needs Improvement: No personalized logo plate on anything but the Large version; The grab handle is positioned a bit too far back

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.