Brenthaven Sling II review: Brenthaven Sling II

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.5
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Compact design; thick, breathable padding on back panel; plenty of organizer pockets, including easy-access pockets on the front; top handle for easy lifting; lifetime warranty.

The Bad Expensive; 15.4-inch laptops are an extremely tight fit; main compartment doesn't open as wide as we'd like; interior of strap could use more padding; fixed strap position means you have to carry the bag on your right shoulder.

The Bottom Line With plenty of organizer pockets and a single wide strap, the Brenthaven Sling II combines the functionality of a messenger bag with the comfort of a backpack.

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We're fans of the sling-style laptop bag, which combines the shape of a backpack with an across-the-chest strap more commonly seen on messenger bags. The end result: a bag that sits high on your back but distributes the weight across your body instead of all on one shoulder. While many such bags borrow the backpack's top-loading design, the silver-and-black Brenthaven Sling II ($99), which features long zippers down one side of the bag as well as a front flap that opens to reveal small pockets, is more like a messenger bag turned on its side. In general this design works, letting you swing the bag around your body to access the interior without removing the strap; however, we do wish the zippers opened a little wider to allow fuller access to the bag's contents.

The outside of the bag features four easy-access pockets to keep frequently-used items close at hand. One at the top of the bag is the perfect size for a wallet and keys, and another on the outside of the front flap is large enough for a paperback, a smartphone, or a handheld gaming device. A zipper on the side reveals a collapsible mesh pocket designed to carry a water bottle, and a narrow Velcro-enclosed pocket on the front of the bag's strap keeps an MP3 player or cell phone handy. (Though some smartphones will prove too wide; our Treo 650 fit in this pocket, but our BlackBerry Curve did not.)

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Where to Buy

Brenthaven Sling II

Part Number: 2221

MSRP: $89.95

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color titanium
  • Weight 2.2 lbs
About The Author

Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.