Mobile Edge Monaco Handbag - notebook carrying case review: Mobile Edge Monaco Handbag - notebook carrying case

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CNET Editors' Rating

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

The Good Classic, stylish design; internal organizer pockets; padded laptop pocket; removable wallet and external cell phone pouch.

The Bad Straps prone to slipping; lacks a pocket for a smart phone and a tether for keys; shoulder straps limit the size of laptop you can carry.

The Bottom Line Though not perfect for everyone, the purse-like Mobile Edge Monaco is a laptop bag that's both stylish and functional.

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There's nothing like a company-issued black nylon laptop bag to ruin an otherwise perfect outfit. For women who want a laptop bag that has a little style but is still appropriate for a corporate setting, the Mobile Edge Monaco fits the bill. Its black exterior includes either white or pink stitching in a quilted pattern, and its poly-suede interior lining comes in one of two attractive colors, deep red or pink. In addition to style, the bag also has substance, in the form of organizer pockets and a detachable wallet and cell phone pouch. We did have some small quibbles with the bag's design: its straps were prone to slipping off our shoulder, and there was no pocket large enough for our smart phone. Plus, though the Monaco accommodates laptops with 15.4-inch displays, those laptops are usually too heavy to carry on a single shoulder. But if you have a smaller laptop or aren't likely to carry the bag on your shoulder, the $100 Mobile Edge Monaco would make a classy addition to your work wardrobe.

Within the Monaco's quilted exterior you'll find a central compartment for books or notebooks with a well-padded laptop pocket on one side and an area for accessories on the other side. The accessories area features organizer pockets that include a wireless security pouch (which Mobile Edge says "protects wireless devices from data theft, spam, and viruses"), two pen loops, a loop to secure a tube of lipstick (a feature we openly mocked, until we realized it worked just as well to keep our thumbdrive within easy reach), and a slim pocket that's perfectly sized for carrying magazines. A small open pocket at the bottom of this area holds power cords; we like the Velcro strap closure that keeps the cords contained. A removable wallet that matches the bag's quilted exterior (6.75 inches by 4.5 inches and expandable to 0.5 inch thick) snaps into the side of the bag via a strap. While that's handy for those willing to relocate their credit cards and cash, we preferred to keep our own bifold wallet, which unfortunately kept sinking to the bottom of the bag. We also would have appreciated a few more pockets for other small items (including our Treo 650, which didn't fit into the exterior cell phone pouch) and some sort of tether to keep our keys from dropping into the abyss. On the positive side, the Monaco's double zipper closure wraps almost all the way down both sides of the bag, making it relatively easy to reach everything inside. Also a plus are the metal feet on the exterior of the bag, which help it stand upright as well as stand up to airport floors.

The Monaco's shoulder-bag design is stylish, but the weight of the typical 15.4-inch laptop (usually between 5 pounds and 6 pounds) is a bit much to carry on one shoulder. We generally find shoulder-style bags best suited for laptops with screens smaller than 13 inches; we carried a ThinkPad X60s in the Monaco with ease. Though the bag's straps are thick and sturdy, occasionally one of the straps would slip off our shoulder as we were walking--an annoyance for pedestrian commuters, though it's not likely to bother users who only carry their laptop on the occasional business trip and to and from the car.

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