Pacsafe MetroSafe 300 review: Pacsafe MetroSafe 300

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Slash-proof strap and side panels, built-in combination lock.

The Bad A bit expensive; cramped, hard-to-use pockets; only fits smaller laptops.

The Bottom Line While it may look like a normal nylon laptop case, the Pacsafe MetroSafe 300 packs in a ton of security features, but it falls a bit short as an actual laptop conveyance.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 9.0

While suitcases and briefcases tend to have standard locking mechanisms, the humble laptop case is usually secured by nothing more formidable than a zipper, or maybe some Velcro. It makes sense that a bag containing your valuable laptop, and potentially even more valuable data, should have some fairly reasonable security of its own. That's the mentality behind the Pacsafe line of cases, which all incorporate various security features, from slash-proof shoulder straps to tamper-proof zippers. The $99 Pacsafe MetroSafe 300 also adds a mini combination lock for anchoring the strap around something like a table leg. It's a reasonable attractive, comfortable laptop bag that makes up for a slightly cramped design and high price with its notable emphasis on keeping your laptop safe.

At 12 inches wide by 13.5 inches high by 4 inches deep, the Pacsafe MetroSafe 300 isn't going to hold anything bigger than a 13-inch laptop, such as the Apple MacBook. The case is made from basic ballistic nylon, but the main laptop compartment has metal wires woven inside the material, which Pacsafe calls an eXomesh slashguard panel. That's to keep someone from using a sharp knife to slice open your bag and snag your laptop. The shoulder strap is likewise reinforced with slash-proof, high-tensile stainless steel wire, to stop blade-wielding thieves.

A small combination lock sits at one end of the shoulder strap. The lock can be used to anchor the strap around a table leg, light post or other secure object, and it includes a metal loop for threading through the zipper pullers, to keep the bag closed.

Behind the security features, the bag itself is fairly basic, and at a glance, looks no different than any other nylon laptop case. The main compartment has a padded laptop section and a nonpadded section, which in turn has two long, but narrow, Velcro pockets sewn into the lining. Under the front flap, is a large pocket suitable for papers, and a smaller pocket with little holsters for pens and gadgets. In this front pocket, you'll also find a small wrench for adjusting the fastening nut that keeps the nonlock side of the shoulder strap attached to the bag. Most of the pockets are too long and narrow, and sealed with Velcro, making them hard to get into, both for potential thieves, and for users as well.

We've never thought too much about someone slashing our laptop bag on the street or in a café before, but after carrying around the Pacsafe MetroSafe 300 for a few days and thinking about its security features, we're positively paranoid about it. Fortunately, if safety is a top priority, the MetroSafe 300 provides it in excess, without looking like a walking lockbox.

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