The CODi Phantom CT3 is one of a handful of laptop bags we've seen recently that comply with recently released official guidelines from the TSA for creating laptop cases that can go through an X-ray machine with a laptop still inside. It's a potential win for any harried traveler who has ever been stuck at a security checkpoint, where, despite repeated admonitions, there's always someone right in front of you who forgot to take his or her laptop out of its case.
The $225 Phantom CT3 is stylistically similar, but much more expensive than the $99 Targus Zip-Thru Corporate Traveler. Both bags have two main compartments: one for your laptop, and one for everything else. The two compartments split open, butterfly style, so it can lay flat on the X-ray machine's conveyor belt.
Unlike the Targus bag, which has a zipper keeping the two sides of the bag together, the CODi bag has a pair of plastic clips, and then an additional Velcro patch, which must be undone before laying the bag out flat. The two sides of the bag are certainly held together securely for normal use, but having to unfasten both the clips and Velcro might prove complicated under the pressure of a packed airport security line.
The Phantom CT3, when not flattened out, looks much like any other 15-inch laptop shoulder bag, measuring 16.5 by 6.25 by 12.25 inches. The well-padded rear compartment includes a helpful warning/reminder, saying in large white letters, "Laptop Only...Additional screening may be required if this compartment contains anything other than a laptop." The front compartment has room for papers and files, but is not particularly deep, while a sizable outside pocket on the front face of the bag offers more room for A/C adapters, MP3 players, and other bulky items.
But, there's one big issue with any laptop case that follows the new security guidelines. The TSA says that any individual agent can still ask you to remove your laptop for any reason, and we suspect that many TSA agents will be unfamiliar with the new bag designs and your laptop will end up rolling down the belt all by itself anyway.