For business travelers tired of carrying both a bulky laptop bag and a carry-on suitcase, the CODi Mobile Max provides a padded laptop space, plenty of organizer pockets for accessories, and a compartment large enough for a change of clothes and/or shoes in one compact bag. The wheeled bag also features a sturdy, ergonomic handle, ballistic nylon exterior, and thick metal zippers that seem tough enough to withstand the abuses of regular travel. As you might expect, this kind of carry-all bag does not come cheap: the Mobile Max retails for $288. The cost will be worth it, though, for workers who take frequent short trips and who want a single carry-on case for both their clothes and their laptops.
As with other CODi bags we've reviewed, the Mobile Max has a pleasingly compact shape, which measures 19 inches high, 14 inches wide, and 10 inches deep--small enough to fit in the overhead bin. The subdued black ballistic nylon exterior is interrupted only by a tiny red embroidered logo on the front panel. Two zippered panels on the sides of the bag open to reveal mesh pockets that can expand to accommodate a water bottle or an umbrella. A trapezoid-shaped flap pocket on the front of the bag adds visual interest and is the right size to keep a paperback or folded newspaper within reach. Above it, a double zipper opens onto an organizer compartment with pen loops, pockets for business cards, loops for thumbdrives or lipstick on the outer flap, and two large mesh accessory pockets on the inside panel. A springlike fob ensures that your house keys don't get lost in the traveler's shuffle. A second double zipper on the front of the bag opens onto a larger compartment with four mesh organizer pockets to corral even more accessories. Both front zippers open all the way down the sides for easy access to contents; accordion-fold fabric at the edges helps ensure that nothing accidentally falls out. At the top of the front panel, a concealed zipper opens onto a ticket pocket that's just large enough for your boarding pass and passport. With so many front pockets, we had trouble remembering where we'd put things once we'd packed the bag. But we did like that we could fit all our cords and accessories on the front of the bag, reserving the two main compartments for our laptop, files, and clothes.
A double zipper that travels down the sides of the Mobile Max provides access to the front interior compartment, which includes a pocket along the back edge that accommodates the bag's removable padded laptop sleeve. The pocket itself is padded as well, giving your laptop twice as much insulation as a traditional bag. On the front edge of the compartment, you'll find two more expandable mesh pockets that are big enough for spare drives or batteries and a shallow zippered pocket that can hold cords and cables. There's also a divider insert to separate your papers or file folders; the divider attaches to the sides of the bag with Velcro, so it can be removed if you want an open central well.
The back interior compartment, also accessible via a double zipper, includes a large mesh pocket on each side of the telescoping handle--perfect for packing a change of shoes or toiletry case. Four square mesh pockets on the front side of the compartment provide more room for accessories or small clothing items. The interior rear compartment is large enough to accommodate a fresh shirt or even (with judicious packing) a full change of clothes. There are also Velcro strips to attach the file divider to this compartment if yours is not an overnight trip. Unlike other rolling bags we've seen, this rear compartment is not exposed to the elements when the telescoping handle is in use.
Navigating the Mobile Max through airports and security lines is a breeze. The sturdy telescoping handle bends at an ergonomic 25-degree angle, and the T-shaped, rubberized grip makes it easy to keep a firm hold on the bag. The small wheels are remarkably silent, roll smoothly, and remain stable even on varied surfaces. You can lift the bag onto the security table by way of a padded handle on top; a plastic grab handle on the bottom makes it easy to lift the bag when it's on its side, as in a car trunk.
We packed our Mobile Max review unit with our laptop and its charger, a phone charger, a travel mouse, two paperback books, a thick bound journal, a pair of shoes, and casual (read: wrinkleable) clothing for a three-day trip. The bag was quite full but still compact enough to fit into the plane's overhead bin. It was also easy to navigate through security lines and holiday-weekend airport crowds. Our only complaint lies in the bag's vertical orientation: given the bag's suitcase-type functionality, we'd have liked it if the bag could open all the way up like a suitcase, so we could see and access all its contents without packing and unpacking. It's a minor complaint, though, for a bag that is otherwise perfectly suited for short business trips.