Kensington Contour Balance Notebook Roller Case review: Kensington Contour Balance Notebook Roller Case

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MSRP: $126.45

The Good Provides an ergonomic way to carry large laptops; wheels roll quietly and smoothly, even on uneven surfaces; lots of room and pockets for gadgets, plus concealed pockets for valuables; telescoping handle includes purse hook; contoured shape makes it easy to carry over a shoulder.

The Bad Somewhat expensive; attaching and detaching the shoulder strap is tricky; some of the bag's contents are exposed when the telescoping handle is raised.

The Bottom Line If you travel frequently with a large laptop and lots of other materials, we think the comfort and flexibility offered by the Kensington Contour Balance is well worth the cost.

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8.5 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9

Kensington Contour Balance rolling laptop case

Whenever we've reviewed a shoulder-style laptop bag, such as the Mobile Edge Milano or the Timbuk2 Soma, we've mentioned that most 15.4-inch (and even some 14.1-inch) laptops are far too heavy to carry on one shoulder. The $100 Kensington Contour Balance, which can hold a laptop with a display size of up to 15.4 inches, solves that problem with a set of wheels and a telescoping handle so you can roll the bag as you would a suitcase. Though this design may be overkill for some (and could prove problematic on crowded urban transit) the compact and maneuverable Kensington Contour Balance can take the work out of schlepping your laptop through an airport or during your commute.

Made of water-resistant microfiber and measuring 17.5 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep by 7.5 inches thick, the black Contour Balance is sized more like an airplane carry-on than a typical laptop bag. In exchange for the bulkier shape, though, you do get three roomy compartments to carry all your stuff. On the front, a double zipper opens to reveal organizer pockets for a MP3 player, cell phone, flash drive (or lipstick), three pens, business cards, and discs. Two handy concealed zipper pockets--one on the outside of the front flap and one above the front flap--offer additional security and are large enough to hold more discs, a wallet, keys, a passport, or plane tickets.

Inside the Contour Balance's main compartment, easily accessible via a double zipper that opens three-quarters of the way down the sides of the bag, you'll find a padded laptop space with a Velcro strap to secure the computer, as well as an expandable pocket to hold file folders or magazines. When we stuffed the compartment with a Dell Latitude D630 and two bulky file folders, there was still room for a thick bound journal in the middle.

A double zipper on the back opens to reveal where the telescoping handle attaches to the bag. Kensington included two mesh pockets in this space that could be handy for power cables, and an additional small pocket for your (if you choose) Kensington security lock. We were psyched to have this bonus space until we noticed that opening the cover to extend the telescoping handle leaves the compartment exposed. Though the gap is not huge and is mostly sheltered while you're pulling the bag, we've suffered through enough soggy San Francisco commutes to be wary of placing electronics in that back pocket. On the positive side, we love the Velcro strap on the back of the bag that can slip over a suitcase handle and attach the Contour Balance on top of a larger rolling suitcase.

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