Frequent travelers rejoiced when, earlier this year, the TSA issued guidelines for the construction of a bag that would let you zip through security without removing your laptop. The official guidelines suggest a butterfly, trifold, or sleeve-style case that keeps your laptop separate from other travel detritus so that a security screener can get a good look at it as it goes through the X-ray.
The Mobile Edge ScanFast Backpack ($100) falls into the butterfly category; the laptop compartment features a double zipper that zips all the way down both sides of the bag, letting you lay the bag flat for screening. The laptop itself sits in a lightly padded pocket and is held snugly in place with a single adjustable Velcro strap.
The front side of the bag, where your files and accessories are stowed, is impressively large. One deep compartment, with a double zipper that opens halfway down each side of the bag, contains a mesh pocket for discs or travel accessories on one side and an accordion file pocket on the other, with some space left over for books, folders, or other work materials. In front of that compartment is another deep pocket, accessible via a single 9.5-inch-wide zipper, which can accommodate notepads, paperbacks, and other materials. This compartment also contains a zippered pocket for your MP3 player as well as a pass-through for the headphone cord.
On the front, an oblong pocket (nearly 10 inches wide) is the perfect size for most power cords, though larger power bricks might not fit; beneath it an organizer compartment provides pen loops, a place for business cards, and additional pockets for smaller accessories. A zipper on the side of the bag reveals a pull-out mesh holder for a water bottle; a mesh pocket on the shoulder strap can hold sunglasses or a smaller cell phone (though not most smartphones) within easy reach.