Spire Dart laptop case
Traditional laptop cases, such as the Solo Smart Strap, are almost like mobile workspaces, offering sections and pockets for laptops, papers, accessories and anything else you might need to lug around. Those who wish to travel light may find those options to be overkill. Stripped-down laptop bags like the $50 saddlebag-style Spire Dart have enough room for a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and maybe a few newspapers or magazines, but little else. In return for paring down, you get a small, stylish bag that offers basic padded protection without screaming "laptop!"
The Spire Boot is available in slightly different sizes for 13-, 14-, 15-, and 17-inch laptops. Our review unit was designed for a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and the internal pocket measures 15.5x11.25x 1.25 inches. While a 17-inch MacBook fit inside snugly, we couldn't close the top zipper around a different 17-inch laptop we tried, the Dell XPS M1710. The Dart seems best for holding either a 17-inch MacBook and virtually nothing else, or a 14- or 15-inch laptop, plus documents and accessories.
The main laptop pocket has a quarter-inch of padding in front and behind, sufficient for basic commuting, but not exactly bulletproof. Directly in front of the main pocket is a second zippered pocket, of the same height and width, but only deep enough for a few papers. Another similar-size pocket sits behind the laptop sleeve, with a Velcro enclosure. A smaller zippered pocket sits in the middle of the front face of the bag, measuring 7x5 inches, good for an iPod or phone, although that pocket offers no padding. The case's exterior is made from Ballistic nylon, and feels like it can take a beating.
The bag's strap is thin, but sat comfortably on our shoulder, and there are also two carrying handles along the top of the case. The only unexpected frill was a detachable key fob clipped to the inside of the front packet, for those who hate digging around the bottom of a bag for their keys.