CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Targus Radius Convertible Messenger/Backpack - notebook accessories bundle review: Targus Radius Convertible Messenger/Backpack - notebook accessories bundle

Targus Radius Convertible Messenger/Backpack - notebook accessories bundle

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read

While a 15-inch MacBook laptop from Apple is really about the same size and weight as a 15-inch laptop from any other PC maker, Targus strikes a clever marketing note by specifically advertising its Radius Convertible Backpack as designed for 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks. The $99 case is, of course, suitable for any 15-inch or smaller laptop, and if you don't like the backpack look, the twin straps tuck away into a zippered pocket, and you can snap on a traditional shoulder strap to carry it as a vertical messenger.


Targus Radius Convertible Messenger/Backpack - notebook accessories bundle

The Good

Convertible backpack/vertical messenger design; roomy main pocket; thickly padded strap.

The Bad

Space cut up into too many pockets. MacBook tie-in is a bit gimmicky.

The Bottom Line

Even though Targus emphasizes the backpack part of the sleek Radius Convertible Backpack, we like it a lot better as a vertical messenger bag.

The Radius Convertible Backpack is black with dark olive-colored accents, giving it a sophisticated urban look, without being too business-like. We much prefer it set up as a saddlebag-style vertical messenger bag than a backpack, because unless you're walking through a college campus, no one looks good lugging a backpack around.

Even though the case only measures 13.3 inches by 19 inches by 4.5 inches, there's a surprising amount of space inside, even if it's divided up into too many individual sections. The main compartment has a padded slot for your laptop--15-inch models are a tight fit and smaller laptops will swim around a bit. The front half of the main compartment accordions out a bit, giving you welcome flexibility for carrying larger accessories.

A second zippered compartment is narrower and seems perfect for papers and magazines, but we'd almost prefer to see it combined with the main area for a larger storage space. Under the flap, a smaller zippered section has labeled pockets for your Apple accessories--an iPod, Apple mouse, and MacBook power supply--but anything roughly the same size and shape will fit in there. That compartment even has its own zippered mesh pocket on its face, while the front flap also has a small zippered pocket built into its outer face, making it the only pocket (except for a water bottle holder and a Velcro accessory pocket on either side of the case) accessible while the flap is closed.

We appreciate the flexibility of the convertible design, but see this as a much better vertical messenger bag than a backpack. The messenger bag shoulder strap has a thick comfortable pad, although it's missing the built-in cord winder (basically a little plastic hook to wind your excess headphone cable around) found on one of the backpack straps.


Targus Radius Convertible Messenger/Backpack - notebook accessories bundle

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 6Performance 0