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Timbuk2 Commute XL

We've all been there. Shopping for a PowerBook bag has never been an easy task. These days, there are more than plenty PowerBook bags to choose from, but most of them don't offer the protection that your new PowerBook deserves. Now, there is a bag that will actually give you some piece of mind. Timbuk2's wonderful new Commute XL notebook carrying bag features tons of padding for the protection of your notebook. Some of the Commute XL's key strengths are its rather large storage capacity, padded carrying handle, dual water bottle holders, padded rear compartment, neatly organized interior with zippered pockets, and most of all, its plush-lined, padded, interior notebook compartment.

When I first picked my bag up in January at Timbuk2's Macworld booth, I decided to walk around San Francisco for a while with my bag, just to see how the bag would hold up under conditions which a true road warrior would face. After using this bag to protect my 17-inch PowerBook while I was in San Francisco, I finally realized the true purpose of this bag. I can tell that Timbuk2 put a great amount of time into developing this bag. My PowerBook was protected from harsh rain, being bounced around on Muni's cablecars and streetcars, and a few four-foot-high drops. Not a bad investment, if you ask me.

While carrying your PowerBook around with you in any bag for an extended period of time, your shoulder tends to become a little tired of the weight. To remedy this, Timbuk2 offers a detachable strap pad for only $10. This upgrade truly aids in carrying your belongings for the longest time possible. If you don't want to shel out the extra ten bucks when you purchase your bag, you can always order and attach your strap pad at a later date for the same price. You can choose from Ballistic nylon, Cordura nylon, or Toughtek No-slip rubberized material for your strap pad. The color selection for the different materials corresponds to the color selection for Timbuk2's messenger bags which can use either nylon material. At this time, the Toughtek strap pad is only available in black.

Besides the wide selection of strap pads, Timbuk2 also offers other detachable add-ons for any bag which uses a two-inch wide strap. Two of my favorites are the iPod Case and the Padded Strap Pouch. The iPod case is padded and plush lined, just like the Commute XL's interior notebook compartment. The flap which covers the top of the case has a small cutout for your iPod's headphones, so you can keep the case closed and still listen to your music. For a fourth-generation 40GB iPod, the fit was snug, with the headphone cutout barely matching the iPod's headphone port. If you wish to use Apple's wired iPod remote with the case, it is a pain to connect the remote to the iPod through the cutout, but it is possible. The Padded Strap Pouch is a pouch about the size of your hand, which is perfect for fitting most small digital cameras, and other small devices. My Canon PowerShot s70 camera fit perfectly in the pouch. As the name states, this is a padded pouch. Although the interior is lined with a fine nylon-like material instead of plush, the pouch will not scratch your devices. Both of these add-ons carry a price tag of $20 and may be added onto your bag's shoulder strap at a later time.

The Timbuk2 Commute XL notebook carrying case was built specifically with 17" PowerBook users in mind. Its interior padded and non-padded compartments will protect the contents of your bag, zippered pouches will keep your things organized, and rugged nylon exterior will keep your bag together. Overall, I think this is a great investment for the protection of your $2700 17" PowerBook. It is definitely the best notebook bag I've seen in a while. One thing I know for sure is, we've come along way from the early days of notebook carrying cases.

Pros: Padded, plush-lined interior protects your PowerBook from life's mishaps, durable materials and stitching add value to your investment, organized, zippered pockets keep your smaller items in place, dual drink holders come in handy for lengthy trips

Cons: Just a tad bit pricey for me at $120 (It's worth it, though)

MB Buying Advice: If you're tired of playing the PowerBook bag shopping game, this bag is for you. Its durability, organization, and protection far outweigh its price. I would trust my PowerBook's well-being to this bag everyday (I already do, anyway.)

Posted by: MacBrilliance News Staff on Mar 15, 05 | 10:28 pm