I picked up one of these bags when I was at the Mac-Pro store in San Jose, California, which happens to be the only North American distributor for Be.ez. My Think Tank UD60 was getting awfully full of stuff, and the way I have my bag packed with the Canon EOS 40D makes it difficult to carry larger paper notebooks.
The construction of the bag is sleek and stylish, and it does hold a MacBook Pro 17 very nicely. The fit is snug, to the point where my Speck-encased laptop makes it a little difficult to lock down. There are no external pockets at all, so you need to lift the front flap to access the inner pockets. While the bag doesn’t hold an incredible amount, you can certainly carry pens, a couple of notebooks, and a fair number of accessories (iPod, charger, small digital camera, cables, etc). The bag is actually wedge shaped, the bottom wider than the top, which allows one to pack in more stuff in the bottom pockets without unsightly bulges.
Functionally speaking, one drawback of this bag is that it has a tendency to lean forward (toward the front flap) when you set it on the ground. It falls over fairly readily. To compensate for this, you just turn it around, but it makes accessing the pockets while at Starbucks slightly awkward. There is no top handle on the bag either, which helps keep the lines clean but makes repositioning slightly awkward because you need to grab the long seatbelt-style shoulder strap. However, on my shoulder the bag is very comfortable and close-fitting because of the vertical briefcase style.
The form factor of this bag is more well suited for traveling light to a meeting. When I need to carry a ton of gear, I use the Think Tank UD60 with backpack straps. I may use the LEvertigo as my permanent day-to-day laptop transportation solution, and keep the UD60 for the digital camera and supplies, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having a single bag that can carry both.
A few months of use later
This bag is aging fairly well, though the soft pocket material seems to have developed some very slight wear. I’m not sure how well the zippers will hold up over time, but they are not under a lot of stress. When I’m just carrying my laptop, it holds everything I need plus a couple of notebooks for writing in. I think this bag has been replaced by something newer last time I was visiting the sole North American distributor in San Jose, but I haven’t yet really had a good look at it.
CON: I walked around Campbell, Northern Cal in February 2009, loaded with the 17″ MacBookPro encased in a Speck clear case (it still fits!). The bag’s fasteners were squeaking very loudly and annoyingly. I am going to try to put some graphite on it to reduce the noise. It appears to be coming from where the loops meet each other; they are a kind of textured metal that are rubbing against each other.
AESTHETIC WEAR: The striping around the edge of the bag is getting worn and ratty-looking. I think it used to be white, but now it’s gray. In patches.
LINK: Be.ez LEVertigo 17