Review: Port Designs Chicago II Laptop case (Rose)

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Buying a laptop bag used to be a pretty clear-cut affair. They all looked pretty much the same and you generally bought a generic bag at the same time as the computer, with little or no shopping around. Now though, there’s almost too much choice: Backpacks, trolleys, sleeves – all in more colour choices than you thought possible or even advisable – all vie for your attention.

Turning up to a pitch meeting or LAN party with your lappie clad in the default black Targus tells the world that you don’t care about style. Or maybe that your IT purchasing people don’t. Bear in mind that with World Cup victory almost a certainty, you might well be shopping for a new laptop this summer!


Port Designs are one of those new (or new-ish) companies trying to inject a certain amount of élan into the market. They sent me a Chicago II bag from their Classic line. It’s a solidly-constructed affair which one imagines would cope with a daily commute pretty well. The strap is attached with chunky metal cleats that feel as if they’d take the weight of a 17″ monster without dumping it at your feet. There’s one of those slightly annoying velcroed dividers to keep laptop and power supply separate (although if you were to pack a 17″ laptop, you’d have to put the power supply in one of the other pockets) and a foam pad across the full width of the interior to minimise the danger of a cracked screen.

Pocket space is generally minimal, with one full-width external compartment on the front, another one inside, and a slit pocket on the back. That’s pretty standard stuff, if barely adequate for the mice, cables and extra drives that tend to accompany the average laptop user these days. Woe betide the mobile professional who takes a packed lunch in to work: This bag has room enough for a laptop, but precious little else. The more delicate laptop user will appreciate the provision of a retaining strap on the back to moor the bag to a suitcase trolley when the weight of your computer gets too much to bear.

Finally, I have to mention the colour of the review sample, which was a faintly surgical-looking pale pink. I couldn’t find anyone who found it a pleasant colour, but somebody out there must like it. The leather trim is a chestnut-brown affair that sits rather badly with the pastel pink, and aesthetically the overall impression was, for me, somewhat nightmarish. Certainly some of the other designs in the range looked a little more harmonious, and it’s to Port’s credit that they’re at least trying to offer something quirky and individual at this price point.

More pink things, more bags, more general goodness over at Shiny Shiny

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One thought on “Review: Port Designs Chicago II Laptop case (Rose)

  • I have to agree there’s a lot to choose from out there.

    I’ve been using laptops for quite a while and always made do with a laptop case the company gave me.

    Didn’t mind too much as I didn’t usually have far to carry it when the car parks I used were always just outside the door.

    But working in a city centre soon changed my mind. Carrying a laptop over a 20 minute walk was putting a lot of stress on my shoulder and lower back.

    But since I had the case swapped out for a backpack those problems have gone away.

    They are much lighter than your typical case and help spread the weight over both shoulders.

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