Skooba Design's latest $129.00 Checkthrough computer bag is a backpack that has rigid edges and has a separate see-through "Butterfly" compartment which allows you to scan the entire bag through the TSA scanning equipment with the laptop inside.
Recently Skooba Design, whose first-generation TSA-approved "Checkthrough" laptop bag I had looked at earlier this year sent me one of their new backpacks. It was good timing, as I was about to go on vacation to South Carolina and I would be able to test it in a real travel scenario.
While I had liked Skooba's first generation Checkthrough laptop brief, and still feel it's an excellent product for people who like traditional laptop bag briefcase designs, for my own routine use over the last six months I ended up moving to a Mobile Edge backpack design instead, as I frequently have an additional piece of luggage with me which I carry on the plane that gets checked at the gate and it is more comfortable for me to hang my carry-on stuff on my back rather than drag it on my shoulder. I can lumber through the airport a lot faster that way.
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Knowing that Skooba makes quality travel accessories I was very excited to see their new backpack. Like their previous Checkthrough product, it incorporates a separate, see-though zippered compartment that "Butterflies" out from the main part of the bag which allows the TSA RapiScan equipment to view the laptop unobstructed and also eliminates the possibility of the laptop accidentally (albeit a remote possibilty) falling out of bag, as with "Pouch" designs such as the Mobile Edge. The bag is made of the same durable 1680 Denier Ballistic Nylon material as their other products, although I would have liked to have seen them go with a 1050 Denier, which is tougher and doesn't "Pill" as quickly.
What I liked -- Durable construction, lots of compartments and well organized. Rigid material in the lining makes the squared off parts of the bag more protective of the equipment. Separate, see-through zippered enclosed flip-out "Butterfly" compartment that securely holds the laptop.
What I didn't like -- The Skooba backpack is of a smaller, compact squarish design rather than a "Teardrop" design that Mobile Edge has, and it is less generous in terms of storage. It can't really be "stuffed" like the Mobile Edge. Also limited to holding a 15" laptop snugly, a larger laptop might be problematic. Also I felt the front pouches were a little on the smallish side compared to other bag designs, but some people, such as women or less burly men might prefer this compact design better.
In addition to the backpack, Skooba has also introduced a "Roller" version of its laptop briefcase, for $189.00.