When it came close to leaving for CES this year, we decided that instead of being stuck with our own old messenger bags or the flimsy press bag we’d be given when we arrived at the show, we’d be better off calling in some back up in the form of quality bags to help lug our gear around. We’ll have a few more hands-on posts from our testing coming up, but first off we have the most stylish of the group: the Lola laptop bag ($169) from London brand Knomo. While a well-designed nylon backpack or messenger bag is alright by us, the Lola bag definitely says “chic” more than “tech nerd,” which is a plus for some of us. After a busy CES press day, three long days on the show floor, and two flights, we can definitely say we gave this bag a thorough testing. Now we can report what we like about it, what we don’t like about it, and whether or not it’s a worthwhile buy.
When we got the bag in the mail we had two first impressions. First of all, the bag is very nice looking. The details all look sturdy and expensive and the red quilted fabric with the black faux-leather makes for a classically chic look. Secondly, the bag is pretty huge. It definitely looks more like a carry-on travel bag than your typical laptop bag, but this is an advantage if you are trying to carry a lot of stuff. We liked the feel of the bag right off the bat. The fabric is nice and doesn’t seem like it would wear out or get dirty quickly. There are lots of nice details in the bag like organizational pockets, a top zipper, and several easy-access pockets on the front.
While it does have a few kinks to work out, we were mostly very impressed with the Lola shopper and how it functioned for our needs during CES week. It was big enough to hold all of our gear, which included a 15-inch Macbook Pro, a Nikon DSLR, a Canon point-and-shoot, many charging cables, snacks, purse essentials (wallet, keys, lip balm, gum), various papers and business cards, a Kindle (on the flights), and a water bottle, with a few other random items thrown in there for good measure. We found a good spot for almost everything thanks to the inner organizational pockets and zippered outer compartment.
The laptop sleeve features quilting just like the outside of the bag and has a padded bottom, which is important to us so that our laptop doesn’t get set down too hard when we’re not thinking straight. The rest of the inside of the bag is plenty big for whatever else you might need to carry; in this case, basic purse essentials, a bag of charging cables, one DSLR, and one smaller camera. It wouldn’t feel too big or bulky for just a laptop and your everyday essentials, but it will hold quite a bit if you need it to.
The only problem we had with the size was that when we got it really full, it became a little awkward to carry right under our shoulder. It’s certainly still practical when packed completely full, but much more comfortable with a little room left over. Overall we found the bag comfortable to tote around, even for long periods of time. The shoulder straps are heavy-duty and didn’t slip off or cut into our shoulder.
As we mentioned before, this bag also gets major points for style. For some people, just because you’re carrying around a laptop, DSLR, and various other gear doesn’t mean you want to wear a backpack or something sporty– especially when the dress code is business casual. This bag looks more like a purse, with a big step up in size and functionality. It looks more polished than almost any laptop bag we’ve seen, and the added style makes it a lot more versatile than something with less aesthetic appeal.
One of the few problems we had with the bag was that we couldn’t find a perfect place to store our iPhone and still have easy, quick access. The small pocket on the outside of the bag seemed like a good spot, but it was much too small, and the zippered pocket isn’t as easy to access. There is a small slip pocket inside that would work, aside from the fact that we stowed our point-and-shoot there, but it would be nice to have such a pocket accessible from the outside. Based on how much you can carry in this bag, it would also be nice if it came with a detachable long shoulder strap like some of Knomo’s other bags.
After a solid week of testing that could have easily gone bad (we had a giant shoulder knot after CES last year from our bag), we were impressed with the quality, functionality, and style of the Knomo Lola bag. There are a few things we could see improvements on, but it was functional, sturdy, and looked better than any other press bag we saw on the CES show floor. If you need a laptop bag that will also carry your daily essentials and a few other things thrown in and want something stylish, we would definitely recommend this Knomo bag over any other. The price ($169) seems a little steep at first glance, but based on the quality and style, we’re going to say that it’s worth it. With the classic styling and sturdy construction, we expect to have this bag around for quite some time. Our only word of warning here would be to make sure that you need all the room before ponying up for this bag. If all you need to carry is your laptop and a few extras, one of the brand’s smaller styles might suit you better. If you need something to carry your whole life in, this is definitely the bag for you.