If the name Speck is familiar, it’s likely because of the brand’s smartphone and tablet cases. Since 2001 Speck has produced a case for every electronic device out there. Now it’s ready to break into new markets with a set of backpacks for the modern traveler.
The MightyPack, and its TSA-friendly sibling, the MightyPack Plus, are laptop backpacks with room for a 15-inch laptop and a 10-inch tablet. They also have a faux fur-lined Tech Locker for valuables and scratch prone electronics. That functionality doesn’t come cheap, though, as the MightyPack and MightyPack Plus retail for $80 and $100 respectively. The two are mostly identical, but the Plus is TSA compliant.
That’s a high price point for a mid-range laptop bag. Can new and useful features prove that it’s worth the extra scratch?
The college student’s friend
While the MightyPack’s shape is subdued and fairly basic, the choice of material and color scheme renders it more fit for a college campus than an office building. Our review bag came in the most subdued option, which is black and navy blue. The bag can also be purchased in sky blue or bright pink.
The material feels alright, but where the MightyPack really wins points is padding. It’s everywhere, even lining the side of the bag that sits against your back, and it’s oh so squishy. Even when it’s fully loaded down, it feels like the devices inside would survive a full speed slam into a brick wall. Simply dropping the bag shouldn’t result in any damage to what’s inside.
Strangely, Speck has skimmed on the strap’s padding. Especially when compared to the thick padding with mesh found on the back of the bag, the straps feel stiff like cardboard. They started to dig into my shoulders even during short trips.
Pockets for the organizationally obsessed
Inside, the MightyPack offers a slew of pockets in various shapes and sizes, which is great for organizing chargers and devices. The smaller pocket on the outside has a series of small mesh pouches intended for an external hard drive, or a portable battery charger, and there’s even a hole to run cables from there into the main pocket.
The devices inside would probably survive being thrown at a brick wall.
The laptop pocket itself will hold up to a 15-inch laptop, and while it might not feel like the padding at the bottom of that sleeve is significant, the thick layer at the bottom of the bag acts as an excellent support. I didn’t worry about throwing my 11-inch Chromebook in the pocket, even though it flops around, because of the strong supporting padding all over.
The feature that really sets the MightyPack apart from other backpacks is what Speck refers to as the Tech Locker. This outward facing pouch is built with a semi-rigid shell lined with plush vegan fur. It’s the perfect place to stash a phone or a portable gaming device without having to worry about damaging or scratching anything. It has a mesh pocket, too, for holding smaller items in place.
Too cheap for the boardroom, too expensive for the dormroom
When it comes to mid-range laptop backpacks, the three most important factors are how comfortable it is, whether it holds all of a day’s worth of stuff, and your personal aesthetic preferences. The latter two are an easy win for Speck’s MightyPack. With plenty of purpose-built pockets and thick, open-cell padding, any devices stored inside are safe. And while it’s not exactly professional, the pack’s subdued look should work for most.
Comfort is another story. There’s just not enough padding on the straps, and that means packing too many electronics can become uncomfortable. That’s too bad – with a tablet, laptop and other devices in tow, it’s easy to stuck fifteen or twenty pounds of gear inside.
The MightyPack’s competitors, the SwissGear Wenger or the Case Logic Evolution Pro, offer similar feature sets and capacity, with more refined looks. Unfortunately, the price point for the MightyPack’s competition is around half of Speck’s listed retail price of $80, which makes it hard to recommend.
Still, it’s not without its redeeming qualities. The Tech Locker is a novel feature and one that most will find immediately useful. The protection it provides the laptop is also noteworthy, and the organizational pockets and cable runs inside are well thought out. It’s a great bag if you like the look and don’t weigh the bag down too much.
- Vegan fur-lined Tech Locker
- Thick padding
- Lots of well-organized pockets
- Cable runs
- Straps are too thin