18
Nov
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When it comes to gadget bags, I'm like a woman with purses: I have a selection to choose from. Not because I just love buying new bags all the time, but because I'm always on the hunt for something better, though ninety-five percent of the time, I have no idea what that "something" is. So I'm always open to new options.

Thus, when SPIGEN reached out to me to take a look at the newest member of their backpack lineup - the Coated Backpack ($99, SPIGEN, Amazon) - I was all in. Plus, I thought it would be good to see how they improved on the Kalasden series that I reviewed back in May.

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In short, they improved on their previous backpack model in nearly every way. The Coated Backpack not only retains, but enhances, a lot of what made the Klasden so great in the first place, and they also changed the design up a bit to "fix" the primary flaws with the Klasden, too. For instance, the Coated Backpack still has the ultra-soft faux fur lining for the laptop area, but it also has it in the tablet section, which is found at the front of the bag. That way, you're getting the best protection for your most important (and probably expensive) gadgets. Otherwise, the design has been opened up, with three distinct areas for stuff: the very front, fur-lined pocket for tablets; a larger area for accessories, and another, equally sized area for a laptop, charger, and the like. This one is also waterproof.

The most impressive thing about this bag is undoubtedly its size to stuff held ratio. The amount of crap you can fit in this bag is actually kind of crazy, given its relatively reasonable footprint. The rectangle-ish design really opens it up to create a lot more room than the "traditional" shape. While I was at the Big Android BBQ, this is the bag I carried. Here is a list of contents:

  • Samsung Series 7 Laptop with charger
  • Nexus 7
  • Galaxy Nexus
  • Wireless mouse
  • ZAGGKeys Flex Bluetooth keyboard
  • Canon ELPH 500HS Camera, extra battery, charger
  • SGP Kuel f60Q portable charger
  • Two or three microUSB cables and a couple of chargers
  • Bluetooth earbuds, wired earbuds
  • A couple of pens and a stylus
  • Knife (which fortunately was not needed)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste (good hygiene is important, kids!)
  • Glasses case
  • Odds and ends: eyedrops, glasses wipes, device cleaning clothes, keys, wallet
  • Mt. Dew
  • ...and as the day went on, a few T-Shirts that I scored from the various booths.

The crazy part is - I could've actually fit more in there if I needed to. It would've been a stretch at that point, but it's possible. I honestly think I could live out of this bag for a weekend if I absolutely had to. It's just that roomy.

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It's not just about how much still if holds, either - this bag looks good. It almost has a leather look to it, given its "coated" nature. As you can see, my review unit is black, but it's also available in orange-brown, gray, khaki (which looks green to me), and navy. Out of all the choices, though, I think the black one looks the best, and I absolutely love the red accents.

Sure, it has looks and tons of space, but how comfortable is it? Quite, actually. I was able to carry it around at the BBQ all weekend without any shoulder or back pain. It's definitely well padded.

Of course, like with everything else, this bag has its negatives. Namely some of the pockets are just in awkward places. For instance, in the "accessories" compartment, there's a large pocket at the bottom that is nearly impossibly to get to when the bag is full. It's just in a weird place, which makes it almost unusable. Likewise, there's a small zippered pocket in the laptop compartment (shown in the last shot above) that is nothing short of a pain in the ass to get to, even when the bag is empty. This is where I kept my smaller items in the above list (keys, eyedrops, etc.), and ended up having to take the backpack off and put it on the ground to get to the stuff in that pocket. It's pretty annoying, because that's actually a really useful pocket. It should just be in a better location.

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Overall, though, I think the Coated Backpack is an excellent choice if you're looking for a new bag. At $99, it's reasonably priced for everything it offers: ample storage space, a sophisticated look, and a waterproof coating. The black version is currently out of stock on Amazon and SPIGEN's website at the time of writing - but they should be getting more stock in soon.

Update: By request, here are some images with stuff in the bag:

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Buy:  SPIGEN, Amazon

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • scuttlefield

    Wow! I was tempted by the one you reviewed in May, but wasn't quite sold. At that price, I wasn't going to take the risk. Now after getting a Nexus 10 (along with my laptop, Nexus 7, accessories, etc), I'm on the lookout for a backpack better than the crappy one I have right now. This looks awesome. I'm sold!

    • scuttlefield

      Just ordered it. All colors except black are in stock on Amazon and at Spigen. I got it in green and got it from Amazon because shipping is free (it's about $10 from Spigen.)

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

        Nice. Interested in hearing your thoughts when you get it. Would also like to see some pics of it to get a better idea of the exact color.

        • scuttlefield

          You got it!

        • scuttlefield

          Just got my green Spigen Backpack today. Seems very well constructed and has just the right amount of space that I need. The color is about what I'd expected from the websites, maybe slightly greener (a little less olive, than I was expecting).

  • http://twitter.com/Xeratun Xeratun

    With my Nexus 10 on the way I may need a new bag. My messenger bag barely holds my laptop and gets painful if I have to wear it very long. I haven't paid much attention to bag reviews before this one, but could you recap a few other good choices so I can get a start on looking? Thanks.

  • Phreqd

    As a fellow gadget bag collector, I want to thank you and curse you for finding another quality bag.

  • jackennils

    Ever tried a Deuter backpack? Best backpacks on this planet!

  • forpar

    Wish you had pictures with items in it. Would like to see the pack loaded. Where do you carry the laptop charger? How about other cables. My pack right now looks like a rats nest with all the cable. Trying to find the one I want is a nightmare.... will this help?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Sure thing. Give me a bit to load it full of junk and I'll add some pics.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      K, added some images with stuff in the bag. Hopefully that will give you a better idea of what the inside is like.

  • DCMAKER

    would it fit an M17x R4?

  • DCMAKER

    Also how good is the padding? The thing i hated with my old/current backpack is the fact if i set it down hard i hear the laptop smacking the surface i set it on. Does the bottom of the backpack....pack a lot of padding?

    • ssj4Gogeta

      That's a concern for me too. I have to keep my backpack carefully down. Could do with some extra padding at the bottom.

      //offTopic: Got your hands on a Xeon Phi yet? :) By the way, here's your proof, straight from Intel - http://www.anandtech.com/show/6451/the-xeon-phi-at-work-at-tacc/2 TDP is 300W for normal variant and 225W for a low-power one.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      I think it's reasonable. The bottom of the laptop area is padded, as is the bottom of the backpack. In other words, I can't hear my laptop touching the floor when I set the bag down.

      • DCMAKER

        like lightly set it down or setting it down like you put bags of groceries on the ground? Also my other comment was would an m17x R4 fit into it? you mentioned a series 7...that just tells the quality not since. they go from 11-17inch laptops

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1503310639 Kree Terry

    Dangit i just picked up a swissgear bag for $30 from walmart. Its nice for what i need it for but i just wish it had a little more room. Ive mostly gone digital but i need a little room for textbooks.

  • youareme7

    I really like the styling of this bag but I wish they offered something like it in a messenger type. The materials look stylish enough to be a professional's bag, but the fact that it's a backpack keeps me from wanting to bring it to work.

  • disqus_mweZh9GYdc

    Anyone else got one of these?

  • Lee Phillips

    This looks like a winner with the fur-lined areas for the tablet and laptop. Two questions:

    - will the laptop area hold a laptop that is 14.75" x 11" x 1.5"?
    - will the tablet pocket hold a 10" tablet?

    Looks like yes by pictures, but hard to tell.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      It will hold a 15.6" laptop without issue, and a 10" tablet will work perfectly in the front pocket.

      • Lee Phillips

        Thanks for the speedy reply. Can't wait to get a new tech bag for work!