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First day at school and you have to struggle with that blazer where the sleeves are too long for your arms but you have been told you will grow into it, starched stiff colour that leaves a red mark around your neck, black shoes that you can see your face in and will leave you crippled at the end of the day and finally a shiny new bag to hold all of your stuff which one of the big boys will throw in the mud at some point in the day. I pondered these facts on my first day at school, first off I decided that now that I was a teacher I must stop letting my mother buy my school clothes and secondly I did get a slightly strange inner glow of satisfaction at the sight of my new Wenger Saturn Swissgear Computer Bag.
Granted at the time the bag did not contain a laptop, rather it contained an apple, packet of Tic Tacs (memories of Mr Hunter dog breath are still with me 24 years after leaving high school) and three different coloured biros, but still I looked the part and it was better than my previous bag which had expired after a year of copying with text books and files while at university.
The Wenger Saturn is a sturdy laptop bag which at a price of £36.98 on Amazon it will not break the bank. The first and so far lasting impressions that I have about this bag is the dual fact that not only does it retain a stylish appeal but it is extremely well made as befits my expectations from a company bearing a Swiss name, from chocolate to watches and knives you generally find quality to be a constant feature and with this bag you are not disappointed.
When carrying an expensive item like a laptop you want to know that your investment will be afforded some protection from everyday knocks especially if on the train or tube and the Wenger boasts padding to both the front and rear whilst on the inside there is a padded divider in the laptop compartment which can be secured on position using a Velcro strap to ensure the laptop does not move. The Velcro is about an inch and a half square so it provides a good amount of contact area and even with the rather antiquated (that means heavy) 17 inch laptop provided by my school I have found it more than adequate (despite the fact that on Amazon the only review claimed it did not accommodate their 17 inch laptop so some caution is advised). Between this and the storage department for files or other PC paraphernalia there is some light padding and a flexible divider to enable you to separate documents but it provides additional padding.
In the past the biggest failure on computer bags has been with the shoulder strap or handle. The Wenger comes with a tear resistant shoulder strap which is secured to the bag using both a plastic stud bearing the Swiss cross and double stitched webbing at either contact point. The strap itself has a padded rubber shoulder pad to make it more comfortable to carry and also leaves less of an impression on your suit jacket. The handle is not only stylish with its ergonomic design but is secured by a double stud system on either side to an inner plastic panel across the length of the bag again enforced with double stitched webbing.
All of the compartment zips are large and well made and run very smoothly with no snagging, the only potential weakness for me is with the two front pinch clips that secure the opening flap, not only are this not easy to close with one hand but they appear a bit frail and you have to get them just in the right position to be able to secure them.
There is certainly plenty of storage space although there is a limit to how much expansion you can get so it does not hold an ever expanding workload. The main laptop storage area comfortably holds all of the batteries and associated wires and gadgets needed while the second storage area would cope with an A4 file and a couple of books if required, certainly I have found that as the terms workload increase it is able to cope as long as I make sure I keep on top of my filing.
To the rear on the outside of the bag there is a zipped compartment for those documents you want immediately to hand or your newspaper if travelling meaning that you do not have to open the whole bag. On the front there is also a small zipped pouch which I find ideal for storing travel documents or those mints that you might need, I'm also prone to throwing my keys and change in their as well rather than in my trouser pocket.
On the inside there is an organiser section and a further pouch for documents however this one does not have a zip so is only secure when the front flap is secured by the pinch clips. The organiser has a number of pouches, one for either your mobile or MP3 player with a small additional compartment for a memory stick both secured by the same Velcro strip. To the left there is a small zipped pocket ideal for wallets or other valuables you do not want to fall out and there is a webbed pocket on the front of this with an additional pouch behind. To the right there are two pen storage pockets and another pouch this time with a Velcro secured cover and a clear plastic pouch to record name and address details.
Basically I think it looks pretty cool but then I can be a bit sad that way. It is a mixture of grey and black as you can see in the picture and all over the bag is dotted with the Swiss cross occasionally set on a red background. The front of the bag had a prominent gold cross on a red background which is raised up whilst the front padding gives the bag a lag on ribbed effect like it has been working out to get a six pack. All of the zips have the flag detail and there are plain cross effects on the shoulder strap and fastenings.
The other funky eye catching feature is the handle. Just like the Pompidou Centre you can see the inner structure as the steel cable is encased in clear plastic which is turn has a black plastic grip which is very slightly pliable and adorned with the ever present Swiss cross. It is very comfortable to hold even when carrying a full load of documents and laptop.
In summary I'm pretty impressed with the bag so far, the only slight gripe would be the fact that the shoulder strap cannot be removed but would have to be stored inside the bag, otherwise the bag has plenty of storage space for my needs, is extremely well made with adequate protection and has a stylish design which I think makes it stand out a bit, maybe this is not a good thing as it could attract the criminal classes but so far my plan to get in early and leave late means that Biffer Jenkins from 11E (slogan "Protection at a fair Price") has yet to cast his villainous eyes on it.
As I said earlier it is available on Amazon die £36.98 new or from £32.99 in the new and used section. It also claims to comply with most airline restrictions as well.