Belkin Ceylon Messenger Review

by SarahM Reads (18,843)

Belkin announced a brand new laptop bag in January at CES 2008, the Ceylon Messenger. It’s a simple, light bag "for local outings with your laptop."

Now that we finally have one in for review, we’re going to decide if the Ceylon Messenger is worth spending your hard earned money on or if it’s just another run of the mill bag.

The Ceylon Messenger Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16" x 14" x 4"
  • Notebook compartment: 14" x 11" x 2"
  • Weight: 28.4 oz.
  • Water-resistant nylon exterior
  • Tricot inner lining
  • Built-in stability, bag stands on its own
  • Hidden handle, water-bottle pocket
  • Magnetic enclosure
  • Lifetime Warranty


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Design and Aesthetics

The Belkin Ceylon Messenger is a simple, stylish bag. There are no crazy patterns or colors, but the design is unique. The base is wider than the top – it has built-in stability so the bag stands on its own – giving it a triangular look as opposed to a standard rectangular messenger. The majority of the bag is gray, with the sides and the inside lining done in a powder blue. I reviewed the Monument/Clearwater version but it also comes in four other color combinations: Monument/Greenery, Monument/Lavender, Black/Greenery, and Black/High Rise.


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The Ceylon Messenger also differs from other messengers in that the outside flap has a magnetic closure, instead of a buckle.

On the inside of the Ceylon Messenger, there are several pockets/compartments. Working front to back, there is an open space for storing thicker accessories such as a power brick. In this space, there are also two open elastic pockets for storing extra USB cords, chargers, digital camera etc.


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Above these two pockets are two more similar sized pockets. One is zippered, the other just open. I kept my id, cash and other items I wanted in a secure place in the zippered pocket. In the open pocket, I stored a few CD cases, but it would also be great for a PDA, mp3 player, digital camera, sunglasses etc. Or you could use it to store pens, markers, or a calculator.

Behind these pockets, there is a large open pocket. This pocket is perfect for storing loose papers, a notepad, a thin text book or portfolio.

The last compartment is where up to a 15.4" notebook can be stored. The rest of the bag is lined in a similar nylon fabric to the outside, but the notebook compartment is lined in Tricot. If you have no idea what Tricot lining is, it’s similar to a fleece or velour fabric and is made of 100% polyester. Belkin uses it in the notebook compartment to combat scratching.

The compartment is surrounded in about 1/4 inch thick padding, with the bottom being closer to half an inch thick.

On the right side of the bag there is a hidden water bottle pocket that will fit any 20 oz bottle.

On the top there is a hidden handle that stuffs into a small pocket, I kept my keys and chap stick in this small, easy to reach pocket.

The strap is not detachable and very thinly padded. There is a cell phone pocket on the shoulder strap that my LG Chocolate cell phone fit in perfectly, but PDA’s are out.


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Using the bag

The Belkin Ceylon Messenger is a very simple, easy to use bag. I liked the way the bag was set up. Instead of a hundred small pockets tailored to fit random gadgets, there were a few, moderate sized pockets that I could fit most of my accessories in.

I was impressed with how much I could fit into the Ceylon without it feeling bulky or heavy. I had my Latitude D620 notebook, cell phone, power brick, digital camera, digital camera charger, digital camera manual, an extra USB cord, CD cases, my iPod shuffle, keys, wallet, etc. with room to spare.

Although the strap wasn’t padded well, the messenger wasn’t uncomfortable to carry around when I carried it across my chest. And the strap is securely stitched at all of the pressure points, so I wasn’t worried about the bag ripping under extra weight.

The Ceylon Messenger’s notebook compartment lining was the softest I’ve felt in a bag, so I wasn’t worried about scratching. But there was no strap to keep the notebook securely in place, which was disappointing. The padding itself was comparable to what I’ve seen in similarly priced bags – not especially thick, or impact absorbing – but will give the notebook some extra protection.

Conclusion

The Belkin Ceylon Messenger is a quality, stylish bag for only $50. I enjoyed carrying it around and, despite its light weight and small size, managed to fit in all of my accessories.

Granted, the Ceylon Messenger is not for anyone who needs to haul a ton of larger objects (think thick textbooks or speakers) and a laptop but for those who care a medium load to work or school everyday this bag is a great option at a reasonable price.

Also, because of the simple design and multiple color options, I could see men and women carrying this functional bag.

Pros

  • Stylish, several color choices
  • Stores a ton of accessories
  • Soft Tricot notebook compartment
  • Great price
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Notebook compartment padding is average
  • No strap/buckle to secure laptop
  • Shoulder strap also lacking in padding

Pricing and Availability

The Belkin Ceylon Messenger Bag can be purchased via the Belkin website. The Ceylon Messenger is $49.99.


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