Dell’s Alienware line of gaming notebooks is well known for the recognizable alien head logo, and if you own an Alienware laptop then you certainly don’t want to hide that iconic design inside a boring laptop bag. The Alienware Vindicator Messenger Bag is more than just a laptop bag that features the famous alien head logo and many of the same design elements found on Alienware notebooks; this bag is a perfect fit for the Alienware 13, Alienware 15, and Alienware 17.
Is this heavily branded bag worth the full $100 price tag? We took a closer look to find out.
Build Quality and Design
Dell and Mobile Edge have teamed up once again to deliver a stylish messenger bag for Alienware customers. The team at Notebook Review reviewed a number of Alienware-branded bags from Mobile Edge over the years, and the Vindicator Messenger Bag looks like a noteworthy addition to that list.
For starters, Alienware’s alien head logo and the Alienware name have a prominent placement on the front and rear panels of this messenger bag. The Alienware brand name is engraved on the zipper pull hardware, and you’ll find repeated use of the sharp angles that are common to Alienware notebooks. The head use of branding can be either a positive or a negative depending on the customer. This isn’t the bag to use if you want to hide your Alienware gaming PC; this is for people who are proud to be Alienware owners.
Mobile Edge used high-density nylon for the exterior of this bag as well as a weather-resistant non-slip base to protect your expensive laptop from moisture if you happen to set the bag down outside in a puddle. The main flap covering the top of the bag is likewise covered in weather-resistant material and the main flap is wide enough to cover the side corners of the main compartment to keep rain out of the bag. This isn’t a “waterproof” design — your notebook will get wet if you submerge this bag in water — but the contents of the bag should stay dry if you need to walk to the parking lot during a rainstorm. Speaking of water, there is a mesh pocket on each end of the bad that can hold a water bottle or other accessories.
You can lift the main flap after releasing the plastic clip that secures the flap to the front of the messenger bag. Inside, you’ll find a padded laptop pocket with a fully adjustable and removable padded insert so you can fit just about any notebook with a screen size between 13 inches and 17.3 inches inside the laptop compartment.
You’ll also find a soft-sided pocket for a smaller tablet (10-inch screen or smaller) in front of the main padded laptop compartment. A pair of zipper mesh pockets and several small open pockets line the opposite side of the interior. The main interior space is large enough for a few books, a change of clothes, or common gaming accessories like a headset and gaming mouse. The Vindicator Messenger Bag also comes with a separate accessory bag designed to hold your laptop power adapter and power cords. We found the accessory bag was more than large enough to hold the power adapter for the Alienware 15, but the larger power adapter for the Alienware 17 only fit inside the accessory bag if we unplugged the power cable from the adapter first.
The inside of the bag also contains a fabric loop and toggle to attach and store your gaming headset so that your gear stays in one place and is less likely to get scratched up.
Alienware Vindicator Messenger Bag Specifications
- UPC: 871981012272
- SKU: AWVM1417
- Exterior Color: Black
- Interior Colors: Blue and Gray
- Material: High-Density Nylon
- Lifetime Warranty
- Weight: 2.7 lbs
- Exterior Dimensions: 17.5″ x 13.5″ x 5″
- Laptop Compartment: 16.3″ x 11.8″ x 1.9″
- MSRP: $99.99
Real World Usability & Comfort
The shoulder strap and pad is one of the first things we typically notice when we review a laptop bag. The shoulder strap itself is a typical nylon adjustable strap common to most messenger bags priced at less than $100. The slide-adjustable, shoulder pad is comfortable enough when the bag is loaded with the Alienware 15 or a smaller notebook, but the pad might not be enough to offset the weight of the Alienware 17 if the bag is loaded with other items as well. The shoulder pad features a vented back panel so there’s enough air circulation to prevent sweat buildup while you’re carrying the bag.
The bag also has a top load-bearing handle so you can haul your gear with one hand if you don’t want to carry it over your shoulder. Our only complaint here is that we wish the nylon handle was wrapped in more padding. The handle starts to “bite” into your hand from excess weight if you’ve stuffed the bag with an Alienware 17, power brick, and multiple accessories like a gaming mouse, gaming headset and snacks.
The Alienware Vindicator Messenger Bag clearly wasn’t made to appeal to the average laptop user. This bag, while it is quite functional and provides good protection for just about any gaming notebook, is mostly “window dressing” for those who purchased an Alienware 15 or Alienware 17 gaming notebook. When another gamer sees you walking around with this bag they know you’re an Alienware user … and proud of it.
Even if you aren’t concerned about being discrete with your gaming PC, you might find that the main laptop compartment and the main interior pocket is a little too small if you’re using an Alienware 17. We felt like the 15-inch Alienware 15 was a perfect fit for this bag, but anything larger seemed to stretch the limits of the bag and made both the carrying handle and the shoulder strap less comfortable to use.
Although the official MSRP listed on the Mobile Edge website and other online retailers is between $90 and $100, at the time of this writing, we found the Alienware Vindicator Messenger Bag on the Dell website for $59.99 plus shipping. While this is a good messenger bag with multiple ways to keep your gear organized and adequate padding for your gaming notebook, $100 is just too much to spend on a messenger bag that is mostly made of high-density black nylon. We feel more comfortable recommending this messenger bag to Alienware customers if they can buy it for $60 or less.
- Decent value if you find it on sale
- Designed to match the look and feel of Alienware notebooks
- Dedicated tablet pocket for smaller device
- Adjustable laptop compartment for Alienware 13, Alienware 15 or Alienware 17
- Too expensive at full MSRP
- Alienware 17 is a tight fit
- Top handle needs more padding
- Main compartment should be larger