Chrome Bags Soyuz Laptop Backpack Review

by Reads (17,974)
  • Pros

    • Attractive industrial design
    • Weatherproof and rugged
    • Abundant compartments
  • Cons

    • Limited laptop compartment padding
    • Industrial design might look unprofessional

If you’re looking for the perfect laptop bag for your new notebook then you may be in luck. Chrome Bags promises the Soyuz laptop backpack is the ultimate solution for road warriors who are constantly running between the office and the gym … or maybe need to join a conference call from the beach. Is this $180 laptop backpack worth your holiday cash? Keep reading to find out.

Soyuz Specifcations:

  • Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 6 inches (L x W x H)
  • 1000 Denier Cordura Body
  • Airmesh Strap Construction
  • Waterproof RF Welded Urethane Roll-top Main Chamber
  • Ergonomic EVA Compression Molded Back Panel
  • PVC Coated Weatherproof YKK Zippers
  • Full Shoulder Strap Accessory Attachment Belts
  • Industrial Metal Cam Locks Under Arm Compression Buckles
  • 11″ x 17″ File Pocket With Organization Pockets
  • Five Additional Weatherproof Cargo Pockets
  • MSRP: $180.00 (available at www.chromebags.com)

Build and Design
The designers at Chrome Bags are obviously aware that modern road warriors don’t haul the “traditional” mobile office anymore. Today your average mobile professional brings a notebook PC, a smartphone, and a variety of personal items ranging from a day’s worth of clothes for an overnight business meeting or an outfit for the afternoon workout.

The Soyuz laptop backpack meets these needs and more thanks to dual primary compartments, multiple weatherproof pockets, and a sleek design that easily fits inside the overhead compartment on a flight or under the seat in front of you. The main roll-top backpack compartment is fully waterproof with a seam-sealed main chamber that will keep sweaty workout clothes away from delicate electronics or keep your beach clothes separate from your laptop. The side-access laptop compartment features a moderately padded section for your notebook and a divider for paper files or hard copies of your next business presentation. Another compact waterproof compartment on the front of the bag is the perfect place to store USB flash drives or any other small items you want to keep dry.

User Comfort
Of course, all of the waterproof storage in the world won’t help a backpack that isn’t comfortable on your shoulders and your back. Thankfully, the Soyuz is exceptionally comfortable thanks to shoulder straps that have airmesh padding and a back panel with ergonomic pads. While the surface of the shoulder straps that faces your shoulders has great breathable padding it’s the front of the shoulder straps that I found particularly impressive. The front of the shoulder straps features seatbelt-quality reinforcement straps for added durability and metal compression buckles to keep the shoulder straps set to the right length. Shoulder straps are usually the first thing to fail on most of my laptop backpacks because I haul multiple notebooks and netbooks when traveling (I review these things for a living, after all). The straps on the Soyuz feel so rugged that I suspect they can handle any abuse I inflict upon them. If you prefer to carry your backpackl one handed using the top handle then you’ll be pleased to know that the top handle feels nice and strong … but the roll-top enclosure at the top of the bag does get in the way of the handle sometimes.

Usability Issues
The Soyuz proved itself to be a fantastic travel companion during my month-long test of the backpack. I used the Soyuz as my daily work bag and as my only carry-on bag for several business flights. Not only was the slim profile of the Soyuz easy to squeeze into overhead compartments and under seats, but the rugged construction held up to scrapes, drops, and more than a few rain showers without damaging the contents of the bag.

That said, I often found myself wondering if the Soyuz had enough padding around the main laptop compartment. None of the notebooks or netbooks I used during the review period were damaged in any way, but the padding on this bag “looks” thinner than what I see in most of the bags that arrive in our office. As mentoned before, the top handle on the bag is often obstructed by the roll-top enclosure, so if you don’t roll the top as tight as possible before closing the Velcro then you might not be able to get a good grip on the top handle. Other than these issues I can’t say there were any major usability problems with the Soyuz. As long as you don’t attempt to overstuff the bag with multiple laptops, a change of clothes, paperwork, and your lunch then this bag has all the room you’re likely to need for a work day or an overnight business trip.

 

Conclusion
The Russian word “Soyuz” means “Union” in English, and I think it’s fair to say that the Soyuz laptop backpack from Chrome Bags is the perfect union of form and function. The Soyuz is the ideal companion for urban road warriors who need to jump between the office and an active lifestyle. The interior of this backpack offers enough storage to get you through a day’s worth of work and play and it’s rugged enough to last as long (or longer) than you do.

If I have any criticism about this backpack it’s that the roll-top enclosure sometimes gets in the way of the top handle, the laptop compartment could use a little more padding, and the waterproof Urethane elements might look a little unappealing to some business professionals (though I think it looks great). Still, the Soyuz is a fantastic premium backpack at the $180 price point and might be the perfect choice for someone looking for a new laptop bag.

Pros:

  • Attractive industrial design
  • Weatherproof and rugged
  • Abundant compartments

Cons:

  • Limited laptop compartment padding
  • Industrial design might look unprofessional


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