Kensington Contour Balance Notebook Case Review

by SarahM Reads (9,093)

Spoiler alert: the Kensington Contour Balance Notebook Case is made for women. I know, I know, it looks great and I’m sure all you guys out there are very jealous.

Lucky for you ladies, we decided to test this very fashionable bag which Kensington claims should "fit like your favorite pair of shoes." We’ll be the judge of that.

The Contour Balance Notebook Case Specifications

  • Exterior dimensions: 18" W x 6" L x 11.5"H
  • Notebook compartment: 13.6" W x 1.6" L x 10" H
  • Weight: 2.7 lbs.
  • Air-Flo Contour Exterior Panel
  • AirBrake bottom cushion
  • Detachable shoulder strap
  • Water-resistant material
  • Kensington Limited Lifetime Warranty


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Design and Aesthetics

The Contour Balance Notebook Case (which will be known as the Contour Balance for the remainder of the review) is a stylish bag. It comes in brown or black and has a very simple design pattern that resembles more expensive designer purses. The handles have a magnetic clasp for easy toting but it also comes with a color coordinated detachable shoulder strap. The hardware (including six balls on the bottom of the bag) is made out of solid silver metal.


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The outside of bag is mostly made out of a water resistant nylon material except for the Air-Flo Contour Panel. The panel is a softer, cushiony area that is supposed to dissipate heat and hug the body.

On both sides of the Contour Balance are large open pockets perfect for storing boarding passes and magazines (I did both on a recent flight) or any other loose, thin objects you want easy access too. There are also two open areas on either end of the bag where I stored the detachable strap when I wasn’t using it, but could also be used to store a 20 oz soda or water bottle.


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The Contour Balance is split into three main zippered compartments: the notebook compartment in the middle and two equally large compartments on both sides perfect for storing accessories.

The first large compartment has six open elastic pockets, three pen holders and a key fob for organizing smaller accessories such as cell phones, MP3 players, lip gloss, keys, a wallet, an external mouse, etc.


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The second large compartment has one large zippered pocket which could be used for storing makeup or other personal items that you don’t want floating around at the bottom of the bag. This compartment would also be great for storing a smaller handbag or clutch.


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The middle compartment is where the notebook is stored. The inside is made out of a soft quilted fabric and there are three panels of cushion on the bottom and both sides of the compartment. The bottom is probably ½ inch thick, the sides are little less. On the outsides and bottom of the bag, there is hard plastic sewn into not only keep items from protruding but for extra support for the notebook. The case can hold most 15" notebooks; it held my Dell Latitude D620 with room to spare.


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Using the bag

The Contour Balance is comfortable to use. The Air-Flo side panel was nice, especially when I carried it like a messenger with the detachable shoulder strap. The padding kept the hard plastic sides from rubbing or bruising my hip. I don’t know how much heat it dissipated since it’s not exactly warm in Ohio and I’ve been wearing extra layers but it seems like it would absorb heat, if nothing else it cut back on friction.

The notebook compartment is soft and has adequate padding to protect a laptop but is not designed for users that are hard on their bags. In other words, I was still careful toting this bag around but it’s definitely a step up from throwing into a normal bag.

My biggest complaint for this bag is it’s not great for storing thicker items while also carrying your notebook. When I was traveling recently, I brought my power brick with me, which is a little over an inch thick. Once you wrap the cords around it, it’s pushing two inches. Not incredibily big, or bulky but when I placed it in one of the large compartments with the notebook in the middle compartment I had trouble zipping up the bag which was frustrating. I fixed this dilemia by shoving it in one of the side pockets that are meant for water bottles, but the point is this bag can’t handle anything bulky.

I did enjoy that the hardware was solid metal – no worries about the shoulder strap breaking off – and the stitching was sturdy, with only one noticeable fray.

I also really liked the external pockets; both the end pockets that I stored the detachable strap and my power cord in and the side pockets that I used for my boarding pass and magazines were extremely useful.

Overall, I found two great uses for this bag: as a primary or secondary carry-on, and as a way to transport my notebook to and from work everyday.

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Great use of external pockets
  • Limited Lifetime warranty
  • Reasonably priced (in line with similar bags)

Cons

  • Didn’t protect laptop as well as other dedicated notebook cases
  • Couldn’t store "bulkier" items/accesories

Conclusion

The Contour Balance is not a bag for those of you who want to carry your whole life with you everywhere you go, and I know there are plenty of women out there like that.

But if you are looking for a reasonably priced, good looking, semi-convertible case with added protection for a notebook, the Contour Balance might be the bag of your dreams.

Pricing and Availability

The Contour Balance Notebook Case can be pre-ordered on Kensington’s website and should be available late March/early April. The retail price for the case is $79.99.




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