Logitech 15.4 Kinetik Backpack Review

by Reads (59,018)

by Kevin O’Brien

The Logitech 15.4 Kinetik Backpack is the first backpack released through Logitech, with a unique design that is sure to set it apart from the rest of the pack. Will features such as ample shoulder, back, and strap padding, combined with a rugged body for carrying your electronics make this case stand out in an already saturated market? Hopefully this review will shed some light on this new product from Logitech.


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Logitech 15.4 Kinetik Specifications:

Protection

  • Lightweight exo-shell casing: Protects your notebook and other valuables without added bulk.
  • Padded notebook sleeve: Secures and protects your notebook.

Comfort and Convenience

  • Contoured back panel: Reduces strain and adds support.
  • Expanding compartments: Enjoy easy access to your notebook and other assets.
  • Structured storage: Additional cargo bays and convenience pockets secure and organize your valuables.
  • Free-standing: Superbly-balanced, your backpack won’t fall over when set down.
  • Fits most 15.4" notebooks, plus Apple 17" MacBook Pro
  • Very lightweight, 3lb 14oz empty

Style and Construction

  • Professional look: Strikes the perfect balance between style and function. Shape integrity prevents the misshapen "camper" look common to notebook packs.
  • Superior construction: Fabricated with precision detail from ballistic nylon, polyurethane/ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) composite, and polyester.

Build and Design

In terms of design this backpack looks different from the standard backpack lineup, so make sure you enjoy the style before you decide to order one. Some say it resembles a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shell, so just make sure you are comfortable with that. I personally like the design, and think a turtle shell sticker on the soft cover would look hilarious.

The Logitech 15.4 Kinetik backpack is built with a semi-rigid front shell which helps it hold form even when empty. While this can keep papers and other delicate items from being smushed, the downside is it doesn’t compress well if you try to lean back in a seat with the backpack on. Another design feature of this bag that plays along with its rigid structure is its ability to free-stand, instead of flopping down limp when placed on the floor. This worked quite well as long as a laptop was in the back to even out the weight in the front. If for example you had a textbook in the front section, without counterweights in the back, it would flip forward.


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Inside the case you see the vast number of organizing pockets and dividers. These made it quite easy to keep things organized, as well as keeping more fragile items (cellphone, iPod, etc) with scratchable screens out of harm’s way. In total there were two main zippered sections, three smaller zippered pockets, two Velcro pockets, one mesh divider, one soft divider, two rigid dividers, one small pouch, three pen holders, five business card slots, and one key fob. Logitech basically has a section of this backpack for any item you could throw into it.

Durability

One part that concerned me was the overall strength of the top coating over the external "shell." When being dragged around, crammed into a car or airplane stowage area, bags tend to see a lot of friction. The main parts that see this wear over time are the straps that make contact with your shoulders, and the front cover if you lay the bag down or cram it in tight areas. During our stress tests we produced some accelerated wear on the front cover, and it didn’t hold up as much as I hoped. The softer exo-shell wore through to the softer molded interior section. This type of wear usually doesn’t show up nearly as fast on all-nylon bags, as ballistic nylon tends to be more resistant to abrasion.


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While the wear does look quite ugly, it didn’t go past the outer smooth layer. When exposed to average wear, the exo-shell’s coating will probably only peel in some spots over time, but the underlying structure will stand firm.

Capacity

This backpack holds a ton of stuff. I had four laptops inside the pack with room for a smaller fifth 13" laptop. For the pictures I went with three laptops (LG R500, Lenovo T60, HP 2510P) inside the rear compartment and two thick books in the front. Plenty of space to carry two people’s stuff to class, if that is a wanted feature.


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Laptop Protection

The backpack has a dedicated area toward the rear of the case to house your laptop. The laptop is protected on five sides from impact with the use of foam all around the sleeve. The top of the sleeved section has no cover to keep out dust or other debris away from your laptop, but once the case is zippered up that won’t be as much of an issue. Padding on the bottom wasn’t as thick as I would have liked, making you think twice about dropped the bag down with a laptop tucked inside.


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Back and Shoulder Protection

Logitech did not skimp one bit in padding on the rear of the case. Foam is nearly an inch thick in the lumbar support region, and 3/4" on the rest including the straps. At times I felt my hand reaching for a reclining knob, since it felt like my back was surrounded by my car seat. The thick padding on the straps made it comfortable lugging around two laptops given they were adjusted just right. With the hugging shape of the neck cutout, if you have the straps tensioned too tight, it can "bite" into your neck. With a little bit of slack this disappeared completely and the backpack felt very cushy. The shoulder straps also had a chest strap to hold the bag firmly in place, keeping movement to a minimum if you had to jog or walk briskly while wearing the backpack.


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Conclusion

The 15.4 Kinetik Backpack ($99.99) is a great start into the laptop backpack market for Logitech. They nail the design for user comfort, give ample space for additional items, and above all protect the laptop. Some consideration should be given if you know the bag will be dragged and kicked around, as it may not look so picture perfect as time goes on. If you aren’t someone who is overly picky about looks, and more concerned with function over form, this is a case worth looking into.

Pros:

  • Holds it shape to protect loose papers and other items thrown into it
  • Extremely comfortable carrying straps
  • Compartments for practically everything

Cons:

  • Exo-Skeleton shell could be more abrasion resistant


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