Mobile Edge Alienware Orion Messenger Review

by Reads (18,813)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Design
      • 8
      • Features
      • 9
      • Performance
      • 8
      • Total Score:
      • 8.33
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Beautiful designs
    • Durable materials
    • Messenger bag has plenty of space.
  • Cons

    • Messenger strap could use better padding.
    • Accessory pocket in the sleeve needs to be larger

Quick Take

A wonderful pair of Alienware-themed bags for people who can't get enough Alienware.


Mobile Edge is a laptop bag and accessory manufacturer that has a history of making bags for Alienware gaming notebooks. Our editors had mixed feelings about some of the Alienware bags from Mobile Edge in the past, but the latest Alienware Orion Messenger (ScanFast) and Alienware Netbook Sleeve promise to exceed our expectations. I spent a few weeks using these this new bag and sleeve with my Alienware M11x to see if these products are worth your hard-earned cash.

Alienware Orion Messenger (ScanFast) Overview

  • Fits widescreen laptops up to 17.3″ (Including the Alienware M17x)
  • Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Bag, TSA compliant. Leave your laptop in the bag when passing through airport security checkpoints.
  • Semi-Rigid front panel provides extra support and protection
  • Loads of interior pockets to carry your gear
  • Wireless Security Shield protects your cell phone from hackers
  • Ergonomic backing and shoulder straps for maximum comfort
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Exterior Dimensions: 20.5 x 7.5 x 13 inches
  • Interior Dimensions: 16.7 x 2 x 11.5 inches
  • MSRP: $99.99

The Alienware Orion Messenger (ScanFast) is an update to the Alienware line of accessories from Mobile Edge and it indeed looks like a substantial improvement over the older Alienware-themed designs from Mobile Edge. The majority of the exterior and interior is made of 840 Denier Nylon but the front face of the bag features a semi-rigid panel of matte black foam/plastic that gives some added protection against impact if you’re tossing the messenger bag into an overhead compartment or you accidentally kick the bag under the seat while on a flight.

Alienware PCs are all about brand recognition and the same can be said for thes Alienware Orion Messenger. The shoulder strap pad features the Alienware name in the official font. Every zipper has black metal versions of the alien head logo imbedded in the durable rubber pull tabs. The mirror-polished metal alien head logo on the front panel of the bag is the most obvious indication that you’re looking at something related to Alienware, but I have to say it seems a little odd that the back of the bag doesn’t have any Alienware branding at all, just mesh padding and a handle sleeve that fits over your roller luggage in the airport.

The exterior and interior of the messenger bag are loaded with storage options. There is a zippered pocket on either side of the padded front panel that provides quick access to smaller items you might need to grab while traveling. Inside the main accessory compartment offers plenty of space for your laptop’s power brick, wireless mouse, mouse pad, files and other items. A second storage compartment has velcro pockets, sleeves for CDs/DVDs, a key ring, pen holders, and even a “Wireless Security Shield” pocket that helps protects your smartphone from wireless hacking while it’s in your bag.

Of course, one of the main attractions to the new Alienware Orion Messenger bag is the “ScanFast” design. ScanFast is the name that Mobile Edge uses for their “TSA compliant” bags which are designed to be “checkpoint friendly.” In theory, rather than removing your laptop from the bag you can simply open the bag in the “butterfly” position and run your bag through the X-ray machine on the way to your gate. In practice, none of the “TSA compliant” bags we’ve tested from any manufacturer work that easily. TSA officers frequently demand that you take out your laptop so the agent can get a clear X-ray picture. Even if the TSA official doesn’t ask you to remove your laptop it’s common for the agent to rescreen your bag, which wastes more time than simply removing your laptop from the bag in the first place.

Alienware Netbook Sleeve Overview
  • Specifically designed for the Alienware M11x, but fits other Netbooks up to 11.25″
  • Soft, durable and water-resistant Neoprene protects and cushions your Netbook
  • Small enough to fit inside your regular carrying case, but tough enough to use by itself
  • External pocket for AC adapter, files, CDs and other accessories
  • Exterior Dimensions: 12.5 x 1.5 x 10.3 inches
  • Interior Dimensions: 11.3 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • MSRP: $24.99

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I generally don’t get too excited about laptop sleeves/slipcases because if you’ve seen one sleeve you’ve seen them all. A sleeve is essentially just a plain fabric sack that provides a little extra padding to protect your laptop from bumps and scratches. Sometimes you use the sleeve by itself and sometimes you can use a sleeve to protect your laptop inside a second, larger case. In fact, the Alienware Netbook Sleeve is such a perfect match for the Alienware Orion Messenger that Mobile edge should consider offering a discount for people who buy both at the same time.

The sleeve itself is made of durable water-resistant Neoprene and the team at Mobile Edge did a fantastic job adding the Alienware branding all over this sleeve. Love it or hate it, most Alienware owners want people to know they’re using an Alienware, so the alien head logo and trademark alien language on this sleeve are important design elements. Despite all of the Alienware logos, this sleeve is quite simple and not nearly as over-the-top as some of the other Alienware accessories we’ve seen in the past.

When it comes to the construction quality of this sleeve, the stitching is incredibly solid, and the nice metal zippers with paracord and plastic zipper pulls have a smooth action that are easy to open and close. Once again, you’ll find the alien head logo on each of the plastic zipper pulls. Unlike most sleeves that have only a single compartment for the laptop, the Alienware Netbook Sleeve has a front compartment for the power brick or smaller accessories like USB drives. That said, considering how small the second compartment is I woudn’t put my power brick in there due to the risk of stretching the Neoprene beyond its tolerance.

The Mobile Edge Alienware Netbook Sleeve is a perfect fit for the Alienware M11x, but don’t expect to fit anything else in the main compartment. It’s clear that Mobile Edge took specific measurements of the M11x when they designed this sleeve, so if Alienware makes the M11x any larger during the next revision it will not fit inside this sleeve. On the bright side, the snug fit of the Neoprene makes you feel as if the M11x is being “hugged” by protective padding that will keep it safe.

Conclusion
After spending several weeks with the Alienware Orion Messenger (ScanFast) and the Alienware Netbook Sleeve I found very little to complain about. Mobile Edge clearly did their homework and delivered accessories that are nearly perfect for the target audience.

The messenger bag offers tons of space and storage features, and the sleeve is beautiful and “almost” perfect. Once again, our editors debate the benefit of the “ScanFast” feature (the TSA doesn’t make life easy even if you have a fancy bag) and extra padding in the shoulder strap would be nice for people with heavier 17-inch laptops.

Bottom line, if you own an Alienware laptop and are looking for the best accessories then these bags are certainly worth considering.

Pros:

  • Beautiful designs
  • Durable materials
  • Messenger bag has plenty of space.

Cons:

  • Messenger strap could use better padding.
  • Accessory pocket in the sleeve needs to be larger


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