Slappa Ballistix AURA Review

by Reads (11,050)

by Jerry Jackson

Few laptop case manufacturers have managed to impress us as much as Slappa. Whether it’s their fire-resistant hard cases or their shoulder bags with stylish designs and innovative storage compartments, Slappa might just have the perfect case you’re looking for. Are the new Slappa Ballistix AURA Shoulder Bag and Sleeve worth your hard-earned money? We put them to the test to find out.


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The Slappa Ballistix AURA laptop shoulder bag ($149.99) is a remarkably durable yet lightweight (4.26 lbs) case and is available in both black and silver/orange. The exterior is made from tear and water resistant 1680-D ballistic nylon and features multiple exterior storage compartments as well as an innovative briefcase handle that retracts back into the bag when the handle is not in use. The shoulder bag fits both 15.4" and 17" notebooks.


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Brand recognition is something that all manufacturers struggle with and I usually accept the fact that a company is going to put their logo on the bag I purchase. However, I had mixed feelings about the branding on the AURA shoulder bag. The front looks perfectly normal with the "relatively" subtle Slappa name and a circular metal logo that is about 2 inches large. The back side of the bag is where the design might be a bit "too much" for some consumers. Rather than use a boring pad to cushion the bag against your body, Slappa decided to make the exterior pad look like a giant "Slappa hand." This is either cool or really annoying. Take your pick.


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The only thing I found that was "missing" from the exterior of the AURA shoulder bag was a storage pocket on the front flap. Ever other surface of this bag has a storage compartment, so it felt odd that this front section of the bag had no storage use.

The interior of the shoulder bag features a quilted lining with what Slappa calls their "super-cush" padding. The padding isn’t the thickest I’ve ever encountered, but it is nice and clearly provides ample protection. In addition to the multiple storage compartments inside the bag, a nice little extra is a dedicated hide-away compartment under the front flap (beneath the briefcase handle) where you can store your laptop’s power brick and cord.

The interior of the AURA looks fairly refined thanks to mirror-plated industrial strength alloy flap clasps and molded metal zipper pulls. The hardware on the well-cushioned shoulder strap is likewise impressive.


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I was pretty impressed with the Slappa Ballistix AURA shoulder bag for the most part, though I am a little concerned about the lack of a retention strap in the main laptop compartment. If you have the flap folded over and closed with the metal flap clasps then you won’t have to worry about your notebook. Still, I prefer the added security of a velcro or clasp retention strap to hold the laptop in the main storage compartment … that way it doesn’t fall out as easily if I forget to close the main flap.


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I generally don’t get too excited about laptop sleeves/slipcases because, let’s face it, if you’ve seen one sleeve you’ve seen them all. A sleeve is just a plain fabric sack with 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. There isn’t much you can say about a sleeve … until you see the Slappa Ballistix AURA laptop sleeve.

There’s an old philosophy that I really appreciate when it comes to product manufacturing: Ockham’s Razor. "Ockham’s Razor" is usually paraphrased as "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best." After using the Slappa Ballistix AURA sleeve for several weeks I get the feeling that someone at Slappa is familiar with Mr. Ockham. Everything about this sleeve is simple, yet one step above most of the competition.

The sleeve itself is made of durable water and tear resistant 1680-D ballistic nylon with equally durable rubberized PU black/gray accents (and a metal Slappa logo). The sleeve is available in both 15.4" and 17" version (I reviewed the 15.4" version) and both weigh just a little more than one pound each. The stitching is incredibly solid, and the nice metal zippers have a smooth pull that are easy to open and close. Unlike most sleeves that have only a single compartment for the laptop, the AURA sleeve has a rear compartment for papers, cords, or accessories like USB drives.

 


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The main compartment in the AURA sleeve features a quilted inner lining with the same "super-cush" laptop padding used in the matching shoulder bag. The little feature that I really liked about this sleeve was the inclusion of two metal "D" rings so that you can attach an optional shoulder strap. I usually don’t use a sleeve by itself, but it’s nice to be able to convert it into a small shoulder bag if I want to.

Conclusion

Overall, there is a lot to like about Slappa’s new Ballistix AURA shoulder bag and sleeve. Quality materials, stylish designs, plenty of storage compartments, and some old-fashioned common sense make these two products excellent choices for your laptop protection needs.

While I doubt it’s possible to improve upon the already perfect AURA laptop sleeve, the shoulder bag might not be the perfect choice for everyone. The lack of a retention strap in the main laptop compartment and the lack of a front storage pocket on the flap are both odd omissions. Then, of course, it’s hard to miss the giant "Slappa hand" back pad/cushion. Yes, the pad makes the bag more comfortable to use when it slams against your leg or waist, but the giant hand might be a little too "extreme" for some shoppers.

Bottom line, both of the AURA laptop cases are extremely nice and worth serious consideration if you’re in the market for either a shoulder bag or a sleeve.

Pros

  • Rugged nylon construction
  • Stylish designs
  • Nice interior lining/padding
  • Solid metal hardware
  • Excellent storage compartments

Cons

  • Giant "Slappa hand" padding on the shoulder bag is a little over the top
  • Front flap on the shoulder bag seems to be missing a storage pocket
  • No retention strap inside shoulder bag laptop compartment

Pricing and Availability

The Ballistix AURA Laptop Shoulder Bag ($149.99) and the Ballistix AURA Laptop Sleeve ($39.99) are both available for purchase on the Slappa website.


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