We review this awesome, affordable bag!
The Unbox crew travels a lot, enough that our passports look like it just came out from the MRT. And because we travel a lot, getting a good bag to transport our gear during an event like Mobile World Congress is essential. I’ve personally made a mistake of bringing the wrong kind of bag to an international event before and let me tell you, my back is still paying for that.
For this year’s MWC coverage, I was lent a Charles Anti-theft Backpack from the good folks over at Arctic Hunter PH. They got it to me a day before I was supposed to leave for Barcelona, and I’m glad they did since it proved to be a convenient bag during our weeklong stay in Spain.
Comfortable and tough
I got plenty of compliments from other tech media on how stylish the Charles looked during Samsung’s 3 AM Unpacked event before my flight. I mean, what’s not to like here: the outside is urban grey, and has a soft, textured feel when you’re touching it.
An alloy carry handle that’s attached sturdily to the bag ensures added convenience and toughness to it (it’s not going to rip out anytime soon). There’s only one zipper, and that can be locked via the TSA combination lock on the top of the bag.
The material used on the body of the bag is advertised as water repellent and cut-proof. While I, fortunately, wasn’t able to test both of those features, the bag certainly looks the part and doesn’t feel flimsy. It’ll probably endure a quick cut from ne’er do wells in a pinch or a quick shower, but prolonged exposure to either would probably defeat the bag’s protective properties.
Carrying the bag with the weight of a notebook, a tablet, a camera with two lenses plus a bunch of chargers and a 10000mAh battery was surprisingly comfortable, which is an improvement over my last back-ruining bag. Jamie and I took turns lugging the thing around while we were shooting video in Barcelona and despite the weight, the bag felt comfortable to lug around. That may not be something that younglings care about, but believe me these two titos are thankful for comfort that the Charles brought.
Plenty of pockets, plus an external USB port for charging
Like I mentioned before, the Charles has a TSA lock on the top to completely lock the bag when you’re out and about, essential no matter where you’re commuting, whether it’s on the mean streets of Manila or the subways of Barcelona.
Once you open the bag, you’ll be greeted by plenty of pockets and compartments that you can stuff your gadgets into while you’re traveling.
This includes a sleeve for your notebook, your tablet, a power bank, documents and a bunch of other auxiliary pockets on the reverse side of the bag.
The bag has a USB port on the outside, and a USB cable on the inside, so you can plug in your power bank on the inside of the bag and just plug in your gadget of choice on the port outside, which is hella convenient when you’re at the airport or commuting.
The laptop sleeve can fit notebooks up to 15 inches, while the tablet sleeve can fit a slate up to 10 inches.
There’s also enough space in the bag for a day’s worth of clothes, which makes it perfect for overnight trips.
Annoyingly the bag didn’t have a dedicated place for a camera, at least for ones that are bigger than your standard point and shoot, so we had to disassemble ours and stuck it into that auxiliary mesh. Worked well enough for short commutes from our hotel to Fira Barcelona, though I put our work camera back into its protective Pelican carrying case when I was flying back home.
There’s also a secret pocket on both shoulder straps that you can sneakily put emergency money into if you’re into that. The zipper on the lower part of the bag also hides a bottle holder, convenient when you’re exploring a city or just need a place to hold water.
A price that won’t break the bank
For all that you get, the Charles is pretty affordable. Priced at Php 2,990, it’s a great bag if you’re looking for a tough, Anti-theft backpack that looks great.