by Jerry Jackson
The Logitech Kinetik 15.4 Briefcase is one of two all new notebook cases from a company that prides itself on making some of the best computer accessories available. Advertised by Logitech as "advanced transport of notebooks" the Kinetik 15.4 Briefcase features stylish padding, impressive cargo pockets, and a design unlike anything you’ve seen before. But is this briefcase really a must-have notebook case, or should Logitech have stuck to making keyboards? Let’s take a look.
In late June of this year Logitech surprised notebook users everywhere by announcing a new line of notebook cases priced at $99.99. The Logitech name has long been associated with some of the best keyboards and mice available … but notebook cases? This is one type of product no one expected to see from Logitech.
(view large image)
Build and Design
Logitech is well known for innovative design, and the Kinetik bags look like something taken straight from of an episode of Battlestar Galactica. This briefcase would be equally at home as a prop in a sci-fi movie as it is in your workplace.
One of the main design elements of the Kinetik line is the "exo-shell" construction: a rigid, shock absorbing exterior material that protects the laptop and accessories from damage yet is still a reasonably "forgiving" (almost bouncy) material when you’re carrying it on your side. The exo-shell is made of a polyurethane/ethylene vinyl acetate composite. In short, it’s sort of like thin tire rubber … without the tread. The rest of the Kinetic is made of a durable black ballistic nylon exterior and smooth orange polyester interior pockets.
Notice I said the colors are black and orange. That was not a typo. Most users will either think this color combination is stylish or the color combination will remind them too much of Halloween. I must confess after using the Kinetik for several weeks I started thinking about bite size Snickers candy bars and jack-o-lanterns.
Both the side compartments feature wrap-around zippers which turn the sides into expanding compartments for easy access. There are common file folder sleeves and mesh pockets on one side and padded cargo pockets on the other side to secure and organize all your valuables and accessories.
One of the side panels is actually a cushioned back panel which adds support when the briefcase is carried against body. I really like that idea and I wish Logitech made both sides like this so that the briefcase had padding on both sides no matter how you carry it. The cushioned back panel also serves as a trolley sleeve when you need to attach your briefcase to some rolling luggage. The only thing I didn’t like about the cushioned back panel is that Logitech chose to stitch an ugly Kinetik logo on that side of the case. While I usually don’t mind logos on my cases, this patch is large and annoying.
The prominent (and ugly) Kinetik logo on the opposite side of the briefcase. (view large image)
The subtle (and reasonably attractive) Logitech logo on the briefcase’s exo-shell. (view large image)
One nice feature about the Kinetik is that it is designed to be "self standing" so the briefcase won’t fall over when you set it down. Unfortunately, this didn’t always happen. Since the main notebook sleeve in the middle of the briefcase is located slightly to one side a heavy notebook was often enough to send the briefcase falling on its side. Likewise, since the main storage compartments are all on one side the briefcase is off balance when you have a mouse, digital camera, USB thumbdrives, and cell phone inside the briefcase … which sends the bag falling over to one side.
The labeled storage compartments. (view large image)
The padded cargo pockets provided a bit too much emphasis on structure and organization for my tastes. Although I am glad to have the storage pockets, I really didn’t need Logitech to label each of the pockets with pictographs of what should be placed in each pocket. I suppose only troublemakers like me would want to put a mouse in the pocket labeled for headphones.
The shoulder strap material, which felt like it might be a gel-cushioned pad, was not particularly comfortable. A neoprene shoulder strap would have been much more forgiving when the case was fully loaded with a notebook and accessories.
Although the build quality of the Kinetik briefcase is excellent, the shoulder strap hardware did present one minor problem: noise. The metal clips on each end of the shoulder strap created annoying "squeaks" whenever I moved. After about five minutes of listening to the high-pitched metal grinding noise I wanted to spray the entire briefcase with a can of WD40.
The hardware looks nice … but it sure did squeak! (view large image)
Overall my feelings about the Logitech Kinetik 15.4 Briefcase were mixed. On one hand I’m attracted to the innovative design and quality construction. There is also plenty of room inside the briefcase, enough for even a second notebook. However, the Kinetik isn’t as impressive as it could be thanks to an uncomfortable shoulder strap, noisy hardware, and a few minor design elements that make it a little less attractive in my opinion.
Bottom line, the Kinetik briefcase is a solid notebook case with a stand out design. If you replace the shoulder strap and appreciate the non-traditional design it makes one great case.
- Extremely high quality materials used in construction
- "Exo-shell" casing provides excellent protection
- Plenty of storage for accessories … you can even fit two notebooks inside
- "Fanned compartment" design makes it easy to access what you need.
- Squeaky hardware
- Shoulder strap isn’t very comfortable
- "Self-standing" design isn’t always balanced
- Orange and black? Is it Halloween already?