CODi Phantom CT3 review

by Reads (5,016)

These days everyone is always trying to reduce their travel time and avoid headaches.  In response, several manufacturers have designed a checkpoint friendly laptop bag for all you road warriors out there.  According to CODi, the new Phantom CT3 will allow travelers to avoid taking out their laptop when going through security and has been approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). 

We decided to test the bag and find out if it’s worth the extra money to save a little hassle.

The Phantom CT3 Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16.5″ x 6.25″ x 12.25″
  • Notebook compartment: approx. 14.5″ x 11.5″ x 2″
  • Weight: 3.67 lbs. (CODi says 2.8 lbs.)
  • Military grade ballistic materials
  • Business organization system
  • Butterfly design with a dedicated laptop compartment for a clear x-ray image
  • Ergonomic shoulder strap
  • Carry-all sleeve
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

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Design and Aesthetics

If you are familiar with CODi products, you would recognize the Phantom CT3 as a CODi design immediately.  It is simple, no frills and is made of the same black ballistic nylon as many of their other bags.  There is a small red CODi CT3 label on the front and the zipper hardware has CODi engraved on them.

The CT3 is basically two bags hinged together at the top so it can fold out into a butterfly design when going through airport security.  The two “pockets” – as CODi refers to them – are secured together for normal use with Velcro and plastic side buckles.

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The front or file compartment has a large zippered pocket and small open pocket on the outside. The large zippered pocket is where the business organization system is located.  The org system consists of two medium sized elastic pockets, two small elastic pockets, three pen pockets, two card holders and a key fob.

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Inside the file compartment there are two large elastic pockets and a file divider.  It is roughly the same size as the notebook compartment and could hold two large text books, a small purse, portable speakers, medium to large sized accessories or a power cord.

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The dedicated notebook compartment is ONLY for the notebook, at least if you want to use the bag for its intended purpose. This message is reiterated inside the compartment in bold white letters.

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The padding inside of the notebook compartment is at least an inch thick on all sides and is soft.  My guess would be some kind of foam-like material. On the back of the notebook compartment that is a carry all sleeve.

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There are two handles on the top with a faux leather grip and a detachable ergonomic shoulder strap with a sticky grip on one side.

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Using the bag

The bag is a little simple for my taste but I did receive a few compliments on the CT3’s style.  I guess I would say that this bag is definitely for traveler’s who aren’t a fan of flashy.    

The shoulder strap was comfortable and I liked that it also had handles for carrying the CT3 briefcase style.  The material is heavy duty, so it is perfect for traveling and it had plenty of pockets for organizing personal affects and notebook accessories.

Testing the “checkpoint friendliness” was tricky because in a perfect world I would have been able to visit my local airport and actually test the bag in the security line.  Unfortunately, at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) they would not allow me to do this without a ticket. 

But the employee I spoke to in CVG’s community relations department was very helpful and I got valuable information about the program from TSA’s website and CODi’s press release.

First, TSA is planning on allowing certain styles of laptop bags to come through security with the laptop inside in the near future. There are three styles that have been approved so far: butterfly (the CT3), trifold and sleeve.

(view large image) This image was taken from the TSA website

However, you should check for the following things according to the TSA before purchasing a “checkpoint friendly” bag:

  • Your laptop bag has a designated laptop-only section that can lay flat on the X-ray belt
  • There are no metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on-top of the laptop-only section
  • There are no pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section
  • There is nothing in the laptop compartment other than the laptop
  • You have completely unfolded your bag so that there is nothing above or below the laptop-only section, allowing the bag to lay flat on the X-ray belt

The CODi Phantom CT3 passes all of these tests (there is a sleeve but since it’s not a pocket, I don’t think this will be an issue).

As of now, the TSA has no official date for when these bags will be accepted at airports nationwide other than “late summer”.  The CVG employee told me the TSA training of security personnel should be completed by August 16, 2008.  This date is consistent with what CODi says in their press release but we’ll see. 

FYI: the CVG employee also said that security would make me take out my laptop no matter what bag I had it in if I was flying today (August 11, 2008).

TSA has allowed testing by manufacturers of bags at three designated airports and CODi assures customers that the CT3 has been tested at “several major airports.”

For more information check out TSA’s “New Security Simplifying Laptop Bag Procedures” article online.


  • Checkpoint friendly”
  • Stores a ton of accessories
  • Good amount of padding
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Side buckles are plastic
  • Bland design
  • Very expensive


The Phantom CT3 is a quality bag with some great features beyond the “checkpoint friendly” selling point.  In fact, other than the price – a whopping $225 – it was hard to find many cons with this bag.

On top of that, CODi’s Phantom CT3 seems to pass every test that TSA has set for manufacturers but only time will tell. We are going to try to test this bag in an actual airport once the training as been completed so stay tuned for an update sometime in September.

Pricing and Availability

The CODi Phantom CT3 can be purchased via CODi’s website. The Phantom CT3 is $ 225.00.



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