By Jason Perlow, ZDNet Technology Writer
The Mobile Edge ScanFast Backpack, $99.00, as pictured at the Delta Crown Club at Newark Liberty International Airport B Terminal, is the ideal travel accessory for anyone who does a lot of flying.
As many of you know, I make my living as a traveling systems architect and infrastructure expert. Approximately four days out of the week I am typically on the road and flying all over the United States, doing work for my employer, IBM. Since the September 2001 attacks, travel has become a tremendous hassle for anyone who makes their living this way, so naturally anything that actually makes my life easier in the course of doing business travel is a godsend.
When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) relaxed its screening rules in 2008 to allow for travel bag designs that permit the scanning of laptops without having to remove them, I was thrilled. Anyone who travels frequently knows that the security screening process slows you down and potentially could damage your computer due to mishandling (or could even cause you to lose your laptop on the line due to the distraction of having to remove your computer, your shoes and other items). I recently evaluated one of the first TSA-approved bag designs, the $149.00 Skooba Checkthrough, and I thought it was a very good initial entry into the security-enhanced laptop bag market.
While indeed the Skooba is an excellent traditional laptop bag design, and is quite durable and easy to use, it’s not my ideal form factor. I’m more of a backpack type of guy. Right now, there aren’t many manufacturers making TSA-approved laptop backpacks. One of those few is Mobile Edge, who was nice enough to send me their latest men’s ScanFast backpack. It should be noted that not only is Mobile Edge one of the few companies doing backpacks, but they are also the only one I know of doing ladies TSA-approved designs as well.
The $99.00 Mobile Edge ScanFast backpack looks like your typical laptop backpack, and is constructed out of durable 1680 Denier Ballistic Nylon. Where it differs from regular backpack designs is that the section which holds the laptop “Butterflies” open, so that it can be directly scanned on the conveyor belt. Once the bag is scanned and rolls out the other side of the Rapiscan unit, you pick it up, zip the butterfly compartment back up, and you’re on your way again.
While the TSA cannot endorse specific products, it should be noted that the ScanFast backpack was chosen by the government’s airport security administration as the “demo” unit in order to train its own staff on the new approved bag designs. So if you use a Mobile Edge, you can be assured that the TSA employees themselves will recognize the design and are unlikely to hassle you and force you to remove your laptop.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been using the ScanFast backpack for three weeks — traveling to Orlando on vacation, and back and forth twice to Atlanta for work — and I can say that the bag holds up very well and I like using it. It’s got a ton of storage space in it and it’s very comfortable to carry. At $99, it’s definitely a no-brainer purchase for anyone who does a large amount of business travel.
To read the full review click here.