New backpack for commuting to work

EDIT 26/8/2016: I have been using the specific backpack on a daily basis and it has proven a reliable companion for me as a commuter. It has been used for my daily commute to work carrying my 10,1-inch tablet and food container, during weekends for carrying stuff for my son’s basketball courses (towels, water bottles etc.), even during short trips for carrying my gadgets (tablet with keyboard, chargers, cables and hard disks) and other stuff like sunglasses, wallet etc. I would not expect that it would last that long and I am happy for that 🙂

EDIT 21/12/2015: I have tried squeezing in my 15,6-inch Acer E15 ES1-512 but it wouldn’t fit in the padded compartment; it fit in the main compartment but since I planned to use this for larger items and have the laptop in its space, I had to change plans. A deal breaker for the specific backpack.

During one my visits to Plaisio for having my tablet serviced, I got attracted to their laptop bags/backpacks; I am a sucker for such bags anyway and since my previous one (a lovely DeviantArt Pro Digital Artist Backpack) was a little worn out (and has to be repaired), I was looking for a temporary replacement.

http://www.deviantart.com/film/177604871/

After unsuccessfully trying a messenger bag for the first time in my life (I tend to carry a lot of stuff daily and a messenger bag was not exactly comfortable), I ended up with another Plaisio-branded Sentio Sporty Backpack for a 15,6-inch laptop.

Sentio_Sporty

The bag is very light (and I mean light!), has a number of individual external compartments/pockets with zippers. I am not exactly sure if it is waterproof and it doesn’t seem very durable (the material is thin and soft, like a thin windproof jacket) but still it does the work. The main compartment fits a 15,6′ laptop the but for the time being I usually carry my Wintab and a book in this padded pocket and my food container in the rest of the space. There is also a top, smaller one for wallet, ID and chargers, a smaller external one for keys and my external hard disk as well as a bottom one for small notebooks and USB flash drives.

None of these includes an internal pocket with zipper for storing safely e.g. a smartphone or the wallet, neither a really useful ring for the keys (so I keep looking for them each time). Pen holders are short and pens keep falling off them and the rest of the internal dividers are loose and had to keep small stuff. The bag is really spacious though (35 liters, according to the manufacturer) but I wouldn’t put too much weight in it as it doesn’t seem that durable.

The straps are really comfortable but the handle is attached to them (instead directly to the bag; it is obvious that the bag material could not handle the bag’s weight from the handle) and this makes handling it a little awkward…

It is a compromise but still it looks ok for casual use, commuting to work before it breaks (at least until I have my Deviantart backpack fixed). I could buy a branded one for the 25 euros I paid for it (e.g. a couple of Belkin & Case Logic models at a nearby store and probably more models after a market research) but I liked the more “casual/sport” looks of the specific one 🙂

My brand new laptop backpack

After heavy use during the last years, including rain, snow and even sand from trips to the beach, my laptop backpack started showing its age. Some wholes here and there, disintegration of its internal cover which led to water coming in and numerous bits of this annoying black plastic in each one of the items I took out of my bag; it was obvious that it needed replacement as soon as possible and probably before my next business trip. What I needed was at least space for a 15,6′ laptop (I usually carry around my 11,6′ netbook), at least two main compartments (one for the laptop and one for my documents/folders/printouts, snacks etc.) and a smaller one for all small items, like keys, external hard disk, , cables, wallet, ID etc. Mesh pockets would be appreciated, in order to hold my reusable water bottle and umbrella.

During one of my last flights, I saw the Deuter Giga available through the Lufthansa Worldshop for 60 euros (other online prices were much higher). It looked pretty convenient, spacious and full of pockets for all the small stuff I am usually carrying around (especially during business trips). More or less it was what I was looking for. Unfortunately it was not available when I managed to visit the Lufthansa Worldshop in Frankfurt, so I had to look for an alternative…. and it didn’t took me really long!

Right in front of me I saw a really similar laptop backpack but in different color and with different branding; it was the Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Collection Backpack. It was large (fitting a 17′ laptop), light and looked durable. All pockets and compartments I needed were available plus some more inner pockets. The price was right (59 euros) so I decided to take it back home with me.

Lufthansa_laptop_backpack1 Lufthansa_laptop_backpack2

Next step is the migration of all the stuff currently available in my previous laptop backpack to the new one, just to see how things will be organized in this new bag. Have I mentioned that I love this process? 🙂

Current gadgets/daily companions [13/08/2011]

15-16" Notebook Backpack BG-4500p (600B-15 Notebook Backpack Urban)

Trust backpackEverything fits in this backpack from Trust: My netbook/laptop + power cable, notepad, A4 pages with info, food container (taken daily to office) & snacks, mp3 player, cables &  chargers, mobile phone, pens/markers/keys/business cards, everything well-organized in the inner slots/pockets etc. It even fits my small bag which contains my wallet, ID/Driving license etc, ready to be used individually when the whole backpack is not needed. It’s really comfortable even when cycling!

It has been widely used for my daily trips to office, in business meetings (well, it’s not really formal but it’s really convenient!), even during my summer holidays for carrying beach towels, shorts etc. One of my best buys!

Sweex MP3 player – MP303 Gold 2GB

It’s not anything fancy but it’s durable, with good sound quality and really Sweex mp3-303cheap. I went out to buy a pair of headphones and I ended up with this mp3 player at the same price (including a great set of white headphones, long lost now…). Ok, it misses some features (e.g. no shuffle mode!) and has some bugs (e.g. starting the playlist from the beginning after each charging…) but I have learned to live with those. The battery life is pretty cool, considering its minimal size and it is really portable. As for the capacity, I have never managed to put more that 1GB of mp3s in there!

It has been used intensively during trips and summer vacations and it is still going!

Specs:

Sweex mp3-303-specs

HTC Touch HD (Blackstone)

HTC_Touch_HDBought second hand (well, third hand to be more precise) last August, after my HTC Touch Cruise was stolen. I have wanted this mobile since I first saw it and I managed to get my hands on it. Great, large screen, sturdy construction, now powered by a custom WM6.5.3 ROM (kwbr 5.7), it has proven to me much more than a phone: Used many times for GPS navigation, watching movies with subtitles, taking photos and videos, reading ebooks, working on excel lists (ok, basic stuff), taking notes and mostly web surfing (we are talking about whole weeks of internet browsing!). I consider it to be a small netbook. A problem with the touch screen appeared out of nowhere last year but it was serviced by Ace Hellas (the official HTC distributor in Greece) as it was still under warranty. Now it doesn’t even have a scratch and looks brand-new.

With a desktop battery charger and a second battery (both holding charge for about a day of working), it is always docked on my office ready to be synced (emails, weather forecast, tweets, photos etc.). Even though I have bought a ZTE Blade in the meantime as a back-up phone, I cannot take the decision to sell one of these two… especially the Blackstone!

Acer Aspire One 751h

AAO751hMy previous laptop (HP Pavillion tx-1110us) was rather heavy to carry around daily, despite its small dimensions (been proven really sturdy though!). I had to go for a lighter computer and I went for a netbook with the largest screen available back then (11,6 inches). It came with Windows XP home and a version of Ubuntu Linux, both of them replaced by Windows 7 Pro and Jolicloud after the first weeks. I have to admit that sometimes it is so laggy that brings me a headache; however I shouldn’t expect much from a weak machine with an Atom 1,3GHz CPU and 1GB RAM (in addition I suspect that the hard disk is also a source of lag). Most of the times it is working fine for light tasks (web browsing, emails, word processing, watching small clips – not HD, listening to music etc.). When a number of applications are open, or when working with large Word and PDF files, the netbook starts slowing down and warning you…

I had some issues with freezing the machine in random cases, but it seems that it is now solved after some updates. This little machine has travelled all over Europe and has been used during many project meetings, summer vacations even as a replacement for the office laptop. It is a great tool, as long as you know what to expect from it…

Dahon Boardwalk D7

Dahon_boardwalkd7I decided to start cycling after 15 years and I went for a folding bike, which I could also transfer in the Metro, for my daily commuting to office. Boardwalk was not the cheapest model around, but I think it had the best value for money when it was purchased. Initially used for commuting to the office, it was soon used for even longer rides (Freeday, Halbike etc.) around Attica. I have made hundreds of kilometers with this bike, and I didn’t have any problems with that, apart from some minor ones (e.g. replacing some spikes and a crank arm). I found the folding style to be convenient when going for shopping (as I usually fold it and take it with me inside the stores) and for office (as it can fit next to my desk). Minimum, cheap service, really fun to ride in the country (just outside the town I live in).

Some of the additional stuff I bought for my Dahon is the Arclite Rack, front/back lights (a number of them, mostly from eBay), a Bell City helmet and service sprays and stuff.

Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG20

I bought this camcorder after a survey I made on similar products. I think I SANYO_CG20_black_back_Mood_LRhave made the best choice: compact & lightweight (really portable), high quality of image and video and recording in HD. It has already been used for shooting hours of video (especially during the CerOrganic training school in Chania this May) with really good performance. The battery lasts for about 45 minutes, so I had to buy an additional one from Batteries.gr, which lasts at least as much as the original one. The 4GB SDHC card I use lasts for more or less the same time, so it is a nice combination! The image of photos (10MP) is not great, but when we are talking about video, I am really pleased. It also features a lot of settings which I have never used.