Targus' Zip-Thru bag (US$99.99) won't be available until October, but shares many features with other popular Targus bags, such as the adjustable air cushioning system around the notebook compartment that helps prevent drop damage. It has a split design that unzips to lie flat, and an interior workstation panel equipped with a business card holder, pen loops, file section and accessory compartments.
Made of 1680 black ballistic Denier nylon, the Zip-Thru holds laptops up to 15.4 inches (it offers adjustable cushions inside of the case to protect your laptop and provide a snug fit for smaller laptops), and has overall dimensions of 17 by 14 by 6.5 inches and weighs 3.74 lbs.
At US$220, the Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer Briefcase is one of the most expensive bags in our list but also our favorite, thanks to its good looks, expert pocketry, and three hinged compartments that fold up into a compact case. It should fit even in the smaller overhead bins in commuter planes, yet still hold all your gear handily. It expands to 18.5 by 12.5 by 7.5 inches, and holds a full 1375 cubic inches, not including your laptop. Yet it weighs only 2.6 lbs., one of the lightest cases we surveyed.
The bag has more than 10 pockets, is durably constructed of 1050D ballistic nylon and 500D Cordura, and is lined with Dyneema/nylon ripstop. The detachable laptop compartment has high-density molded foam protection, comes in three sizes for 13-, 15- and 17-in. notebooks, and doubles as a laptop sleeve, complete with handles.