Ladies, are you tired of carrying your laptop computer in a standard black or gray gender-neutral case? Blah. If you want something that's more feminine with a punch of color and texture, try the new Knomo Aurora zip tote bag. This bag has a quilted nylon exterior with sturdy "Saffiano" (faux leather) double handles. It's a solid build with metallic buttons and zipper handles, plus heavy-duty lobster claw clasps for the removable shoulder straps. It's definitely strong enough to handle the typical weight of a computer.
The front of the bag has a small open pocket and a zippered pocket, also made of Saffiano. But these pockets are almost too small to be practical. It's meant to hold a cellphone, but I could barely get my iPhone 4 -- without a case -- to fit sideways. Anything bigger (Samsung Galaxy S3, iPhone 5) or thicker (anything with a case) wouldn't slide in all the way, and will stick out at the top, making it easy for the phone to slide out or fall. The zippered pocket also is snug, and can fit only a couple of credit cards or a few coins.
The bag can hold a 15-inch laptop and some paperwork, and has a sleek, slender, cosmopolitan look. The laptop sits snugly in its special padded compartment inside. The fabric is soft to prevent scratches on your device. Another interior zippered pocket can hold power cords and other small accessories. Zip up the top to better secure the contents.
But if you have a laptop and a tablet like I do, it's a tight fit. It might be better to unzip the sides of the bag to release the fabric extender (in the same color as the exterior) and turn it into a tote bag for more interior space. This allows for a few more inches in the width of the bag for more storage. Drawback here is that the side fabric is thin, so it doesn't hold the shape of the bag as well as when it's zippered. I don't think it's as attractive as the flat look. But having the flexibility is a nice touch.
The removable shoulder strap is 1.5 inches wide, and is made of heavy-duty woven fabric. This is a nice elegant touch, but it doesn't have any padding, so if your clothes are made of slick fabric, you may find it sliding off of your shoulder frequently. That's no fun when you're holding a hot cup of coffee, and the bag thumps down into your arm.
My tester bag came in a bright Teaberry (fuchsia) with a purple interior, which stands out among the dreary black and gray. Other colors are also available, including a striking Berry (crimson red), Dragonfly (teal), and the more muted black and Khaki.
Bottom line: It's a classy and elegant laptop bag for women (finally!), but it might not be practical enough to forgo a purse. (Knomo also has purses that can match your tote.)
The Knomo Aurora is $149.95 and is available locally at Mori Luggage in Westshore Plaza in Tampa, or online at a