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Lifewire / William Harrison
Fits up to a 17-inch laptop, along with a tablet sleeve
Dedicated cable compartment in the front
Removable, hidable sternum straps
Sternum straps appear to fray easily
Water bottle pocket isn’t very useful
Uncomfortable when weighed down
Awkward top handle
The eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack allows for a high level of organization in a package that is mostly resistant to damage, water, and dirt. Despite sometimes being awkward to carry, it’s competitively priced for its features.
For business travelers, a common wish is to have a bag that’s a bit more organized and easier to stow away when flying or on the bus than the standard bulky carry-on. The eBags Professional Slim Laptop bag is mostly the answer to these hopes and dreams. A durable exterior, clever front-pocket organizational structure, and multiple ways to carry let the Professional Slim do the heavy lifting of bigger and more expensive bags. Things can get uncomfortable when this bag gets weighed down, but that’s a small quibble for a fantastically feature-laden bag.
Since a lot of the bags in this category tend to be the same color and shape we’re always glad when something stands out. The Professional Slim not only has an exterior that looks and feels different, but the inside does a lot with a small amount of space. The interior pockets all have an orange color that really brightens up the bag without being overbearing. This especially comes in handy when you’re sifting through the bag, trying to find an elusive item. The front pocket swings out, giving you easy access to the interior.
The Professional Slim makes great use of that front pocket, providing a number of pen holders, pockets, and mesh, see-through recesses. Maybe the compartmentalization goes too far, but we liked having so many spaces for little things and the five zipper pockets allow for just that. A fleece-lined tablet pocket at the top of the bag near the handle is also great for stowing away smaller objects, including books or even a phone.
The eBags Professional Slim’s best feature is the slim aesthetic and exterior shape.
We’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wide front zipper compartment. Meant for cord storage, these nifty opening has a secret bonus use: food and drink protection. Big enough to hold a couple of soda cans and a multitude of snacks, it also does a great job at protecting whatever is in there thanks to its removable shell.
The two big compartments allow for a 15-inch laptop in one zippered recess, with the ability to expand up to 17-inches if you remove the front compartment’s protective shell. The second zippered compartment can fit another 15-inch laptop, but also works incredibly well for various devices and additional cords. We were able to easily fit a Microsoft Surface Book Pro, Nintendo Switch, a couple of tablets, and a laptop in the Professional Slim, all with fairly efficient use of space.
The exterior material is a twisted filament polyester exterior that holds up to being thrown around, with a DuPont Teflon coating to boot. Said coating makes cleanup a breeze and the exterior material does a great job at resisting water and spills.
The exterior polyester is a bit on the rough side, as is the orange lining of the main bag compartments. There’s also a water bottle pocket on the hip-side that expands out thanks to a mesh net, but it's not big enough for most full-sized bottles like a Camelbak. It is, however, perfect for regular sized bottles of water or a soda can.
The eBags Professional Slim’s best feature is the slim aesthetic and exterior shape, which is why things begin to get bogged down when too much weight is added to the equation. The adjustable sternum straps struggle not slump downward at maximum load. That might be why we started to notice some fraying on the straps. The straps themselves, however, are comfortable and go along nicely with the back panel foam padding, but we do have some concerns about the stitching.
The eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack is just that: A bag for professionals looking to micromanage their daily carry.
Switching the bag to handle-based carrying proved to be more cumbersome. Both the top and side briefcase handles have a nice give and strength to them, but it can get awkward as more weight is introduced. Our preferred method of traveling with the Professional Slim is to use the backpack straps, which conveniently stow away by tucking into the same panel that allows you to attach the bag to your rolling luggage.
For the sheer number of organizational features, the Professional Slim seems like a steal for the price which is $130 MSRP when you buy directly from their website. Compared with the other bags we tested, we found the eBags backpack to have more, better-organized pockets than more costly competitors.
The eBags Professional Slim’s toughest competition is definitely the Solo Duane Hybrid Briefcase Backpack, which also can convert to backpack mode. Coming in at $55 MSRP, the Solo Duane has three different travel modes (handle, messenger strap, and sternum straps), is far more comfortable than the Professional Slim, but isn’t nearly as easy to organize since none of the compartments swing open all the way. The Solo also lacks the compartmentalization that makes the Professional Slim so appealing.
The eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack is just that: A bag for professionals looking to micromanage their daily carry. A small form factor and a great internal layout make the Professional Slim stand out. It isn’t always the most comfortable bag to lug around, but the storage and portability more than make up for it.