My search for a new laptop bag started as soon as the Virgin check-in attendant announced that my hand luggage was too heavy to accompany me on my flight to Boston.

This was the same bag and contents that has travelled with me across countries and seas, continents and oceans many times over. Inside its myriad pockets and sleeves was one 15-inch laptop, a power adaptor, various cables and plug changers, a couple of magazines, two books and an iPod.

Virgin's weight allowance was a mere 6kg. My laptop weighed 2.5kg on its own, and all its parts probably another 1.5kg. That doesn't leave a lot for reading materials, etc – and then, as I dumped books and magazines on non-laptop-lugging colleagues, I started thinking that one of the heaviest parts was the damned bag itself.

Weighing 1.17kg this slim case for 15-inch laptops was designed for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro portables but fits other notebooks up to 15.4 inches. Brenthaven is a by-word for laptop protection with several innovative technologies and super-tough materials.

Its style and protection comes from its sleek, soft exterior Dura-Tec shell and six-sided CORE Protection System that cradles the stored laptop. The padded sleeve that will protect your laptop from bumps and bashes can be removed to create extra space or keep the portable safe outside the bag.

There's not a great deal of space inside, but that stops you filling it with heavy stuff you'll soon be emptying at check-in or lugging around with you day after day. You didn't buy a laptop to keep fit.

There's a back zipper compartment for paper, discs and other stuff, and a front organizer panel with numerous pockets for mobile phone, iPod and other accessories. There's even a gripping hole for your headphone cable. The padded shoulder strap can also fold inside the case for even more protection.

The MetroLite is available in both black and olive green.


The blue faux-suede interior liner won't be to everyone's taste and some might require more space but for air travellers in need of ultra protection and a neat, compact size the MetroLite will get you past check-in without a blush.

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