I just received my Empire Bag, and I thought I'd share my thoughts after three days, including one business trip. (Pls overlook the typos)
- Perfect size for a traveling lawyer like me.
-Love the combination of the briefcase main compartment with the messenger bag style front pocket.
-really love the magazine/newpaper back pocket
-pockets on the front flap are ideal for quickly stowing wallet, keys, etc. before going through airport security.
-the dividers have proven more useful than I expected (although I only use one right now to separate business and personal docs).
Mixed reviews, wants, constructive criticism:
- No safe way to secure a water bottle or wet umbrella without risking leakage on documents or electronics. My old bag had straps on the bottom and a separate waterbottle pocket on the side
- I would have preferred a Key ring holder on the front side of the flap (maybe in the flap pocket) instead of the inside the front pocket. Everytime I open the flap, the contents of the open flap pocket (and any unzipped pocket) dumps out.
- or better yet, it would have been nice to have either strap loops or d-rings on the front flap to clip a carabiner for a quick way to clip keys, water bottle, or my fancy compass/pocketwatch.
-The internal compartments within the front pocket could have been better spaced. Only one of the compartments -- the one that seems to be designed for my PDA -- can hold a checkbook, but it can't hold both. Two dedicated pen/pencil slots are not enough.
-The position of the open pocket on the front flap is not ideal. Because I usually carry the bag on my right shoulder, the open pocket is toward the back. I'd prefer an option of having the front flap pockets reversed (mirror image for those of us who carry the bag on our right shoulder).
-I'm ambivalent about the strap. The stretchy-ness and rubberized bumps give me the sense that the strap will stay put on my shoulder, but I actually miss the easy adjustment and floating pad of my old messenger bag. If i want to lengthen the strap (to go from over the shoulder to cross-body) or just shift the angle by which I carry the bag, it takes a complicated set of adjustments on both sides. I also worry about the lifespan of the stretchy material
-While I like the size and structural support, I'm not to keen on the fact that the bag stays at its full (or near full) thickness even when its empty. I think I might have preferred the ability to take out the side and bottom stiffeners when I'm not carrying much so that the bag can collapse in thickness.
-Seems heavy even when empty (almost like my leather case, certainly heavier than my comparably sized messenger bag)
-Brain cell takes up more space than it needs to because the clips center the braincell inside the bag. This leaves unusually small open spaces on either side of the brain cell. It would have been better to allow the cell to be clipped in a little off-center to have a more usuable space.
-Finally I was kind of perturbed (to say the least) that the ETA that was quoted to me in my invoice was unilaterally delayed by two weeks. I don't think that's excusable (even for a small company), especially without contacting the customer. On the positive side, Teresa did commit to a firm final delivery date when I complained and the bulk of my order (still waiting for the t-shirt) and it actually came 3 days earlier than that date (although 2 wks after original ETA).
Still I'm pretty pleased with the bag