I recently had the opportunity to test out the Berkeley II Backpack from Case Logic. It is available in 3 different patterns and I chose the Strato which is a blue/ black/ green striped pattern. This color combination is really striking, I like it much more than the standard laptop backpack black, and I have had a lot of positive comments when wearing it.
The Berkeley II has a laptop pocket designed to fit a 15″ laptop and my 15″ MacBook Pro fits in comfortably. The laptop pocket is the pocket nearest your back, it is padded on both sides. It has a double zipper that opens down on both sides to approximately 2/3 of the length giving good access to the compartment.
Main Compartment and Tablet Pocket
The main compartment has a tablet pocket which will fit a full sized iPad in a protective case. The tablet pocket is padded on the back, but not the front which is fine if your tablet is in a case, but you may want more protection if you don’t have a case on your iPad or tablet.
The top of the backpack slopes down and the zipper is on the front edge of the pocket, so I did find that if I tried to fill the backpack with it standing upright that access felt a little cramped. However, if you lie the backpack flat, the double zipper fully opens along 3 sides and you can fold the front of the backpack away just like filling a suitcase giving great access to this compartment.
The front pocket has a organizer panel in 3 parts: the back slip-in pocket is divided into 2 smaller pockets suitable for a cellphone, wallet or backup battery. The next pocket is a full width slip -in pocket, then there is a full width mesh zippered pocket great for keeping pens, pencils and charging cables organized.
Straps and Water Bottle Pockets
The bag has bottle holder pockets- one on each side, perfect for keeping hydrated.
The shoulder straps are padded and instead of being sewn directly into the top seam are attached further forward via a strip of thick nylon webbing (similar to a car seat strap.) This gives them more flexibility to move, so they fit a wider range of shoulder widths, and I found them quite comfortable in use. There is also an adjustable, removable chest strap, which is helpful for spreading the weight when carrying a heavy load, and a strong carrying handle on the top.
I tested out the Berkeley II on a recent Transatlantic trip, and found it a very comfortable everyday backpack. At the airport it carried my laptop securely, and it was easy to access it at security checkpoints. I did find the tablet pocket harder to access when the bag was full (some airport security checkpoints require you to also remove tablets, others don’t). I appreciated having the chest strap to take some of the weight off my shoulders, although having a waist strap too would have been even better. The one thing that I missed on the bag is an external cellphone pocket. I like having a cellphone pocket on the front of the shoulder strap as this makes answering calls really quick and easy.
Overall, I would recommend the Berkeley II Backpack- Strato, as an everyday laptop backpack. It is really striking looking, comfortable to carry and fits both a 15″ laptop & a 10″ tablet plus case, with plenty of room for other essentials.
- Size 11.8 x 12.2 x 17.1 in
- Fits devices 10.5 x 1.2 x 15.2 in
- Weight 1.81 lb
- Volume 1770 cu in
- Materials Polyester
- Warranty 25 years
- Laptop Screen Size 15-16″
- Color Pattern- Blue/ Black/ Green
The Berkeley II Laptop Backpack by Case Logic has an RRP of $59.99 and is available from CaseLogic.com or other retailers
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).