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Belkin Ceylon 15.4in Messenger Bag

Cylon! There's a Cylon in the office? What's that, Ceylon, you say? Oh, so not a laptop bag that distinguishes itself by featuring a red glowing eye then. What we have instead is Belkin's rather attractive 15.4in Messenger Bag from its Ceylon Collection.

Calm, cool and collected, it says on the tag and to be honest, unlike the usual marketing fluff, we can actually see what Belkin means here. There's just something about its svelte shape, its confident transitions (like the way the shoulder strap is not attached by rings or loops, but more like an extension of the bag itself), and little touches like being able to tuck the carrying handle out of sight into the top of the bag, that make it special.

The various two-tone colour schemes it comes in are also quite calming. The bag is available in combinations of Monument (grey), High Rise (a lighter grey), Greenery (guess), Lavender (pink rather than purple, for some reason), Clearwater (blue) and Black (hold on, shouldn't that be 'Darkness' or 'Shadow'?).

It also has a very clean look. Not only can you hide the handle, but opening a zipper on the side reveals an extractable elastic bottle holder in a hidden compartment. When empty, the bag can easily be folded flat, but even when it has a 15.4in notebook and power adaptor inside it still presents a really slim profile. Nor is the front flap spoiled by any buttons or zips. This messenger doesn't use Velcro, which is noisy and can get dirty easily. In fact, the bag's closing system isn't visible at all, because it is magnetic. It's not the strongest system ever, but then, it doesn't need to be and it's certainly the most convenient - just drop the flap and it falls closed.

So far, so calm, cool and collected, but how does it hold up ergonomically? For a bag costing just £25, much better than you might expect. As a "casual" bag, meant for "local outings", it's very capable and unless you're a power user or carry a lot of other gadgets, we don't see why you couldn't use this as your main bag.

Though it might not look it, the shoulder strap is soft, broad and surprisingly comfortable. Because it's mostly one piece, there is no moveable pad that you have to 'position correctly' before slinging it over your shoulder. In another thoughtful touch there is a small compartment on this strap for your phone or MP3 player.

Constructed entirely from waterproof nylon (we tested this claim under a tap, and it holds up!), it weighs just 800g so you barely notice it's there. It stands upright on its own, and there are quite a few compartments inside, some zipped and others elasticised. Your laptop is quite well protected with thick padding all around and a soft fleece lining (no more scratches), while the icing on the cake is a lifetime warranty.

Verdict

Stylish, light, slim, durable and waterproof, with lots of neat little features the Belkin Ceylon Collection Messenger Bag is great value at just £26.

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