Bottom line: Whether you’re carrying your electronics to class or on a plane across the world, this is the best choice to get them safely from point A to point B. The higher price point reflects its professional looks and high build quality.
Who it’s for: Those carrying around primarily electronics and books
Comfort: With a squishy, padded back, the ICON backpack is easy to carry over both short and long distances. The gaps on the back allow for some airflow, meaning that while wearing it for extended periods of time will result in some sweat, the ventilation is sufficient to prevent the wearer from feeling like he or she is swimming in sweat.
The straps are also cushioned and can be adjusted for a secure fit both on the bottom and the top of the wearer’s back. A clip across the middle helps with weight distribution.
The ICON is the heaviest back we tested, coming in at 2.4 lbs. Over time, that extra weight becomes noticeable and uncomfortable, but on the other hand, that stiff, heavy frame helps to prevent damage to the electronics inside.
Storage: The ICON is a heavily padded backpack that is meant to keep your laptops and tablets safe. The fabric-lined compartments are soft to the touch, and the pad on the bottom means that your laptop won’t be colliding regularly with whatever surface the bag lies on.
There are multiple storage options for laptops—like the L. L. Bean Quad Pack, it has a zippered side pocket that can hold smaller laptops, and an interior section for a larger 15-inch laptop. Other, smaller pouches easily hold granola bars, pens, and USB drives without getting lost amid the larger items. However, this bag, with its rigid frame and tall, skinny compartments, has trouble holding bulkier items like clothes or larger cameras.
One neat part is the two side pockets that extend around back – these pockets can’t comfortably hold a water bottle (in fact, there is no place to store a water bottle on the outside of the backpack), but it’s a really convenient place to store things you need easy access to, like a phone, wallet, or keys.
Looks: The Incase ICON comes in four different colors, and has a minimalist, streamlined design that is meant to convey a more professional appearance.
What owners think: While there are not many online reviews of this product, all of the reviews that do exist are extremely positive. It is described as a safe haven for laptops and tablets alike, with plenty of room for other flat objects. People also loved the side pouches mentioned above, and thought that they were a great place to store chargers. On the other hand, at least one review bemoaned the lack of a water bottle holder.