A Review of The SWISSGEAR Travel Gear ScanSmart Laptop Backpack 3103


My husband and I travel often and I grew tired of lugging my computer behind me in a wheeled computer case. I felt the need to lighten up and get a computer backpack which would give me both hands free while traveling through airports and getting on and off buses and trains.

Choosing a Laptop Backpack

There are so many different brands of computer backpacks out there it was hard to figure out which one would work best for me. I didn’t know how many zippered compartments I needed. I don’t usually travel with a water bottle so wasn’t sure if I needed that. I did read about a ScanSmart compartment which I thought would be helpful when traveling through airports because it means you don’t have to take your computer out of the backpack, just lay it open and flat and it can be scanned.

When we traveled, I started observing computer backpacks that other people were using. I noticed a great percentage of travelers were using the SWISSGEAR backpacks for their computers, and did some research online. There are also many SWISSGEAR Computer backpacks to choose from. They range in price from $29.99 to $149.99. After doing extensive online research, I decided on the SWISSGEAR Travel Gear ScanSmart Laptop Backpack 3103. And I must say that I really love it.

Backpack Description

The padded laptop compartment with ScanSmart zip screen.

The padded laptop compartment with ScanSmart zip screen.

The backpack has a lot going for it, and advertising descriptions of it include:

  • Fits laptops which measure up to 15 inches*
  • A padded laptop area
  • A padded tablet pocket
  • Organizer pocket
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Air flow back system
  • Shoulder strap system
  • A choice of two colors: black or blue

*(Editor’s note:  manufacturer’s website states ScanSmart backpacks can accomodate laptops up to 17 inches)

The wonderful organizer pocket!

The wonderful organizer pocket!

Pros of this Backpack

As a consumer, you may not know or need to know that the backpack has an air flow system, or care that it has a water bottle pocket. But here are the pros of this backpack as I see them:

  • There is plenty of padding on the straps to make it more comfortable on the shoulders
  • The laptop pocket is well padded on the bottom to protect a laptop as it sits on the floor
  • There are five pockets which help keep things organized, including an area with compartments to keep your cell phone, credit cards and a zip pocket for money.
  • My laptop fits in with plenty of room to spare
  • The laptop area has a zip area which is covered by a ScanSmart panel which is a lot easier in the security line. I always stress out when having to quickly take my computer out of my backpack and put it in a separate bin, and then grab it off the belt and shove it back in my computer bag. This compartment alleviates that stress.
  • In front of the ScanSmart screen is another compartment which can be used to carry notebooks, magazines or file folders
  • Not only does it have a water bottle pocket but on the other side it has a vertical zip pocket which is perfect for sunglasses and they are easy to access there
  • Has a separate pocket for a tablet which is useful when traveling
  • The top handle is reinforced with a cable for extra strength
  • Comes with a heavy-duty carabiner ring attached to the backpack
  • It fits under an airplane seat but because it is so large it has to go vertically
  • I like that you have an option of black or blue. The blue is prettier, but I chose black because it won’t show the dirt as much
Comfortable padded straps!

Comfortable padded straps!

Cons of This Backpack

As far as cons, there is only one in my opinion:

  • It weighs 2.15 pounds without anything in it

At almost three pounds, it is heavier than I would like. On the positive side, it’s heavier because of all the padding, which protects your laptop, back and shoulders. That’s it, the only negative thing I can say about the SwissGear Travel Gear ScanSmart Laptop Backpack is that it’s a bit heavy.

If you don’t mind the extra padding weight, I think this backpack definitely is a plus for travel, and it would work well for students as well.