Disclaimer: I got the Handbag of Holding free from ThinkGeek for review. There are also affiliate links in here, so if you buy it after clicking on one I get a cut. #FeedABlogger
When I got a new job, I got a work laptop. Which meant my up-to-this-point perfect Ogio tablet purse was out of commission. I had to go through the struggle of finding a new purse.
I wanted a purse that looked more like a purse than a laptop bag. I wanted one that I could carry around and not look ridiculous (I don’t like switching purses). I had clicked around ModCloth and saw several that would work, but there wasn’t any that offered the kind of protection I wanted. But when I looked a ThinkGeek and saw the Handbag of Holding I was intrigued.
Me carrying the bag. (My new camera lets me use my phone as a remote viewfinder!)
Style:It’s hard to get a good idea of what the Handbag of Holding looks like on ThinkGeek.com. Their model is in cosplay, which is fun, but doesn’t give you a good idea of how it looks on any given day. When it arrived, I was excited to see how much better it looks in person. It’s a cute purplish-grey bag with lavender liner. It’s definitely a casual purse, but really works well with most outfits.
Size: I’m going to start off with saying this is not a laptop purse, and ThinkGeek never claims it is. I had hoped that maybe I could fit my 14″ Dell into the padded center pocket with a little stretching but no luck. But it does fit in the purse itself perfectly. And my personal 15.6″ laptop can also fit in pretty well. But the center pocket is really designed for tablets.
Pockets: I have a love of pockets, and the Handbag of Holding has a ton of them. I would love to see a pen pocket added to the list though. There are two pockets on either side, two in front, one main area with a zippered tablet sleeve, and an additional compartment on the front and back. There are three(!) zippered pockets inside to slide things you want to make sure don’t fall out. The types of pockets and location give the bag the ability to be big and still let you find your stuff. (Everything tended to fall to the bottom in my Ogio bag.) Here’s what I carry in mine on a daily basis. I think it qualifies as a Bag of Holding.
From top left: iPad Mini, 14″ Dell laptop, large Moleskine day planner, wallet, lip balm, lip gloss, chapstick, glasses cleaning cloth, tampons, pens, Klipsch earbuds in case, camera, iPod Classic, pocket Moleskine notebook (fits in the front pocket with the iPod), battery pack, laptop power cable, Galaxy S4, random business cards from Gen Con.
Durability: I’ve been carrying the Handbag of Holding daily for about three months now, and it still looks new. It doesn’t show stains, it doesn’t have any loose threads, there are no tears in the liner. And I am not easy on purses.
Flexibility: I don’t like switching my purses out. I always forget something when I do. I’ve not had to switch bags the entire time I’ve been using this bag except for a few concerts and a wedding (not Claire’s. I totally took it to Claire’s wedding. What else was I going to carry the Creative speaker in?) I took the bag to Gen Con, and loaded it up with SWAG. I was even able to carry my free swag bag inside the Handbag of Holding. I’ve taken it on weekend trips and it was able to hold my book and my over-ear headphones. It’s kind of impressive.
As much as I love the Handbag of Holding, there is no such thing as perfect. There are some flaws with it, some of which would be easy to fix if ThinkGeek ever puts out a 2.0 model.
The snap is barely holding.
Closure: One thing that is slightly annoying about the Handbag of Holding is the magnetic snaps that hold the bag closed. Most of the time, they don’t. For me, this is just a minor inconvenience, but if you tend to knock over your bag this could be a problem.
Bottle Pockets: When I first saw the bottle pockets I kind of laughed. They look closer to the size of Red Bull cans. After some stretching, I was able to get a bottle to fit. But it’s hard to get in and out. I’ve seen some bags with a zipper on the bottle pocket so it’s flat most the time, and easily holds a bottle when you need it. On the plus side, my S4 fits perfectly.
Straps: This is my biggest problem with the Handbag of Holding. It’s a big bag made to hold lots of stuff. It’s going to get heavy. But the cross body strap is narrow. It digs into your shoulder and is a bit painful. I’d love to see a pad on the strap to help distribute the weight. I’ve been carrying the bag as a tote, and it’s comfortable to carry that way, but I’d like to have the option.
I’m in love with the Handbag of Holding. It’s clear that ThinkGeek took time to talk to lady geeks about what they would want in a bag, instead of just making a girly version of the regular Bag of Holding. I’m hoping that as they continue to expand the Bag of Holding line (they recently added a con bag and a backpack) they’ll add some more women’s specific items. I’d love to see a smaller one designed around a 7″ tablet for example, or a big get one made for laptops. But if you need a purse that can carry almost anything, and be appropriate for work or going out, I highly recommend the Handbag of Holding.
This review is for the original Handbag of Holding. Since it was written ThinkGeek has released an updated version with a top zipper, and a more professional looking leather version. And if you’re curious, my Handbag of Holding is still going strong!