Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Awesome rolling action, Sleek design, Useful internal divider
Cons: Scratches easily, A bit more expensive
Best Uses: City-to-city airline travel
In this review, we tested out four hard-sided, four-wheeled bags and in the process, we grew to love these sophisticated, lightweight pieces for city to city travel. Throughout our testing process, one of these bags stood out far above the rest: the Samsonite Winfield 2 20” Spinner Bag and we decided to highlight it with a Top Pick Award. We awarded this piece our Top Pick because it rolls flawlessly, is super lightweight, and has a sleek, sexy look. Add to this the fact that it held all the items in our pack test and has a well-designed interior and we were smitten. We still had a couple of complaints (there are no exterior pockets, scratches show up easily, there's no side carry handle) but overall, the Samsonite Winfield 2 is a high performing piece of carry-on luggage and a great option for city-to-city travel.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Our Top Pick Award winner, the Samsonite Winfield 2 Spinner Bag is a classy carry-on that offers the convenience of four-wheeled rolling. Unlike other hard-sided bags like the Traveler's Choice Cambridge 20 and Rockland Melbourne 20, this piece has a super sturdy handle, a helpful interior divider, and a 100% polycarbonate shell. Read on as we go into detail on all the ways the Samsonite Winfield 2 outperforms its competitors (and the ways it falls short).
Ease of Transport
The most notable benefit of the Samsonite Winfield 2 20” Spinner Bag is its super efficient four-wheeled design. These high quality swivel wheels allow you to push or pull this bag flawlessly over polished surfaces, even while making tight figure eights. Of all the four-wheeled bags, the Winfield 2 was also the easiest to transport over harsher surfaces like concrete. When you hit an obstacle, it's easy to tip this bag up and pull it as a traditional two-wheeled carry-on. The Winfield 2's solid telescoping handle raises smoothly to two heights and its rubber lined top handle makes carrying a breeze. One of our primary complaints about this bag is that it does not have a side carry handle, which allows for easy carrying up and down stairs. The Delsey Helium Shadow 2 21 (the Winfield 2's main competitor for this Top Pick Award) also lacks a side carry handle.
At 20 x 13 x 9, the Samsonite Winfield 2 measures in two inches shorter than some of the other bags in this review; however, it has a surprisingly large internal volume. We were able to fit everything (including our tri-fold hanging bag and two pairs of shoes) into this bag and we didn't even have to sit on it to make it close! If internal capacity is very important to you, the Delsey Helium Shadow and the REI Wheely Beast 21 (our Best Buy Award winner) both have even more space.
One thing that we really liked about the Winfield 2 was that its internal divider zips completely shut to separate the two halves of the suitcase. The Rockland Melbourne also offered this feature, but we were surprised that the other hard-sided bags did not incorporate this simple, yet important addition (instead, they opted for dividers that snapped or buckled in place at two points). This divider also includes two mesh organizer pockets. Items on the bottom half are held in place by adjustable non-elastic straps that form an X shape. The Samsonite piece also has an integrated TSA approved combination lock that is simple to set and use. One feature that our testers missed on this bag were exterior pockets. None of the hard-sided bags in this review have easy-to-access exterior stash spaces for books, last minute additions, and other items.
Durability & Construction
To make this bag, Samsonite used a 100% polycarbonate shell, this material is more durable than other plastics like ABS (which is the material used to make the Rockland and Traveler's Choice hard-sided bags). The finish on the Winfield 2 is glossy, which gives it a distinctive look, but also shows scratches more than textured bags like the Delsey Helium Shadow. On the other hand, the Samsonite bag's square-ish edges greatly decreased the amount that we could smash it. When we pressed on the bag, the force was distributed in a way that would not encourage cracks to form. The zippers on this bag are sound and they self-repaired several times during our testing process (mostly after we overstuffed the bag). Finally, the handle was one of the least rickety of all the bags in this review.
The Samsonite Winfield 2 was one of the lightest bags that we reviewed and was easy to slide into the overhead bin time and again. It weighed in at 5 lbs and 15 ounces on our scale, which is even less than the manufacturer's specifications. Interestingly, polycarbonate is more durable and generally heavier than ABS, but both bags made with ABS (Rockland and Traveler's Choice) were actually heavier than the Winfield 2.
A sleek bag with a professional look, the Winfield 2 Spinner Bag is a bit more square than the Delsey Helium, but more attractive and more expensive looking than its cheaper Rockland and Traveler's Choice competitors. This bag will definitely add a touch of sophistication to your next flight. Our main concern in this category were the scratches that started forming on this bag after less than five flights. At the manufacturer's suggestion, we tried buffing these out and saw a bit of improvement. The bag's ridges are designed to take the brunt of the sliding and scratching, but we found that flaws showed up all over the bag. If this is a major detractor for you, consider a bag with a textured exterior, which all the other hard-sided bags in this review have.
This bag performs best on polished surfaces where carrying up and down stairs is minimal (since it's lacking a side carry handle). We think it's a great choice where professionalism and class are desirable – think business trip or wedding. Our testers used this bag for both these uses and were happy with the look it provided.
At $280, the Samsonite Winfield 2 20” Spinner Bag is certainly at the higher end of the price spectrum, but if you are seeking a hard-sided bag and aren't concerned about the bag's two or three shortcomings then we think this piece is definitely worth the money. Frankly, we don't think either of super cheap hard-sided bags (Rockland and Traveler's Choice) are even worth messing with, especially after testing such a high performance piece as the Winfield 2. This bag also comes with a 10-year warranty.
Bottom line: we loved this bag, even with its flaws. Cruising through the airport has never been easier with the Samsonite Winfield 2 20” Spinner Bag and you look good doing it. Top Pick Award material, all the way.
Samsonite Winfield 2 28, $190.
The Samsonite Winfield 2 Three Piece, $500, includes a 20, 24, and 28".
— Amanda Fenn
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Most recent review: April 21, 2014
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