Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Awesome rolling action, sleek design, useful internal divider
Cons: Scratches easily, non-expandable
Best Uses: City-to-city airline travel
We've tested several hard-sided, four-wheeled bags in our updated 2015 review and in the process we grew to love these sophisticated, lightweight pieces for city-to-city travel. Of the hard-sided bags that we tested, the Samsonite Winfield 2 20 Spinner Bag stood out far above the rest. It rolls flawlessly, is super lightweight, and has a sleek, sexy look. It was able to hold all the items in our pack test and has a well-designed interior. We do have a couple of complaints about this bag: there are no exterior pockets, scratches show up easily, and there's no side carry handle, but overall, this is a high performing piece of carry-on luggage. If you prefer the look and/or protective qualities of hard-sided luggage, the Winfield 2 is the bag for you.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Samsonite Winfield 2 20 Spinner Bag has a 100% polycarbonate shell and frame-integrated TSA lock. It weighs 6 lbs 4 oz and its exterior dimensions are 20 x 13 x 9.
Ease of Transport
The most notable benefit of the Samsonite Winfield 2 20 Spinner Bag is its efficient four-wheel design. The high quality swivel wheels allow you to push or pull this bag flawlessly over polished surfaces, even while making tight figure eights. Because you can push this bag in front of you, we never had the problem of it catching on a seat on the plane while walking down the aisle, something we did experience quite often with two-wheeled bags like the Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic and the Travelpro Maxlite 3 22. However, the wheels on this bag were not as large and wide as those on the Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 21, which could handle uneven surfaces much better. That said, when you hit an obstacle or harsh surface, it's easy to tip the Winfield 2 up and pull it as a traditional two-wheeled carry-on. This bag's solid telescoping handle raises smoothly and locks at three heights, making it suitable for a large range of heights. One of our primary complaints about this bag is that it does not have a side carry handle that would allow for easier carrying up and down stairs.
At 20 x 13 x 9, the Samsonite Winfield 2 20 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 for a three-day winter trip into this bag and we didn't even have to sit on it to make it close! It doesn't come with a garment bag, so if that feature is important to you and you still want a four-wheeled bag then our Editors' Choice Pick Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 21 or our Top Pick for Business Travel, the Briggs and Riley Baseline Domestic, would be a better choice. Those bags also offer the option to expand, which is key if you tend to acquire things while traveling. Finally, the Winfield has a dividing flap that fully encloses one side, which is nice for separating dirty and clean clothes during your trip.
As mentioned above, our testers really like the internal divider on the Samsonite Windifield 2 20. The Rockland Melbourne 20 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.
The hard-sided shell of the Samsonite Winfield 2 20 is 100% polycarbonate, which is more durable than other plastics like ABS (which is the material used to make the Rockland Melbourne and Traveler's Choice Cambridge 20 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 3.0 21. In fact, we somehow got several black streaks on the finish after only one trip. 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. We even ended up using it as an impromptu stroller for a tired four-year old who weighs 35 pounds. He was carried for over a mile through a long airport with no denting on the frame occurring. The zippers on this bag are also 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 20 was one of the lightest bags that we reviewed and was easy to slide into the overhead bin time and again. It weighs 6 lbs 4 ounces on our scale, which is interesting as polycarbonate is generally heavier (and more durable) 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 boxier looking than the Delsey Helium 3.0, 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. If you are into making bold statements with the color of your luggage and prefer a soft-sided bag, the Lipault Paris Plume 22 has every color of the rainbow to suit your needs.
The Winfield 2 is listed for $140 on Samsonite's website. Online retailers list the retail price at $280, but then sell it for anywhere from $105-140. More price confusion for the consumer. For anything $140 and less, this bag is a great value, and it also comes with a 10-year warranty.
There are many choices when it comes to luggage, from shell material to the number and types of wheels. If you are specifically looking for a hard-sided, four-wheeled bag, then we highly recommend this model, even with its flaws. Cruising through the airport will never be easier, and you'll look good doing it.
The Winfield 2 28 retails for $190 and is a larger variation of this rolling bag. You can also buy the Winfield 2 Three Piece, $500, which includes a 20, 24, and 28" rolling bag.
— Cam McKenzie Ring & Amanda Fenn
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Most recent review: April 23, 2015
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