AmazonBasics Oxford Expandable 20" Review
Cons: Useless features, difficult to use, not durable at all
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This bare-bones model is adequate for the infrequent traveler who doesn't want to pony up for an expensive bag that they'll only use once a year. Frequent flyers need not apply.
Ease of Use
We love four-wheeled bags, but this bag has a low-quality swivel compared to the others in our testing group. It comes equipped with larger wheels than many others, but we are unable to push this bag easily over uneven surfaces. When you hit an obstacle or harsh surface this bag nearly stops in its tracks and likes to tip over. Even on even, polished surfaces, it has a tendency to drift in all kinds of directions and the telescoping handle is so incredibly loose that it's difficult to control. The wheels are also rather loud, which we aren't fans of.
Like any hard-sided piece of luggage, there are no outside pockets, so you really need to have a handy personal item to fulfill that function. It also has no laptop sleeve of any kind anywhere in the bag, so if you tend to travel with a laptop or tablet, you'll need another secure way to transport it. All the pieces you'd expect to be on a suitcase are there and work fine, but don't inspire the confidence of being able to check this bag or even use it for many years - maybe not even months.
Storage & Features
We would suggest watching how much you purchase while on vacation because even with the expander, this bag is pretty small. Its clamshell design isn't quite as accommodating to different styles of packing. The side that zips completely shut for you to flip upside down also has a lot of wasted space above that flap. And in a bag this small, wasted space seems extra painful. Additionally, if you're trying to squeeze as much into this space as possible, you'll find it's extra challenging to zip that flap zipper closed when the compartment is full - no an ideal compression situation.
The opposite side has a simple cross-strap to hold everything in place. However, it's made of the loosest elastic band we've ever had the misfortune of testing in a piece of luggage. We're not really sure the purpose of this band for anything other than looks, as it doesn't help compress anything and doesn't even keep things in place as you walk around. There are a few internal pockets, but we found their thin, narrow shapes to be very challenging to use. We're rather disappointed by the organizational features, storage capacity, and compression options (or lack thereof) of this bag.
This bag has a more simplistic look and not too many features. It's geared toward travelers who are self-organized and have a great personal item bag to accompany a very simple suitcase.
The integrated lock is a nice idea, but in practice, we found it wanting. To use it, you must always line up the zippers exactly right, which we could get used to. Where it really failed is after a small amount of manhandling, it became stuck and refused to unlock, trapping all our belongings inside! Fortunately, we were able to get it opened after a few minutes. Unfortunately, how we did that is by prying the lock open with a pair of pliers, which was all too easy to do. So while the lock seems like a neat addition, it malfunctions easily and is disappointingly easy to break into.
Though the Oxford is a hard-sided bag, we're very unimpressed with its durability. The hard sides barely keep their shape and become dented and scratched extremely easily - and look awful in the process. When we dropped this bag from about a foot off the ground, part of one wheel actually flew off. It was a "hubcap", and though half the tabs were broken off, we were able to reattach it and use the wheels just fine. But the ease with which this bag broke inspires very little confidence in your bag making it through the checked luggage process without some lasting ill effects.
We already discussed the durability issues with the integrated lock, which are doubly disappointing as it's is one of this bag's few features. Every piece of this suitcase is troubling from a durability standpoint. The telescoping handle is one of the most rickety of any we tested, the other handles are quite flimsy, and the zippers don't glide smoothly and confidently. Though we tested this bag for just a few months, we don't think it's up to the task of years.
This piece of luggage comes in an array of colors and is by far one of the cheapest options we tested. If you're willing to pack light and only need a rollaboard once every year or two, this one just might suffice. But if you want to be able to put your faith in your suitcase and make it your companion for years of adventures, we can't recommend this option.
If you are looking for a hard-sided, four-wheeled bag on a tight budget, this ticks those boxes. It's rather small, lacks a lot of organizational features, and has some serious durability flaws. We can't recommend this bag to anyone looking for a reliable carry-on. But if you need something infrequently, can pack light, and are very gentle with your belongings, this one just might work for you.
— Maggie Brandenburg