The Mobile Edge ECO is the winner of our Best Buy on a Tight Budget Award. We were so blown away by the organizational features and ease of using this bag, combined with the price, that we couldn't offer this review without drawing due attention to the Edge. This was a casual-use messenger bag, great for school or an informal workplace, comfortable enough for short bike rides and some walking on your daily commute. But it stood apart on how intuitive the organization was, and the high-quality design for a real bargain.
Mobile Edge ECO Review
Cons: Smaller, less versatile
Manufacturer: Mobile Edge
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Mobile Edge ECO
|Price||$34.99 at Amazon||$61.93 at REI||$109.99 at Backcountry||$80 List||$49.97 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Great organization, light, easy to use, durable, soft||Durable, easy to use, great value, useful size||Versatile, durable, stylish, fun to use||Compact, lightweight, customization options, simple||Durable, comfortable, simple but thoughtful storage, customizable|
|Cons||Smaller, less versatile||Less volume overall, shoulder strap anchor on bag gets twisted||Not weatherproof, less classic messenger design||Too small for large laptops, no padding, must purchase laptop/tablet protection separately||Minimal features for electronics|
|Bottom Line||This is a great bag for the office or school, as it's highly organized and fun to use.||The Black Hole Mini is a simple, streamlined, durable, and very useful, if small, messenger bag.||This messenger bag is so much more: it transitions seamlessly from backpack to messenger to briefcase.||This messenger bag is very small and lightweight, and useful for trips with a tablet and a few items.||The Classic is a great messenger bag but has a lot of thoughtful competition in the industry.|
|Rating Categories||Mobile Edge ECO||Black Hole Mini Messenger 12L||Mountain Briefcase||Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase||Timbuk2 Classic|
|Packing & Organization (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Wear & Tear (10%)|
|Volume Weight Ratio (10%)|
|Specs||Mobile Edge ECO||Black Hole Mini...||Mountain Briefcase||Tom Bihn Daylight...||Timbuk2 Classic|
|Measured weight (pounds)||2.09||1.3||2.26||0.99||2.19|
|Measured volume (L)||12||10||13||8||16|
|Available Sizes||One Size||One Size||One Size||One Size||XS S M L|
|Dimensions (inches)||18 x 4.25 x 13.5 in||16 x 11 x 5 in||13 x 11 x 4.5 in||14 x 10 x 4 in||14.6 x 12.2 x 7.1|
|OGL Volume/Weight Ratio||5.74||7.69||5.75||8.1||7.3|
|Size tested||One Size||One Size||One Size||One Size||M|
|Shoulder preference||Either||Either||Either & both w/ backpack straps||Either||Either|
|Number of Compartments||1||1||1||1||2|
|Number of Large Pockets||6||2||1||5||6|
|Number of Small Pockets (i.e. sleeves for pens, thin items)||2 (plus 6 pen/pencil sleeves)||6||3||0||4|
|Number of Zipper Pockets||1||2||2||3||3|
|External Side Pocket||No||No||No||No||No|
|Sleeve Fits Laptop||Yes||Yes - 15 inch||Yes - 15 inch||Yes - 13 inch||Yes - 15 inch|
|Stabilizing Cross Strap||No||No||No, has backpack straps||No||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
If the Timbuk2 Proof is like your newest, sleekest pair of designer jeans, the Edge is more like your favorite pair of bargain-basement sweatpants: comfortable, functional, and soft to the touch — but in some people's eyes, not much to look at. Of course, we will leave the style judgment up to you, while we offer some insight into the comfort and function of the Edge.
The Edge scored low in the comfort category compared to the other messenger bags in this review for a couple of reasons. One, the bag has no cross strap, and its boxy design made it much less secure on our OGL Ride Test. And two, it was difficult and time-consuming to adjust the length of the shoulder strap; the adjustment buckle is cleverly slid and stowed in the shoulder pad, with the idea of padding that piece of plastic so it doesn't irritate your shoulder. However, the padding was insufficient for long-distance carries, resulting in an irritating lump on your collarbone.
Improving the comfort, however, is how soft and supple the cotton canvas is, making this bag feel a lot like wearing your favorite sweatpants — with similar style points.
The Edge has an edge in the organization category. It is not a large capacity bag (12 liters of measured space), but it holds a lot of useful items for the office or for school. It keeps your electronics secure and the pockets make for a fun and functional organization system.
Under the flap, there is a large mesh pocket that is quite useful, from scarves we didn't need in the afternoon's warmth to that packet of gum that was annoying us in our pants pocket. It is accessible when the lid is flopped open and helps balance the bag like a bicycle's kickstand on your desk or the floor.
When the bag is pretty full, the pen holder poked out from underneath the main flap, exposing our pens, and during one test, one of our pens broke in transit. This pen holder doesn't easily hold fat or short pens, however, and they should have a keeper tab or clip to hook into the sewn fabric loops. There is a sleeve below, which, in theory, will keep your yellow Ticonderoga #2 pencils from falling out the bottom, but that turned out to be more of a theory than a reality.
There is an ID holder that attaches to several "anchor points" on the bag — and by "anchor point" they mean Velcro patch. This seemed a bit goofy and not secure enough to hold our valuable identification cards, but perhaps it is useful for students or others who frequently use an ID but can get it replaced with minimal hassle. The ID holder does have a plastic D-ring, perhaps for clipping to your key ring; it would be more secure if that D-ring could clip directly to the bag.
Some testers also wanted a water bottle holder, but overall, the plethora of pockets was a favorite feature.
This bag is excellent for toting around your electronics. It has very good padding for your laptop and/or tablet, with Velcro keeper straps that secure the internal sleeves and keep the contents more secure. There are lots of pockets to stash cords and keep organized, and the main compartment accommodates a 17-inch laptop.
In the driving rain, we chose to stash our tablet in the sleeve on the back of the bag which had a more confidence-inspiring, weatherproof flap.
Ease of Use
Imagine wearing your favorite sweatpants — soft, supple, easy to move around in — and you have an idea of what it's like to use the Edge messenger bag. The flap opens easily, and the soft and supple all-natural cotton canvas is pleasant to use.
The main flap flips over to the back, helping it to stand upright on your desk or the floor, making the front "workstation" organization panels easy to access, and also facilitating access to the mesh pocket hidden under the flap.
After some customer complaints, Edge added swivels to the shoulder straps. We aren't sure that was absolutely necessary, but we are glad to see that Edge is responsive to customer feedback.
Wear and Tear
The Edge ECO looked like it got soaked in our OGL Weather Test, but due to the liner, all of the contents stayed dry. The bag does not have overlapping fabric on the sides of the flap when closed, but this bag also cannot be carried sideways like a traditional messenger bag, so we found this to be less of an issue. Usually, the top of the bag was exposed to the brunt of the rain, and so long as we didn't overstuff the bag, there was little to no gap. This design was adequate for sprints from office to coffee shop, but not ideal for rainy bike commutes. However, as we have detailed already, this was not the best bag for a bike commute anyway.
If wear and tear on the contents is a big concern, be sure you have cheap pens; during testing, one of our pens broke, presumably from sticking out from under the main flap.
The Edge is fairly light, we measured it at only 2.09 lbs. But the volume is not terribly impressive; we measured it at 12 liters. This makes it a great light office or school bag, but not a bag that you'll want to (or be able to) over stuff. It scored relatively low on our Volume to Weight Ratio metric, but another way to travel fast and light is to take less stuff, so this bag certainly promotes carrying less as a way to improve comfort!
The Edge is an excellent messenger bag for the casual office user or student. It is stylish but not formal for nicer occasions or offices that require business attire. The pockets are excellent and fun to use, but they don't inspire confidence for long bike commutes or chaotic airport travel. For these uses, check out the Timbuk2 Classic or Timbuk2 Proof, respectively.
The Edge is a durable and nicely priced messenger bag. It was not the most versatile. In fact, the Edge was fairly limited in its scope of application, but at the ridiculously low price of $49.99, combined with the fun pocket design and overall likeability, we had to give it our secondary Best Buy Award for a Tight Budget.
Fun Fact: the Edge ECO was featured on the Big Bang Theory show. See clip.
The Edge was limited in versatility, but very well-designed for its niche. It is a great casual office or book bag that will keep electronics safe and secure for someone traveling mostly on foot.
Mobile Edge promotes the line of ECO bags as eco-friendly due to the minimized carbon footprint of an all-natural cotton canvas. With claims like these, we are accustomed to seeing references to regulatory agencies that certify their validity, like how Patagonia employs the Swiss company Bluesign Technologies to verify the quality of materials in the Patagonia Black Hole — but we can certainly appreciate the use of natural fibers over plastics, if for nothing else than the pleasant feel — like that favorite pair of sweatpants.
— Lyra Pierotti