The Mobile Edge ECO is the winner of our Best Buy on a Tight Budget Award. We were impressed by the organizational features and ease of using this bag, not to mention the stellar price point. This is a casual-use messenger, great for school or an informal workplace and comfortable enough for short bike rides and some walking on your daily commute. It isn't the most technically-minded bag, nor is it the most durable if you have inclement weather or rough use on the horizon. It's also not the best for serious bike commuters. It is stylish but not formal, so it's appropriate for nicer occasions or offices that are lax about business attire. It's a good design that stands apart in regards to how intuitive the layout is — all for a bargain-basement price.
Mobile Edge ECO Review
Cons: Smaller, less versatile, utilitarian look
Manufacturer: Mobile Edge
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Mobile Edge ECO
|Price||$33.66 at Amazon||$169 List||$169.00 at REI|
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|$80 List||$43.95 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Great organization, light, easy to use, durable, soft||Versatile, durable, stylish, fun to use||Waterproof, comfortable, lightweight, highly durable, ambidextrous shoulder strap||Compact, lightweight, customization options, simple||Durable, comfortable, simple but thoughtful storage, customizable|
|Cons||Smaller, less versatile, utilitarian look||Not weatherproof, less classic messenger design||Tips over easily when set down, doesn't have very many pockets, expensive||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.||Transitions seamlessly from backpack to messenger to briefcase.||This sleek, comfortable, and lightweight bag is highly durable and weatherproof with minimal yet thoughtful features.||This messenger bag is very small and lightweight, and useful for trips with a tablet and a few items.||A great messenger bag but has a lot of thoughtful competition in the industry.|
|Rating Categories||Mobile Edge ECO||Mountain Briefcase||Arc'teryx Granville 10||Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase||Timbuk2 Classic|
|Packing & Organization (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Wear & Tear (10%)|
|Volume To Weight Ratio (10%)|
|Specs||Mobile Edge ECO||Mountain Briefcase||Arc'teryx...||Tom Bihn Daylight...||Timbuk2 Classic|
|Measured weight (pounds)||2.09||2.26||1.15||0.99||2.19|
|Measured volume (L)||12||13||10||8||16|
|OGL Volume/Weight Ratio||5.74||5.75||8.69||8.1||7.3|
|Dimensions (inches)||18 x 4.25 x 13.5||13 x 11 x 4.5 in||16 x 10.5 x 5||14 x 10 x 4||14.6 x 12.2 x 7.1|
|Shoulder preference||Either||Either & both w/ backpack straps||Either||Either||Either|
|Number of Compartments||1||1||1||1||2|
|Number of Large Pockets||6||1||2||5||6|
|Number of Small Pockets (i.e. sleeves for pens, thin items)||2 (plus 6 pen/pencil sleeves)||3||0||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 - 12 inch||Yes - 13 inch||Yes - 15 inch|
|Stabilizing Cross Strap||No||No, has backpack straps||Yes||No||Yes|
|Available Sizes||One Size||One Size||10L and 16L||One Size||XS, S, M, L|
|Size tested||One Size||One Size||10L||One Size||Medium|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Edge scores 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 makes it much less secure when biking. Second, it's 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 is 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 at just 12 liters, but it holds a lot of useful items for the office or 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. It is accessible when the lid is flipped open, and the open lid also helps to balance the bag like a bicycle kickstand when setting up on your desk or a table. The plethora of pockets that this bag offers was a favorite feature for many of our testers.
A couple of things left a bit to be desired. When the bag is really full, the pen holder pokes out from underneath the main flap and, during one test, one of our pens broke in transit — be aware of this when packing to the gills. There's also an ID holder that attached to a Velcro patch - not secure enough for us to trust our valuable identification cards, though perhaps useful in a school setting where credentials have to be shown often.
This bag is excellent for toting around electronics. It has excellent padding for a laptop 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 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 has a more confidence-inspiring, weatherproof flap. However, this may not have been necessary — the whole bag does well in the rain due to an internal liner. Just be sure not to overstuff, as the fabric on the sides doesn't overlap.
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 the bag to stand upright on a desk or the floor. This makes the front "workstation" organization panels easy to access, and also facilitating access to the mesh pocket hidden under the flap. The pockets are excellent and fun to use, but they don't inspire a ton of confidence for long bike commutes or chaotic airport travel.
Wear and Tear
The Edge ECO looked like it got soaked in our weather tests, but due to an internal liner, all of our contents stayed dry. However, the soft and supple fabric is far less durable than most of the other more expensive models in this review.
This bag does not have overlapping fabric on the sides of the flap when closed, which can be a concern when rain is pouring down. However, it also cannot be carried vertically like a traditional messenger bag, so this is less of an issue. Usually, the top of the bag (i.e., the main flap) is what will be exposed to the brunt of the rain. So long as you don't overstuff when packing, there is little to no gap on the sides to elicit concern. This design is adequate for sprints from office to coffee shop, but not ideal for rainy bike commutes. However, as we have detailed already, this is not the best bag for a bike commute anyway.
Volume to Weight Ratio
The Edge is reasonably light, measuring just 2.09 pounds, but the volume is not very large either — just 12 liters. This makes it a great light office or school bag, but not something that you'll want (or be able to) over stuff.
This is a durable and nicely priced messenger bag, though it's not the most versatile. If we're being honest, the Edge is fairly limited in its scope of application. However, when you consider the price, combined with the fun pocket design and overall likeability, we had to give it a Best Buy Award.
The Edge is 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. The materials were chosen strategically though: Mobile Edge promotes their line of ECO bags as eco-friendly due to the minimized carbon footprint of all-natural cotton canvas. While perhaps a bit limited in versatility, this bag is also 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.
Fun Fact: the Edge ECO was featured on the Big Bang Theory show. Watch it!
— Penney Garrett & Lyra Pierotti