The Samsonite Aspire Xlite demonstrated to us that a functional piece of luggage need not burst at the seams with features. It didn't excel in our testing, but it consistently performed with average ratings throughout our tests. If what you seek is the best of the best, this suitcase isn't for you. Although not perfect, this bag does have some redeeming qualities that are worth a look. It wouldn't be our first pick, but the Aspire could be a decent budget option in a pinch.
Samsonite Aspire Xlite 25" Review
Cons: Sloppy wheels, fabric frays easily
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Samsonite Aspire XLite looks exactly what a suitcase should look like. It performs just as well as a good suitcase is expected to. What the Aspire is missing is the new features and manufacturing tolerance that make a suitcase great. We can't say that this bag is going to make your life easier than expected in your travels, but it certainly won't make it harder. And, with a price tag of $200, it will be kind on your wallet.
The Samsonite Aspire Xlite showed up. It didn't win any awards, nor did it excel in any particular category. Its overall value comes predominantly from being average at everything. That means it wasn't excellent at anything in particular, but it also means that it wasn't particularly awful at anything, either.
The Samsonite Aspire Xlite brings with it a sturdy frame and ballistic nylon. However, this bag uses a cheaper ballistic nylon (1680D) versus a higher quality ballistic nylon (1050D). The result: a durable bag that has a certain fuzzy quality to it when you rub it the wrong way.
Perhaps the outer shell lacks long-term durability, but that isn't what would deter us from trusting this suitcase as our go-to bag. The amount of side-to-side play that the wheels demonstrated was unnerving at best. At least one consumer review confirmed our concern over the wheels.
Overall, the durability of the Aspire is about what we'd expect for the price tag. We can't say with certainty that it will keep its good looks after a handful of flights, but we do expect that the bag will have enough lasting power to meet the low-price value. For a super durable bag within a reasonable price range, check out the Burton Wheelie and the Timbuk2 CoPilot.
The Aspire XLite handily packed away our massive packing list with a surprisingly large main compartment. Even if it hadn't, it features an expanding zipper to add another two inches of space. Curiously, the expanding zipper only expands the top-half of the bag. Expanding only half the bag is brilliant as it provides extra space while limiting the risk of a spinner toppling forward as it is pushed along face first. Intuitively, we found this an odd choice. If only expanding half of the bag, why not expand the bottom-half instead to limit top heaviness as well? Check out the Briggs and Riley Baseline and the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 for similarly styled suitcases with great storage.
Ease of Transport
Transportability can be the kiss of death for something so relied upon to store and deliver your belongings from point A to point B. We were a little disappointed with this bag's performance in our transportability test. When fully laden down, the Aspire tips forward while attempting to change directions in spinner mode. We blame the sloppy direction transitions on the loose wheel assembly. The wheels on this bag just have way too much play.
When pulling this bag along behind you on a rough sidewalk, you may be left with numbed hands. And be careful navigating stairs, as the Aspire lacks any real abrasion protection and the spinner style wheels don't offer any clearance when pulling up or down stairs. Spinners with good transportability are hard to come by. The nature of their swiveling wheels often mean that when pulled on two wheels, particularly up and down stairs, the bag is left with little or no clearance and subject to abrasion. For spinners that make the transportability grade, take a look at the Briggs and Riley Baseline and the Delsey Helium Titanium.
The Aspire doesn't bring a ton of features to the table. Overall it is a basic bag. The two standard front pockets, small and large, provide a little extra exterior storage. Also on the exterior, a convenient bottom handle helps when setting the bag on a bed, or moving it while still packing. On the inside, you get an elastic support strap which we don't have high hopes for. However, inside the front panel, the Aspire provides an accessory compartment and a dirty laundry compartment. We found these exceedingly relevant for the travelers leaving for a few days with no opportunity to do laundry. The Aspire gets along with little more than the basics. If you prefer more bells and whistles, consider the Briggs and Riley Baseline or the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2.
The Aspire once again came in with an average performance, this time in respect to weight. When battling a 50lb weight limit with airlines, a total weight of 9.5lbs on our scales means less than 20% of your weight budget is spent on the bag. For more weight budget to spend on your clothes — and less on your bag — the TravelPro Maxlite 4 caught our eye.
This bag won't win you any beauty pageants, nor will it make you the subject of ridicule. It looks — you guessed it — average. It pales in comparison to the Delsey Helium Titanium and the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2, but this is what everyone expects a suitcase to look like.
For the value driven customer that needs a checked piece of luggage from time to time, the Aspire gets a nod. It wasn't our high performer or first choice in any department, but we know that some prefer the look and feel that they are used to.
This suitcase brings overall average performance for a lower budget. There were certainly other suitcases that outperformed the Aspire that were lower cost. However, those that outperformed at a lower cost, took some chances with style that may not be for everyone. If you aren't looking to be wowed by your suitcase, or just want to replace your suitcase of yesteryear, the value is there.
The Aspire didn't take our breath away. To be honest, we were partially surprised — and not at all — when Samsonite delivered an average performing, average looking, and average priced piece of luggage. We will always have a market segment of folks that want their suitcase to look like a suitcase. It looks like a suitcase and transports your things until it breaks. It won't make your life easier, amaze you with gadgetry, or impress your friends. It's a suitcase.
— Dave Eyvazzadeh