ROCCAT Into Street-Proof Messenger Bag Review

Author: Aaron Chen
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/roccat_into/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

The term "gaming" in the peripheral space has always struck me with curiosity. What really defines a product as specifically catering to gamers? Flashy designs? Extra (sometimes gimmicky) functionality? Or is it a signal for quality? As we've seen in our past reviews, ROCCAT is no stranger to gamer-centric peripherals, both good and bad. Since its inception, the German-based company has been striving to challenge the competition with aesthetically-pleasing designs, thorough software suites, and innovative features such as ROCCAT Talk.

The ROCCAT Into Street-Proof Messenger Bag is a departure from the mice and keyboards often associated with gaming peripherals and looks to satisfy gamers on the go. The fan base for less resource-heavy games such as League of Legends is growing, meaning more and more gamers are sticking to portable laptops. Constructed from a combination of nylon and polyester, the ROCCAT Into Messenger Bag offers heavy-duty protection in addition to comfort for travelling gamers. It features a dedicated section for carrying laptops measuring between 15.4" and 17.3", an outside pocket for digital audio players, an expandable Velcro-based closing system, and an easily-moveable shoulder pad cushion.

As a student with a daily commute, I've gone through my fair share of bags, some comfortable for hours at a time and others leading to shoulder pains or broken straps after heavy use. Let's see if the ROCCAT Into Street-Proof Messenger Bag holds up to the comfort and protection that it claims.

Specifications:

Product Code
ROC-15-800-AS
Available Color
Black/Blue
Materials
70% Cordura Nylon, 30% Polyester
Supported Laptop Sizes
Up to 17.3" (Perfect for 15.4" – 17.3")
Bag Size
320 x 475 mm (HxW)
Front Pocket Size
170 x 200 mm (HxW)
Back Pocket Size
260 x 460 mm (HxW)

All information courtesy of ROCCAT @ http://www.roccat.org/Products/Gaming-Accessories/ROCCAT-Into/#crb_2

Holding the ROCCAT Into for the first time, I was instantly drawn to the smooth-yet-textured feel of the Cordura nylon and polyester fabric it is made from. It provides a bit of heft, but that's to be expected from a bag its size. Nylon polymers are considered a very strong fabric, having seen use on rope, clothing, and seatbelts. It's definitely nice to see this tear-resistant material make its way here.

If there is one thing consistent with ROCCAT products, it is the trademark blue and black color scheme. The ROCCAT Into is no different – one look and we already spot a giant blue ROCCAT logo that covers more than half of the nylon-polyester front flap. The design will probably turn off those looking for something more minimalistic but for others, the logo can be quite slick and attractive on its own.

Toward the left we spot three double-sided cards that are the only advertising materials on the bag. These highlight features of the ROCCAT Into in 10 different languages, including the nylon armor shell, XXL Velcro strip closing system, and quick-snap shoulder clip. On two of the panels, there are diagrams boasting the "perfect fit" for laptops sized between 15.4" and 17.3", as well as a not-so-subtle advertisement for ROCCAT Vire ear buds.

Discretely hidden in the front flap is a large zipper-shut pocket intended for your phone, music player, or gaming handheld. Large is almost an understatement; I managed to insert a Nintendo DS Lite and two smartphones with room to spare for another device. Unfortunately, the inside of the pocket lacks any padding, leaving the thickness of the nylon-polyester material on the front flap as its only form of protection. I'd say this pocket should be adequate enough against minor drops.

For those who listen to music on the go, there is a small rubber grommet through which you can run a 3.5mm headphone connector into your device inside. Beware, though, as some larger or right-angle connectors will not fit through.

Flipping around to the back, we spot a zipper that spans almost the entire length of the bag and opens up as a large pocket ideal for storing notebooks, papers, and pens. The pocket is so big that I managed to comfortably fit a 10.1" tablet inside. Like the front pocket, the inside of the back storage foregoes any shock-absorbing material aside from the external nylon-polyester layer. Small electronics should be fine here, but heavy gear may not be as safe.

Opening up the bag involves undoing an oversized clip and pulling the front flap free from two long strips of Velcro underneath. Touted as the "XXL Velcro Strip Closing System", this combination of Velcro and adjustable clip allows the cover to be securely closed even with a large item (such as an oversized laptop) inside the bag.

With the ROCCAT Into open, we spot a departure from the almost-all-black color of the exterior in favor of a light blue hue synonymous with other ROCCAT products. The backside of the front flap is where we find a sewn-on label with material information, as well as a quote from a "ROCCAT Scientist" (we seem to spot his name on every ROCCAT product).  One thing I noticed when opening the bag was the incredibly strong odor – something akin to a plasticky shoe smell. After several days of use, the smell did somewhat dissipate, so the issue should alleviate itself over time (or after a quick wash).

The actual innards of the ROCCAT Into are split into two compartments: one for your laptop and the other for everything else. The former supports notebooks up to 17.3" in screen size, held down by a strap with Velcro on one end. Unlike the outside pockets, this compartment features a good amount of padding on both the bottom and sides. Unfortunately, the open top means smaller devices, such as phones or small tablets, could fall out. My 10" tablet was JUST large enough to be held in place by the strap, for example. Even then, it was moving around a little too freely when in transit. Luckily, my 15.6" laptop sat snugly the pocket.

The other compartment is almost identical, minus the Velcro strap on top. Featuring no less than 5 pockets (3 of which are shut with Velcro strips) and 3 pen holder slots, this section is perfect for mice, chargers, and headsets. There is enough room here to fit a second laptop if necessary (and you don't mind the added weight).

Unfortunately it's when I closed the bag up with a laptop inside that I spotted a major flaw in design – the body of the ROCCAT Into is actually significantly wider than its front flap. Therefore a large gap remains open which could lead to water or dust still getting onto whatever larger items are inside. For those who carry around pens or small objects, it'll be a good idea to secure them in a Velcro'ed pocket as well.

The shoulder strap on the ROCCAT Into features large ROCCAT branding and is nicely sewn at a 45 degree angle on both ends. It is length adjustable by use of a traditional plastic clip and held down with a nice oversized buckle. As a nice touch, you can organize unused portions under a small horizontal strap up front.

The shoulder strap itself is of very dense weave, though it does lend to quite a rough texture on the edges. To compensate, ROCCAT has included a long shoulder pad made from the same nylon-polyester material as the rest of the bag. Basically a cushion that wraps around the strap via two Velcro'ed wings, it can be attached anywhere along the strap or removed completely (though that is not recommended).

As with most accessories, it's difficult to determine quality without real-world exposure. Let's put the ROCCAT Into to the test in day-to-day usage.

Testing the ROCCAT Into Messenger Bag involved bringing it along on my day-to-day errands, carrying the bag with books, laptops, tablets, and other accessories inside. The most important points of a good bag are comfort and usability, so those will be our focal points in testing.

Comfort:

I was initially slightly apprehensive about the ROCCAT Into's comfort factor given the rough nylon-polyester material on the bag. Thankfully, ROCCAT's little touches have made the bag a joy to carry around.

The first key area comes from the 45-degree connection points on the ends of the straps. In addition to relieving much strain from the strap itself, it really helped to sit the bag flush with my side when fully loaded up. Gone is the annoyance of having the bag repeatedly hit my lower back with every step I took.

The second is the massive shoulder pad. Despite stuffing the bag with 10-15 pounds of items (including an 8-pound laptop, a netbook, a 10.1" tablet, and more), it was comfortable to carry due to the pad helping to distribute all the weight throughout my shoulder. With that said, it would be nice to see thicker cushioning and dulling of the nylon-polyester edges that otherwise began digging into my shoulder after an extended period of time.

Overall, the ROCCAT Into was very comfortable to carry. Aside from some minor quibbles with the rough nylon-polyester material, quite a bit of thought has been put into this bag to ensure comfort.

Usability:

Nylon is known to be strong and resistant to tearing, so the dense weaving on the Into meant I had little hesitation with fully loading it up with gear. Normally, the strap is the first thing to rip with messenger bags, but here the thickness of the strap plus the heavy duty buckle were more than enough for even the heaviest loads – at some point, you should probably question why you're packing so much anyway into a bag like this anyway.

Despite limited protection in the front and back pockets, the inner compartments have plenty of padding and to no surprise, there was plenty of available space. I was able to fit a 15.6" laptop and the entire CM Storm Pulse-R box inside, securely close the bag, and carry it comfortably. I must commend ROCCAT here for the ingenious "XXL Velcro Strip Closing System." Call it longwinded if you will, but it's surprising that other companies haven't implemented such as simple yet easy-to-use solution on their bags. Normally, I don't place photos on the testing page, but this is definitely a sight to see.

"Gaming-oriented" products have always been a touchy subject – many times, it's difficult to determine whether there is real substance hiding behind the term. Thankfully, ROCCAT has indeed paid great attention to details here with the ROCCAT Into Street-Proof Messenger Bag.

The bag features a slick design in addition to nice build quality derived from its tear-resistant Cordura nylon and polyester fabric. This continues on to the strap where thick stitching, 45-degree connection points, and an oversized buckle help to greatly strengthen the stress points on the bag. The massive shoulder pad also goes a long way to ensure a comfortable carrying experience, despite us wanting more physical padding.

When ti comes to pocket space, the ROCCAT Into provides ample room to store your laptop, accessories, and other electronics. The main compartments are nicely padded and despite the open top design, should provide enough protection in day-to-day use – just make sure you don't run through the rain or dusty environments too much.

What minor quibbles we see with the ROCCAT Into are greatly offset by its nice build quality. Everything is stitched well, the space is there, and the bag is generally comfortable to use. Currently, the ROCCAT Into retails for $79.99, which places it slightly higher than similarly-sized competitor bags such as those by Targus. If the Into was $20 or so cheaper, then pricing would have been perfect. Despite that, I would still recommend the ROCCAT Into Street-Proof Messenger Bag for those looking for a durable bag to carry all of your books and gadgets.

»Neoseeker.com

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