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ECBC Dart Laptop Tote review and giveaway

There's nothing quite like the abrupt ending of a three- or four-day weekend to slap you back into reality, and that's what a lot of TUAW readers here in the US will experience this morning. One thing that might soften the blow of heading back to work would be a new laptop case courtesy of ECBC and TUAW. The case in question the new ECBC Dart Laptop Tote (US$79.99), a sleek and lightweight bag that's perfect for carrying your 11- or 13-inch MacBook Air or MacBook Pro in style, while leaving enough extra room for an iPad, a boarding pass, and your passport.

Design

If you read our earlier review of the ECBC Poseidon Messenger Bag, then you'll know that ECBC does a great job of designing and constructing top-notch computer bags. The Dart Laptop Tote is made at the same high quality level.

The body of the case is made of 840 denier HD ballistic nylon, while the bottom gets double the density with 1680 denier material. Inside, the Dart is lined with a soft and silky 210 denier double diamond ripstop. The Dart comes in two colors -- black and grey -- and the material is coated with water repellent to keep your stuff high and dry when it's raining outside.

The Dart is nice and small, not adding a lot of weight to your commute. It's just 14.75" x 11.1" x 3", and weighs a featherlight 1.52 pounds. Inside the Dart you'll find a lot of room, though. The main computer pocket is perfect for that 11-inch MacBook Air, but if you have a 13-in MBA or MBP, just pull out the modular insert that's Velcroed into the bottom of the pocket and you're set.

The other pocket is designed to hold your iPad, iPhone, a bunch of pens, and anything else you want to throw into it. All of the little items have their own pockets to go into, keeping your iPhone from getting scratched by your favorite pen.

On the back side of the case is a luggage trolley handle pass-through -- this means that when you've got a rollerbag that is carrying your clothes for that business trip, you can slide the Dart over the handle and have one less thing to weigh you down. That pass-through is padded; perfect, since it's the side that normally would press against your body if you're carrying the case with the padded shoulder strap. There's also padding on the handle if that's the way you roll.

There's one more pocket on the Dart in the front, designed for your boarding pass (provided you're still printing it out instead of using Passbook), passport, and any other travel papers you might need to carry.

Functionality

I am frankly surprised at how much I was able to cram into this bag without it bulging! For my tests, I filled it with a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, a third-generation iPad, a Quirky PowerCurl with the MacBook power cable wrapped around it, an AC adapter and charging cable for the iPad, my iPhone, and some random papers that I pulled off of my desktop.

The shoulder strap is not only padded, but also has a grippy material on it so it won't slide off your shoulder. That's something that is frequently overlooked on other bags and another feature of ECBC's products that I love.

With its svelte lines, the Dart isn't a replacement for one of those big bags that can hold a change of clothes as well as your computer gear. But it's perfect for the person who just needs to carry a small laptop to and from work or on a business trip.

Conclusion

ECBC continues to make well-designed and sturdily built laptop bags, and the Dart Laptop Tote is perfect for the 11- or 13-inch MacBook Air or Pro owner who wants a lightweight bag.

Pros

  • Lightweight, yet sturdy
  • Water repellent exterior is perfect for rainy climes
  • Smooth interior material keeps your MacBook from being scratched
  • Well-padded
  • Perfect for accompanying a rolling carryon bag on a business trip

Cons

  • Not a TSA-compliant laptop bag, so you will need to put your laptop into a bin

Who is it for?

  • The owner of an 11- or 13-inch MacBook Air or Pro who wants a sturdy, well-padded, and lightweight bag for a daily commute or business travel.

Giveaway

One lucky TUAW reader is going to end up with a Dart Laptop Tote courtesy of ECBC. Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before May 31, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive an ECBC Dart Laptop Tote valued at US$79.99
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

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