Targus CityLite Pro Compact Convertible Backpack review

REVIEW – Continuing in the trend of “commuter packs that can hold any screen, so long as it’s skinny”, we’ve got a new contender from an old friend. Add to the required main large, narrow screen sleeve a flexible set of pockets and versatile straps, and you’ve got a winner. This one is from Targus, one of the oldest laptop case makers I’m aware of. Presenting their CityLite Backpack.

What is it?

Streamlined on-the-go style, laptop protection, and backpack-to-briefcase carrying for wherever your day may take you. That’s the website’s tagline, and it fits. You can carry this as a tote, a briefcase, a sling or wear it as a backpack. Let’s dig in.

What’s in the box?

Just the bag.

Hardware specs

  • Works With 16″ Laptops and Under
  • Capacity – 13 Liters
  • Weight – 1.94 lbs
  • Dimensions – 12.60″ x 17.31″ x 4.32″ (W x H x D)
  • Laptop Compartment – 9.84″ x 13.78″ (W x H)
  • Tablet Compartment10.50″ x 11.50″ (W x H)
  • WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty
  • Multi-fit cradle fits 12” – 15.6” laptops
  • Tablet pocket fits up to 12.9″ devices
  • Tuck-away shoulder straps to convert backpack to briefcase
  • Contoured, padded shoulder straps & air mesh pack panel for comfort
  • Hideaway bottle pocket
  • Interior file divider and two zippered compartments
  • Trolley pass-through luggage strap
  • Metal hardware with soft-touch zipper pulls

Design and features

The CityLight is a minimal pack with maximal yearnings. There’s only a sleeve back pocket, a central pocket that zips around 70% of the opening with a dual zipper plus a slender front pocket, but you can carry it any way you want.
The outer shell is a grey ripstop nylon, but the texture is almost a linen feel. It’s a much thicker fabric than a parka or sleeping bag ripstop. Across the bottom of the front, there’s a darker coloring, which looks like some protectant has been applied. There is no seam, and it doesn’t feel different, but the fabric is many shades darker.


The outermost pocket is a generous size, and there’s enough dimension to put in things like a power supply, gloves, or all the stuff from your pants pockets when you’re going through security.
The center section is very accessible and has sides all around like a packing cube. There’s a slash pocket across the back that could hold a magazine or some files. It’s not too tight, as these things tend to be. The cover that zips out of the way has a net pocket with a zipper that could hold cables, wallet, or an iPad mini in a case. Behind that is a larger zipper pocket that goes all the way down to the fold (where the outside zipper stops).


The rear pocket has a three-part sleeve divider that is trimmed across the top in royal blue elastic. The two outer pieces are double thicknesses of the inner material. The center section is a very soft stretch material. A 1.5” webbing security strap extends from the top center and attaches to the divider’s center with a generous patch of hook-and-loop fabric. In front of this is another thin area that would hold a tablet, a portable keyboard, or a sheaf of papers. It’s not thick enough for, say, an umbrella or clothing.

Performance

The flexible nature of the CityLite lends itself well to shifting between a backpack, a sling, a tote, or a briefcase. The straps disconnect individually from the lower corners and can be stored in a panel behind the vented mesh back. For a sling, just connect one of the straps to the lower corner opposite. The briefcase handle, opposite the net water bottle pocket on the right side, as you wear it, pulls out a bit, and has mesh padding underneath, while being stitched and attached flexibly at each end. This makes the load bounce a bit, which makes things seem lighter. The haul loop, which offers tote-bag style carrying is probably the least comfortable of the four carry methods. The handle is 1″ webbing with no padding and no give.

What I like

  • Generous cradle holds everything from gamer laptops to iPads
  • Laptop and tablet space available
  • Straps can be used in several ways
  • Flexible hidden net pocket for a drink bottle, small items, phones, etc.

What needs to be improved

  • Front pocket is kinda small, for those wanting longer days.

Final thoughts

I’ve used Targus cases off and on for decades. Their guarantee and customer service is first class. (I’ve had 3-year-old bags be replaced for no charge for customers.) This kind of support over the long haul is rare among bag manufacturers

Price: $74.99
Where to buy: Targus and Amazon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Targus. You can visit them on Facebook and Twitter too.

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