The Timenoten backpack is a slim, hard case backpack that’s designed for the city. With successful funding in both Japan and South Korea, the backpack is now aiming to enter the Western markets with their Kickstarter.
I’ve been using the eBags Slim Professional for over two years now – I love it’s slim form factor, so it will be interesting to see how the much cheaper, a smaller, Timenoten compares to it.
One thing I want to cover straight of the bat is that the maximum laptop size the Timenoten laptop compartment fits is 14″ – the laptop compartment is actually slightly smaller than the bag itself. Whilst you can fit a 15″ laptop in the main compartment, it is quite a squeeze – something to consider if your laptop is 15″.
Now onto the bags main features – firstly, the bag features locking for the compartment, with two versions – one mechanical, and one bluetooth (I have the mechanical version). This is a TSA compliant combination lock – whilst it wouldn’t last long if left out in the open, it should prevent chance attempts to get into the bag on the tube or in a crowded area. Note that the combination lock is TSA compliant – this means that it can be picked, or someone who has a TSA key – which are easy to get – would be able to open it. This would be unlikely to happen on your commute however.
The bag features has a hard, EVA shell, making it quite rigid and water resistant. Whilst this does mean that the bag protects the contents a little more, it means it isn’t as flexible as cloth bags, and therefore may be more uncomfortable and less able to carry larger amounts of items.
I really like the interior of the Timenoten bag. It allows you to open the bag up fully to 180 degrees, or you can use straps to make it act more like a typical backpack. The bag comes with organisation items – a board that allows you to strap your chargers, cables, accessories and much more to allow them to be easily accessed. This board is detachable, making it easy to access your items, and can be strapped securely into the bag.
The bag also comes with a pouch that can be optionally strapped onto the shoulder straps, which has netting on the front and a storage compartment. Whilst this would be useful for items that you want to quickly access (seeing as the bag is locked, making it take longer to open the main compartment), it does look a little odd strapped onto the shoulder straps, and contrasts with the slim and minimalistic styling of the bag.
On the back of the bag there is the laptop compartment, with various pockets in front of it. The Timenoten backpack is full of pockets to store items, and is a brilliant aspect of the bag. You can fit a <14″ laptop, tablet, cables, pens, mouse and so much more into the bag. Note that there isn’t much large item space – a smaller bottle fits, but this isn’t the bag for carrying books around.
One issue I did find was that it sometimes got hard to manage the various items in the bag once compartments were full up – it was a bit of a hassle to remove the board, and items kept snagging on other items.
The shoulder straps feature hidden pockets, which is a nice touch to store your ID or cards if you don’t want to take a wallet around with you.
Speaking of the shoulder straps, they aren’t great. Whilst the rest of the bags build is decent, I feel like they really skimped on one of the most important aspects of the bag – where it rests against you. The straps are scratchy especially when wearing short sleeves, and the padding is incredibly thin – the bag wasn’t that comfortable over long periods of time. Luckily, since the bag is rigid, the minimal back padding isn’t really an issue, however some more would be nice, especially for those with longer commutes.
The quality of the bag various depending where you look at it – the main construction, the hard shell, feels good, as does the zip on it. However, inside the bag looks and feels a little cheaper – the zips feel cheaper, as do the materials used inside. The materials really vary in quality – some feel good, but some feel bad. It certainly doesn’t feel like a premium, high end bag however.
I really like the carry handle – it’s spring loaded, so is tight to the bag when not in use, but comes up when you hold onto it. This is a nice feature that keeps the bag nice and slim.
To conclude, the Timenoten is a decent backpack, with nice organisation features, let down by varying material quality and the inability to carry large, but essential items (such as water bottles). However, if you only need to carry tech, and have a small water bottle, the Timenoten backpack may interest you. It’s very thin, which is great on a commute, and the organisation is great (but can get a bit cramped when full). If they looked into improving the material quality, and the straps, the bag would have been much better overall.
The bag is currently available for funding on Kickstarter starting at $89.
If you want a more comfortable, and larger bag, I would recommend the eBags Slim Professional. It’s slightly more expensive, but it has been, and will continue to be, my daily driver for over two years. The quality is excellent, and it also features various organisation pockets.