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MEGATech Reviews: SLAPPA KIKEN Laptop Shoulder Bag
Pros
  • Surprisingly spacious
  • Loads of organization
  • High-contrast red interior
Cons
  • Not the cheapest option
  • Leather RICCO flap looks tacky
  • Lack of padding on shoulder strap
7.5Overall Score

Many people might view laptop bags as a rather boring proposition. All you need is something to carry around your notebook in a suitable and reasonably functional manner. This does not mean, however, that your bag must be completely devoid of personality if you want it to be useful too. The perfect example of blending utility with pizzazz is the SLAPPA KIKEN laptop shoulder bag, which is available in your choice of multiple, swappable front covers to suit your mood and requirements.

Slappa Da Flap Flap Flap

MEGATech Reviews: SLAPPA KIKEN Laptop Shoulder Bag

The biggest feature that will separate the SLAPPA KIKEN from other otherwise similar messenger style bags for laptops is the ability to swap the front flap. It hooks on with just a regular zipper, so it only takes a few seconds to switch from one front flap to another. The rest of the bag can remain the same with all your gear. Shown above is the KIKEN with the Jedi Mind Trix cover.

The series of interwoven straps, along with the two vertical straps with Velcro, make it possible for you to attach certain accessories and other small items. I squeezed the Flexi-Pod for the Polaroid Cube+ on there, for example. This is more of a fun or even “youthful” approach to the look for this laptop bag.

MEGATech Reviews: SLAPPA KIKEN Laptop Shoulder Bag

Originally, I thought the brown leather of the KIKEN RICCO (it also comes in black) would class things up. It doesn’t. It just looks tacky when the rest of the bag is still the same 1680 D ballistic nylon in black. It looks completely out of place. If you want a more professional appearance, the full “vegan” leather of something like the Mobile Edge Tech Brief might be more appropriate.

Separating Your Space

MEGATech Reviews: SLAPPA KIKEN Laptop Shoulder Bag

In terms of the actual bag itself, I wasn’t all that impressed at first. I thought it was basically another bag. Then, I used it for a recent press event in Napa, California. I stayed two nights and had no other bags with me other than the SLAPPA KIKEN. I needed room not only for my laptop, camera, chargers, power bricks, and accessories, but also for my clothes and personal items.

Functionally, this is where SLAPPA won me over. The bag is essentially separated into two main compartments. Unlike most other laptop bags, the front compartment on the KIKEN can open up completely. This is huge, because you no longer have to suffer from the inevitable problem of all your gear sliding to the bottom. You can pack this front compartment like how you would a piece of luggage. There are still Velcro flaps on the side if you want the standard V-shaped opening too.

The high contrast red interior is better than the standard black too, as it makes it a lot easier to find your regular black-colored items. I like that. I also like how the interior flap of the front section has your usual organization, including a full-size zippered compartment, a flapped pocket, and the usual spots for pens. In this front section, I was able to fit my camera, all my clothes, most of my chargers and more.

Pockets, Compartments and Organization

MEGATech Reviews: SLAPPA KIKEN Laptop Shoulder Bag

The organizational features of the SLAPPA KIKEN continue through to the outside of the bag. The front section contains a total of three zippered pockets. One runs the full width of the bag along the bottom, making it perfect for laptop power bricks. Then, there are two rectangular pockets above that. I was able to fit my Ziploc bag of toiletries into one of these for ease of access as I went through airport security.

Either end of the bag also contains a smaller zippered pocket where each interior section has a small pocket. Presumably, this is for smaller items like memory cards or spare batteries. I would have liked if at least one of these was designed to hold a bottle of water, which is a feature more commonly found on backpack-style bags. The red interior motif carries through for all these pockets as well.

MEGATech Reviews: SLAPPA KIKEN Laptop Shoulder Bag

The rear compartment can also open up completely flat. The idea is that you can then pass through airport security without having to remove your laptop from the flapped portion on the back, but this can be hit or miss depending on the staff on hand. My 13-inch Fujitsu Ultrabook was a surprisingly snug fit in the pocket designed for 15.4-inch laptops (there’s also an 18-inch version).

I was able to access it without a problem, but I had expected that pocket to be much roomier. There’s a zippered pocket along the full length of the opposite side too. This can be good for documents and such; I used it for my Kindle and my spare phone. All in all, the compartment and pocket design of the SLAPPA KIKEN is incredibly versatile and remarkably functional.

Something that I mentioned in my review of the Case Logic Griffith Park backpack was that it had enough “depth” to accommodate my camera so easily. However, it would’ve been much more difficult to travel for two days with that bag alone. The layout and design of the KIKEN is much more accommodating and spacious by comparison.

The Issue of Comfort

MEGATech Reviews: SLAPPA KIKEN Laptop Shoulder Bag

As functional as this bag may be, as much personality as it might be able to express through its swappable front flaps, none of that matters too much if it’s too much of a burden to actually use in the real world. You can carry the KIKEN around one of two ways. There’s a built in handle with rather substantial soft padding, enabling you to hold it like a typical briefcase.

Alternatively, you can attach the provided shoulder strap so you can use the KIKEN as the laptop shoulder bag it was intended to be. And that’s where I ran into a bit of an issue. The SLAPPA KIKEN is not exactly the lightest bag out there, since it does boast some rather substantial materials. When coupled with the relative lack of padding on the shoulder strap (and loading up the bag for a 2-day trip), this resulted in an uncomfortable experience after only walking across the airport to my gate.

The strap itself does not need to have a lot of padding, of course, but the sliding portion that actually makes contact with your shoulder should get beefed up. I experienced the discomfort both when I had the bag straight up and down on one side, just as much as I did when I slung it across my body to the opposite shoulder.

MEGATechie Traveling World Warrior or MEGATechie Shouldering the Burden?

MEGATech Reviews: SLAPPA KIKEN Laptop Shoulder Bag

I may not be a fan of the leather RICCO flap for this bag, but the Jedi Mind Trix flap does the job without looking too tacky. Realistically, these front flaps are much more about fashion than function. The two-pocket flap is more functional, but my personal taste says it’s less fashionable. C’est la vie.

For upcoming business trips where I need to haul my gear and my personal items and I don’t want to carry more than one bag, the KIKEN could be the ticket. It’s perfectly functional and the front section really does work like a mini luggage for practical purposes. All I need to do is hook on a better shoulder strap and lighten the load. The other issue is the cost.

The SLAPPA KIKEN laptop travel shoulder bag has an MSRP of about $176, though the actual price is around $140 to $150 depending on the front flap and size (15.4″ vs. 18″) that you choose. Considering the choice of materials, the quality of the stitching, and so on, I’m not sure I’d pay that much for this bag. Then again, how much is the enhanced functionality and convenience worth to you?

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