You may not have heard of the Mancro brand — but thousands of pretty darn happy customers on Amazon have, and we wanted to find out why. When we pitted this against other laptop backpacks in its price range, the answer was clear: You won’t find a comfortable waterproof laptop bag with as many organizational compartments, as much overall space, a USB charging port, and a sturdy, stylish, lean design at this price anywhere else.
Let’s start by talking pockets. (How much time do you have?) The Mancro has a spacious main pocket with a separate protective sleeve for your laptop or tablet and a Velcro strap to keep it in place; an external zippered section; and a small zippered pouch on the front of the bag that’s convenient for storing your passport, keys, or any other item you might want to access quickly. It also features two side pockets for small water bottles, snacks, or whatever else you’d like to keep separate from the main compartments. And with a total of nine inner pockets of varied sizes — no more pens, Chapstick, or loose change strewn about at the bottom of your bag — this bag moves you one small step closer to getting your life in order. (Or at least getting your belongings in order before you head out the door.)
While its built-in USB port and cord are USB 2.0, meaning it doesn’t support super-fast charging, at this price point we’d have to be pretty bratty to complain about that. If you’re out of the house for most of the day and forget to charge your phone before traveling from point A to point B, this thing makes it easy; just make sure to have a portable battery pack on hand.
As for durability, plenty of customer reviews have attested to its ability to last through the school year or longer. Others, however, note things like a zipper breaking or the top handle fraying within several months of use. It should be noted, though, that the bag also comes with a lifetime warranty, and a handful of reviewers mention the company sending a replacement swiftly. For its price, we think that’s a pretty sweet deal.
And let’s not fail to address the elephant in the room: If you’re familiar with Fakespot, a site that analyzes Amazon (and Yelp) reviews to determine if they’re legit and if negative reviews have been scrapped, you’ll find that this product doesn’t exactly pass with flying colors — if at all. Some colorways get a C or a D, and one even gets an F. That doesn’t mean it’s a crappy bag; it just means its company isn’t very smart about letting the product’s positive reviews speak for themselves. It’s also manufactured in China, and some of the description copy seems to have been translated improperly. All this led to our initial skepticism that the Mancro backpack would be as good as its Amazon page lets on, but after our testers took a look at and wore it (filled to the brim with books, a computer, water bottles, and more), it was nearly a unanimous favorite in this price category. Its size, light weight, and easily adjustable, sufficiently padded straps make it a good choice for people of all builds, and it certainly looks more expensive than a bag with a $30 price tag.
If you’re on a budget and seeking a backpack with a clean, sophisticated aesthetic that will protect your electronics against the elements and satisfy all your organizational and device-charging needs, the Mancro laptop backpack is certainly a solid pick.