PM: What makes something specifically a laptop bag?
S.D.: There’s no hard and fast definition of what makes something a laptop bag or not. Generally, any bag with a slim, padded pocket for a laptop counts as a “laptop bag,” but it might technically be a backpack, briefcase, carry-on bag, or messenger bag. A laptop bag isn’t any specific style; it’s just a catch-all term for any type of bag with a laptop-specific pocket.
PM: Is a padded laptop pocket the only feature that matters in a laptop bag?
S.D.: A padded pocket for a laptop is the defining feature of a laptop bag, but it might not be the only feature to consider for some buyers. Other useful features for travelers with laptops include smaller pockets to organize cords, chargers, and USB devices; straps or zippers to keep the laptop in place; smaller pockets for iPads or tablets; and power banks or external ports to charge your tech on the go.
PM: Do I need a laptop bag and a laptop sleeve?
S.D.: That’s up to you. Certainly, a separate laptop sleeve (a slim, padded case) combined with a padded laptop bag adds more protection than either one alone. But a laptop bag with a built-in padded sleeve is probably enough for the bumps and drops of average travel. And most laptop bags are meant to be used without a laptop sleeve, so it might be a tight squeeze to fit your laptop inside a laptop bag if it’s also inside a laptop sleeve. Laptop sleeves are useful if you need to carry your laptop in a bag that doesn’t have padding, but for most people, a laptop bag probably provides enough protection.