For the past couple years I've been using a Targus (I think the model 300 right now) and they've been functional if uninspiring. As I'm sure many of you do, the laptop bag serves as more than just something to carry a laptop, being a combination tool bag and briefcase as needed. I typically carry a power cord, usb cable to charge phone/headset, extra pen, business cards, small audio earphones for plane trips, plus my notepad and pen, plus at least a book and a magazine for any time I'm waiting on someone or something.
The Targus bags I've had have worked, but seem to show wear quickly and the shoulder straps seem to be poorly designed, wanting to constantly twist and no stay shouldered. As for the wear, I don't baby the bags, they get pushed into overhead bins, stuffed under airline seats, thrown (gently) behind the seat in the car/truck, etc. My current one is due for replacement for two reasons; one is it's starting to look kinda ratty, not the impression you want to make on clients, and two, I enjoy good tools and this just doesn't quite fit the definition (though maybe it's just a style thing!).
For years before that I used a Dell bag that was leather and it held up well, only downside was that it was a little extra bulky. This time, looking for solid and something a bit different. I've perused Amazon and ebags.com, looked at the Compusa selection, and even stopped in at Travel Country Outdoors. Interesting candidates so far:
Have to say I'm partial to the Maxpedition bag, industrial strength construction though I wish for less velcro, with the Eagle Creek bag a close second. I think only the Skooba bag meets the TSA requirements for getting through security without taking the laptop out of the bag. A definite plus, but not a deal breaker. Shoes that I didn't have to take off, that would be nice! Prices on these range from $75 to $200, compared to an average of $30-$50 for the run of the mill bags at Compusa that are functional. Current bags are good for about 2 years or so, so on pure price I don't see that I can justify it, I doubt even the best bag lasts 8 years! Still, I need to replace the current bag, so I'll spend a few minutes thinking about it just because I hate throwaways.
While I'm shopping thought I'd ask - what's been a good bag for you and why? Is there one feature you have to have? Wish it was smaller and lighter, or bigger so that it could double as a 1-2 day carry on bag? Found other good sites for browsing the options?