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Hard sides with a pocket

Terry Gardner, Special to Tribune Newspapers

8:27 PM EDT, July 2, 2013

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Name: Briggs & Riley Torq International Carry-On Spinner

What it is: The hard-sided carry-on features a Makrolon polycarbonate material designed to be lightweight but strong, with elasticity and durability. The bag features an innovative, lockable outside front hard pocket where travelers can store tablets or laptops as large as 15 inches. The Torq has a zippered clothing compartment in the lid, along with a zippered mesh compartment that's great for stowing electronic cables, chargers, dirty laundry, etc. A molded compression panel keeps clothing flat to reduce wrinkling. Recessed double spinner wheels provide 360-degree navigation so you easily can glide the bag facing forward through the airport or sideways down the plane aisle. Torq is available in graphite, blue and red, and comes with a lifetime guarantee. The bag weighs 8.9 pounds empty and measures 9.4 by 14.3 by 21.4 inches.

The good: This bag is my new romance. Every time I think I have asked it to hold too much, I am still able to use the compression panel and the amazing zippers to close it. Even if it's stuffed, I can still easily slide my MacBook Pro in the front pocket.

The bad: The exterior got a couple of scratches when I've had to gate check it to fly on a small regional jet, though other polycarbonate cases I have tried fared far worse.

Cost: $479

Available from: briggs-riley.com, ebags.com, luggagepros.com, among others.