Modern Traveller had wheely good fun reviewing Samsonite’s stylish suitcase on the way to a summer ball. Click here to buy the Samsonite X’Blade 3.0 from Amazon.
WORDS & PICTURES BY CHRIS ROWLANDS
When is a suitcase not a suitcase? When it’s a stylish gliding friend that’s happy to hold your suits, shirts and shoes as you stroll purposefully through the throngs, looking every bit the bona fide businessman – or properly prepared party-goer.
Such is the case (pardon the pun), with Samsonite’s X’Blade 3.0 Spinner. Quite why it’s named like a weapon from a crossover of The Matrix and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, we’re not sure – but, if you’re looking for easy-rolling, lightweight luggage that will keep your smartest gear in good order, it’s tough to do better.
Ours was the 63cm, expandable model, which delivered surprises in duplicate: not only is the internal space usefully uninhibited, but, despite its relative compactness, there’s a whole heap of space within the X’Blade’s synthetic exterior.
The only downside? A tendency to topple, just a little, when fully expanded. Some quick contents adjustment – to put the heavier bits at the base – saw this sorted with ease, but it’s something to bear in mind.
Besides the expanded instability, this is a bag that’s a product of logic. Without sacrificing the core component of a good case – space – Samsonite has managed to manufacture a mobile home for your dress wardrobe that’s actually useful.
Take the included suit bag: it folds into three, fitting perfectly lengthways within the 3.0, keeping jackets creaseless and compact. It’ll take two suits at a push – so not one for a weeks-long conference – but that’s fine for a week of business, or a three-day party spree.
There’s also a handy drawstring shoe bag for your boots, and a zip pocket in the main compartment which we found nifty for cufflinks, ties and jewellery.
So far, so straightforward. Then come the shirts: here, the X’Blade 3.0 enters its own, with adjustable elastic straps (or “ribbons”) safely securing our collared items, without crumpling. For smaller stacks, there are narrower hooks to keep things tight, whilst button-loving travellers can use the full length. When you’re packing, they hook handily to the side, out of the way even for the clumsy.
A little bit of smart sorting will see several shirts, two suits, two pairs of shoes and a belt fit easily within the main compartment – without much squashing.
What of trousers and toiletries? Here one looks to the lid, where you’ll find further straps to secure your bottoms behind a zipped flap. That same flap is also home to what Samsonite calls a “wet pocket”: a sealed, translucent space for items prone to leaking (meaning no more shampoo on your shirts).
Admittedly, the waterproof pouch can only really carry travel-sized bottles without straining, whilst using the top compartment for trousers does cause the bag to bulk a bit. All the same, we’ve seen few cases that are so easy to access and keep in order without packing cubes.
As for the outer spaces, there’s a shallow, top-loading area that’s perfect for tickets, maps and passports – or anything else you might quickly need to hand. The only addition we’d have liked to see is a key loop, to keep your fob from getting buried.
There’s also a large front panel pocket – ideal for things like towels – which comes complete with a small inner slot for a tablet. This is a welcome feature, though it does put your touchscreen friend at the outer face of the bag, leaving it at risk of damage from bumps and bends – especially if you put a full case in the luggage hold.
For the security conscious, Samsonite has built in a wire loop combination lock to the X’Blade itself: simply thread the cable through the zips, lock the main zippers in and set your code – and say goodbye to lost key nightmares. We didn’t test this to destruction, but the locking mechanism certainly seemed strong enough to deter casual thieves.
As for about-town usability, we wheeled the case a good two miles from the station to our city centre hotel, over cobbles, kerbs and crests, and found its wheels – despite their dinky form factor – to be sufficiently sturdy. The double tube handle was also reassuringly firm, with little play, even at full extension.
At times, it was preferable to move the X’Blade on just two wheels, particularly where the ground was unsteady; that said, as a four-wheel trolley it coped admirably on bumpy pavements. A relatively strong arm might be needed, but the 3.0 was comfortable to move in either fashion.
Reinforced outer edges and stress points – subtly wrapped in rubber or plastic – give the bag a toughness belied by its understated appearance, whilst its nylon and polyester skin does a good job hiding of the usual usage marks.
We stuck the Samsonite into a train luggage rack and, even after a journey with other bags squeezed atop and around it, the contents came out as orderly and uncreased as when we packed them – and the case without a mark (bar some mud on its dollies).
It might lack the space for tech that some crave, but, for those after a crafty compartment in which to carry their dress-to-impress items with ease, this is the suitcase to shell out on.
- Stacks of space, smartly organised
- Subtly stylish and tough to boot
- Easy to wheel across (almost) all terrains
- Weighs a meagre 2.6kg
- A little front-heavy at full load
- No key loop in top pocket
- Too many zips for the easily confused
- Tablet sleeve leaves tech exposed
Subtle, smooth and oh-so-spacious, Samsonite’s X’Blade 3.0 is the smart way to carry your dress-up essentials.