Disclosure: My friend and colleague, Erik Deckers, asked me if I would review the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2. I agreed; TravelPro sent me a review unit, but provided no other compensation.
The TravelPro Platinum Magna 2 is a 21-inch roller bag with four wheels on the bottom, the usual standard features including multiple pockets, a laptop compartment, and compression straps/pockets. Here’s how it looks compared to the Osprey Meridian:
The laptop/electronics compartment:
The compression straps:
TravelPro claims that its magnetically aligned wheels make for the smoothest experience when moving the suitcase around. More on this in a minute.
The TravelPro Platinum Magna 2 is also an inch shorter than other 22” suitcases. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the days of cramped overhead compartments in airplanes. Diagonally, I can still fit a 21″ monopod inside it:
By far, the most notable feature for me as a frequent traveler was not the magnetically aligned wheels, but the unit’s balance. This is by far the most easily balanced suitcase I have ever used. I mounted my briefcase (not included with suitcase) out of it and with one hand usually push the entire unit around:
Even with a substantial amount of wiring and electronics, the unit remained balanced, never falling over. Open the briefcase and it still doesn’t fall over:
If all you do is throw a suitcase in the trunk of a car and don’t walk more than a few feet with it, balance is largely meaningless. However, if you walk for any distance with the suitcase, the balance means that you’ll spend far less effort moving the suitcase from place to place. It’s nearly effortless to push around on hard floors, and the handle is shaped nicely for pushing, rather than pulling. I walked a couple of miles with this suitcase in recent trips to Montreal and Toronto, and felt the difference compared to lugging a suitcase behind me.
Areas for Improvement
TravelPro’s claims about its magnetic alignment being the smoothest experience only hold true on hard surfaces; when on a grooved or carpeted surface, the wheels are no better or worse than any other suitcase. A few times, it went in unpredictable directions on carpet, especially. The wheels also could be larger or shaped differently; rolling over gaps in pavement and sidewalks can sometimes snag a wheel and knock the whole thing over.
The other major area of improvement are the compression straps. They are useless if you have less than half a suitcase of clothing:
TravelPro would do well to copy the compression straps in other popular brands of suitcases, allowing you to cinch down fully on any amount of clothing. An external compression strap would also be useful if the suitcase is not full; the laptop compartment even when empty makes it protrude more than other luggage I own.
A Buy for Frequent Walking Travelers
If you’re a business traveler who walks on hard surfaces – airports, convention centers, hotels, etc. – then the TravelPro Platinum Magna 2 is a definite buy. Pushing this suitcase around feels effortless, and its balance means you can set up shop and work without removing your briefcase or satchel if it’s attached. You can purchase it at Amazon and other retailers. (affiliate link, of course)
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