The Platinum Magna 2 is what I would consider an upgrade from the Maxlite 4 carry on model. This suitcase has some significant advantages over its younger brother and several features a frequent business flier might find useful. It’s not nearly as expensive as a Briggs & Riley, in fact it comes in at about half the cost, but is very comparable in terms of features. With this article I hope to answer some of the most common questions like:
My favorite part about this bag is it is really built for traveling with your professional clothing. Suits, dresses, pants, etc. all will pack neatly in the bag without getting wrinkled. It comes with a removable garment bag to pack all of these items in and has other specific pockets for organizing your delicate items.
If you’ve ever had to quickly change direction in the airport, whether for a quick coffee, or you realized you went the wrong way, you may have experienced the wheels getting hung up. What I mean by this is one or more of the wheels wasn’t facing the right direction and as you pulled, it drug across the floor, perpendicular to it.
MagnaTrac spinner wheels aim to fix this. With some super strong magnets built into the base, when one wheel turns, all other wheels turn too. This self-aligning feature is unique to TravelPro and helps you bag roll straight and true.
Don’t overlook the duraguard coating feature. When bad weather comes, and you know it will at some point, this coating really does help protect what’s inside. The duraguard coating is similar to what you might see with the water repellent spray you can apply to your shoes, or rain on a car after a fresh wax.
Water and other debris that would normally get absorbed by the fabric, instead, sits on top of it and rolls off. This a huge advantage, especially if your bag is sitting out on the conveyor belt and the rain is pouring down. You wouldn’t want to get your nice clothes soaked by rain would you?
With the MagnaTrac wheels you end up giving up some compartment space to house the magnets and wheel assembly. It’s not a significant difference, but you can notice it slightly compared to what you might normally pack in other carry ons. For me, it’s not that big of a deal, for others it might be. The same cage-design base used in the Platinum Magna 2, is also used in the Maxlite 4.
Whenever I write these reviews, I’m sure to take other opinions into account that I can find around the web. One of the most repetitive problems I’m seeing is people are complaining the zipper on the front pocket ends up getting ripped off. There are two main contributors to this problem I have found.
Considering this is a carry-on, most people aren’t checking this bag. Instead, I think a lot of the problem is stemming from user error.
Call me OCD, but whenever I’m placing my bag in the overhead compartment I always put it in wheel/bottom side-in, and the front pockets facing up. This way there’s a 0% chance a zipper is going to scrape the bottom of the compartment and get ripped off.
|Carry-On Bag||Brand and Model Name||Length x Width x Height||Number of Wheels||Expandable?||Main Material||Handle Positions||Removable Charger?||Includes Garment Bag / Suiter||Price|
|TravelPro Platinum MagnaTravelPro Platinum Magna 2 2||21" x 14" x 9"||8||Yes, up to 2"||Softsided - Ballistic Nylon||3||No||Yes||See Latest Price|
|TravelPro Crew 11||21" x 14" x 9"||8||Yes, minimally at bottom||Softsided- Ballistic Nylon||3||Yes||Yes||See Latest Price|
|TravelPro Maxlite TravelPro Maxlite 44||21.25" x 14.25" x 8"||2-4||Yes, up to 2"||Softsided - Polyester||2||No||No||See Latest Price|
|Tumi Alpha 2 Continental||22" x 16" x 9"||4||Yes, up to 2.5"||Softsided - FXT Ballistic Nylon||3||No||Yes||See Latest Price|
|Briggs & Riley Baseline Domestic||22" x 14" x 9"||2-8||Yes||Softsided - Ballistic Nylon||4||No||Yes||See Latest Price|
*Varies by model
Compared to the Crew 11, I’d say the Crew is the better deal personally. The only significant difference I’ve been able to identify between the two is the durability of the wheels. Look at the connection from the wheels to the rest of the bag on the Magna 2 and the connection on the Crew 11. You’ll see the connection on the Magna 2 is more pronounced and thus probably stronger.
You may be losing some expandable space with the Crew 11, but that may not be a big deal for most. With the Crew 11 you’re getting a removable USB power pack that you can use to charge your phone, an essentially identical garment bag, and similar packing space for about $75 less.
The Maxlite 4 (read the review) is an entry level model in my opinion. It’s for someone just getting started in their travels or need a good bag for the occasional vacation. That doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means, in fact I think it’s a very well-made bag. However, there’s certain features business travelers will want over the average vacationer – these specific features are on the Platinum Magna 2. Things like the added garment bag, additional compression straps and more pockets for better organization just to name a few.
If you’d like to see a durability test on the Maxlite 4 – check that out here.
The Platinum Magna is the affordable alternative to the Tumi Alpha 2 (and also the Briggs and Riley below) in my book. Lots of similar features, but the TravelPro comes in at half the price. The biggest difference is TUMI uses its own ballistic nylon formula they’ve dubbed “FXT Ballistic Nylon,” which is supposed to be more durable and less prone to abrasions. I’m hoping to test that soon.
Again, as mentioned above, the Platinum Magna is an affordable alternative to most of the Briggs & Riley models. What differs the Briggs & Riley model is its fiberglass frame, compression system, and warranty. As I’ve mentioned numerous times in other articles, their warranty is tough to beat. What it boils down to is, “if it’s broke, we’ll fix it. If we can’t fix it, we’ll replace… no matter what, forever.” The fiberglass frame makes it durable and lightweight and the compression system allows you to pack, then compress after everything’s tucked away.
Are there better options available – yes there are, but that doesn’t make this a bad option at all. The Crew 11 is a better deal in my opinion, but that has more to do with the fact you get a few more benefits and it’s about $75 cheaper. Regardless, this bag is a great option if you’re traveling for business and looking for an upgrade from your entry level model.
It’s half the cost of a TUMI or Briggs & Riley with many of the same notable features. Some might argue the wheels are a gimmick, but the less the wheels are drug across the ground without rolling, the longer they’re going to last. Check out the link below to see the latest price and then you can make a more accurate decision on what bag you think is best.
Also published on Medium.