One of the downsides to the messenger bag is that you can't over load it with too much stuff like you can with a backpack. There is just enough roon in the main area for the laptop and a few file folders or at least a few CD.
There is a small area in the back for personal items, thin note books, work folder, or a monkeys that screams.
I was able to stuff my laptop into the case with no problems. It is a snug fit and the padding covers all of the laptop. The fit keeps the laptop from shifting around while you are on the move. With the cover not over the top, you can see that there is a small front pocket as well. Inside is a removable key ring and a small area for some personal things like pens and a check book.
The padding around the laptop is ribbed and flexable. This makes the padding feel thin compared to the Targus, but both are the same size.
Kate, my other half, always used it when should could as well. Her only gripe about the bag is the lack of a breafcase handle. I did run into a few times when that would have been handy as well, like taking off the sholder to place in the car. It would give the owner a better grip on the bag.
Overall the Alienware Odyssey messenger bag has been nice to have around. It also stands up on its own better when not in use or doesn't have a laptop inside of it. The biggest thing that would have been nice was a briefcase handle or a small strap. When using it to lug a laptop to my job, it fit under my desk without having to make sure all of the zippers were pulled closed. The construction of the messenger bag is top quality.
Thanks to Mobile Edge for sending this out for a couple of months for me to try!