Associate Editor Michelle Schusterman puts her “cheap” new laptop bag to the test.

I bought my last bag in Salvador in the summer of 2007. It served as both my laptop case and book bag as I taught English in Brazil, kindergarten in Korea, and started a freelance writing career that saw many, many cafes. Last month, after a walk home during which I left a trail of nickels and batteries that would make Hansel proud, I decided it was time for a new bag.

The problem: I’m fairly abusive to my laptop bags, so I wanted one that would last. But I’m also cheap.

So I got on Amazon and searched for laptop bags by price. What I came up with was the Built Laptop Portfolio Case – with tax and Amazon’s free shipping, my total came to $24.95.

First impression out of the box? “This is the tackiest shade of green I’ve ever seen.” And please know I mean that in a good way – I’m not a basic black bag kind of person. (But if you are, the bag comes in black or brown for the same price.)

My Macbook fit very snugly inside, and even my bulky cord didn’t bulge out the front too much. There’s no zippers or pockets inside, and the front has one large pocket with snaps on either side. The strap is adjustable, so this can work as a messenger bag (which is how I prefer it).

The material is neoprene, like wetsuits – kind of spongy feeling. A few days ago it was at my feet along with a water bottle, which spilled and soaked the outside of my case. When I finally noticed a few minutes later and pulled my laptop out, the inside was completely dry. Since then I’ve traipsed around at festivals in the rain with my bag loaded down with notebooks, cameras and pita sandwiches. No water damage has been done.

This wasn’t a freebie product I was given to review; I bought it and I’m writing this review because I know finding a good laptop case for under $25 is tough. This one is light and sleek, and holds 13 and 15″ Macbooks and 14″ PCs. If you give it a shot, let me know what you think in the comments!