In this Gadling gear review, I’ll introduce yet another piece of impressive luggage. The Heys xCase hardcase is the world’s lightest rolling carry-on.
At just 5.1lbs (2.3kgs) it is seriously light. The case is (as the name implies) a hard shell, made of polycarbonate. Its shiny look is quite stunning, and the metallic finish very much resembles the kind of paint job you’d expect on a good looking sports car.
On the rear of the bag is a single metal retracting handle, with a 2-position lock. This makes it ideal for tall and short people, and the shortest position even makes it very usable for small kids (I tested mine with a 3 year old).
Because the handle is a single pole, its mechanism does not take up too much space inside the case. The handle feels sturdy, with very little sideways movement, even when the bag is fully loaded.
On the top of the bag is a carrying handle, but there is no handle on the sides, so be sure to pop it in the overhead lengthwise (its dimensions of 20″x14″x9″ make that possible on almost every overhead bin).
On the outside of the bag is also a combination zipper-lock with TSA unlocking option. The zipper pulls are quite large, and allow the bag to fully open vertically.
Roller skate style wheels are positioned on the outermost corner, which means they don’t take up any space on the inside of the case.
The inside of the case is quite spacious, the thin frameless polycarbonate means you don’t lose much room. On the top portion is a divider net and a single pocket for smaller items. On the bottom is a compression strap for larger garments. The top divider means you can pack the top and bottom portions of the bag, without having to juggle too much.
There is one major disadvantage to the finish on the bag – it scratches very easily. So easy in fact, that the lightest scrape will scratch the finish quite visibly. Heys warns for this in their literature, but is still a shame to see such a good looking case look scuffed after just one trip. A non-shiny version is available, which will probably help hide wear and tear a little better.
This is the first polycarbonate hardshell I’ve ever reviewed, and I actually like it more than I had thought. One disadvantage hardshell cases have over “regular” fabric cases is the loss of outside storage. Any time you need anything from the bag, you’ll need to fully unzip it. That said, the bag is great for kids (Heys also produces a full lineup of luggage just for kids). Still, despite these minor shortcomings, I’m very happy with the xCase – it seems very well built, and I’m a sucker for good looking luggage, especially as innovative as the xCase.
The Heys xCase costs $79.99 (MSRP) and can be found for as little as $56 from some retailers. The bag comes with a 7 year warranty.
In addition to the style I reviewed, Heys has a large lineup of similar bags, and with over 50 different colors and styles, there is bound to be something for everyone.