This bag has a padded compartment, wide enough for my 17'' widescreen laptop. There is also ample of room for many other things. I was pleasantly surprised how large this bag is. There is a nice place for a water bottle on the inside, a generous main compartment, a large "smaller" compartment on the outside, and of course an open back panel that slides over my rolling luggage.
You can carry the bag via the handles, or the shoulder strap. I always use the shoulder strap, as the bag is quite large (there is a 17'' laptop inside!) Unlike many laptop bags aimed at the female population--this one zips shut. I have bought it for travel--airplane, metro, bus, etc. as well as everyday use--to and from class.