Smooth-riding Hinomoto wheels
Convenient zippered front compartment
No side handle
Carbon fiber is print only
Main compartment is key lock only
There’s an army of luxurious options for rolling suitcases out there. Once you’ve stared at them all for hours on end in airports and hotels, as we have, you start to recognize what bits of them are actually essential and what you could easily dispense with. The Enkloze X1 Carbon Carry-On Spinner was designed by ex-consultants who traveled a lot—but it was for work and not for fun. Through their designs, they hoped to inject some of the missing joy back into travel for the road-weary and travel-worn. We gave the hardshell carry-on a spin to judge its convenience, strength, and portability.
Design: Glossy and detailed
As we opened the box, our first thought was to reflect on how nice it is when something you’ve ordered arrives nestled snugly in its own dust bag. Putting aside the irony of providing a dust bag for something you’re going to toss recklessly about hotels, taxis, and tarmacs, at first box-opening, the downy white bag definitely gave us a luxurious first impression. When we peeled back the dust bag, the suitcase itself made just as big of an impact.
Made of polycarbonate, the X1 has a high-gloss surface finish, a high-contrast metallic gray and black pattern (in the Carbon Black colorway we chose), and a host of rather conspicuous aluminum design details. The overall effect is somehow simultaneously industrial and flashy. It doesn’t come with embedded LEDs or neon graffiti, but if you check this—not that you will have to—you should have no problems picking it out of a luggage carousel lineup. It’s also available in white and blue, but we wish there were more matte options.
Our favorite feature of the Enkloze X1 is the zippered front-loading compartment, which kept our travel necessities conveniently at hand.
Our favorite feature of the Enkloze X1 is the zippered front-loading compartment, which kept our travel necessities conveniently at hand. Enkloze was founded with the business traveler in mind, and that’s evident by the assortment of dedicated storage pockets in this compartment alone. We noticed pen loops, business or credit cards slots, a mobile phone pocket (which is unfortunately too shallow for very large phones), room for a tablet, and a lightly padded laptop pocket that accommodates computers up to 15.6 inches. A separate keyless combo lock secures the compartment and has a TSA-accepted keyed entry for easy access during security checks.
The main body of the suitcase can be locked by key (and by key only), and there are two included with the X1. This main lock is also accessible by the TSA, so we weren’t worried that our case would be crowbarred open during an inspection. We honestly aren’t sure which we prefer between padlocked and keyed entries—we feel we are as likely to lose a miniature key as to forget a combination—but we appreciated that we could entrust a spare key with someone more responsible than ourselves.
Capacity: Small but manageable
Inside the case feels spacious but well-divided, with x-bands to secure both halves of the shell and two removable mesh pocket panels to keep your belongs tidy and in place. If you’re an over-packer, though, take note: The wall between the outer zippered compartment and the inner is just fabric, so cramming in too many sweaters will encroach on the space for your computer and business cards.
If you are going to be traveling for more than five days or if you tend to accumulate things when you travel, you may have to either get creative or size up.
We packed the X1 with two pairs of shoes, two pairs of pants, two dresses, four shirts, a sweater, underwear, and a small dopp kit, and it was pretty stuffed. Adding the laptop was even more of a stretch. If you are going to be traveling for more than five days or if you tend to accumulate things when you travel, you may have to either get creative or size up.
Portability: Easy going
With external measurements of 21.3 x 14.6 x 9.4 inches, the X1 toes the line of the acceptable carry-on size for most airlines without crossing it. You shouldn’t have any trouble getting it past the checkout counter, but there are a couple of airlines that may make you check it at the gate if they decide to split hairs. For instance, United Airlines and Delta both require bags to be under 22 x 14 x 9 inches (including the handle), but chances are good nobody is going to give you trouble for those little half inches you’re over. And if they do, at least you get to witness your luggage boarding the same plane you do—no tearful goodbyes necessary.
You shouldn’t have any trouble getting it past the checkout counter, but there are a couple of airlines that may make you check it at the gate if they decide to split hairs.
As for ease of mobility, the X1 features four Hinomoto wheels, which are basically the gold standard in spinner suitcase country. Most suitcases we reviewed had dual wheels (two at each corner) while the X1 has single. This may affect its durability in the long run, but the X1’s single wheels ran so fast, we felt like we were making a thoroughbred walk. Rolling the X1 through public spaces is more akin to dancing than hauling.
The three-stage telescoping aluminum handle feels a bit wobbly during use, but the adjustable height is nice, and we had no actual issues during our review process. There’s a carry handle on the top of the case, but we wished they had included one on the side as well. This would have made carrying up the stairs and pushing into overhead containers easier.
The X1’s single wheels ran so fast, we felt like we were making a thoroughbred walk.
Durability: Polycarbonate, not carbon fiber
The X1’s most immediately obvious external feature is the carbon fiber print on the body of the case. We wouldn’t recommend attempting to stop actual bullets with this suitcase, however. That invulnerable carbon fiber is really just an eye-catching pattern—a detail that Enkloze is not terribly forthcoming about. What is highlighted on the website, on the box, on the hangtag, and in the included literature, is that the X1 body is made of polycarbonate with an aluminum frame that is shock- and heat-resistant.
Polycarbonate is a tough yet lightweight, transparent resin with an impact resistance higher than most plastics. It’s the stuff you’d make shatterproof windows and football helmets from. It’s pretty much the stuff you’d want your suitcase made from, but it’s not the stuff that’s pictured on the body of the Enkloze X1.
Actual carbon fiber luggage tends to be shockingly expensive, and, well, probably unnecessary. We think the Enkloze X1 is durable enough for casual-to-frequent use, but just be aware that the product’s name and pattern could mislead customers to think that it’s actually made with carbon fiber material.
Price: Spendy but nice
The Enkloze X1 retails for $299-$399, which feels a bit high for a new kid on the block, but we think it’s justifiable for this many features and this much flash. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into the design, so if you’re looking for a high-impact investment that’s a step below designer, then we can recommend the X1.
Competition: Real carbon fiber is $$$$
If you’re in the market for a real carbon fiber suitcase, then be prepared to pay for it. Tumi’s Eastwood International Expandable Carry-On is manufactured in high-strength, low-stretch carbon fiber and packed with luxurious features like hanger brackets and leather handles. It looks sleek and substantial, but coming in at five to seven times the cost of the Enkloze X1, and, surprisingly, 5 pounds heavier, one may question why real carbon fiber luggage is so coveted.
At a much more reasonable price point, the Delsey AERO 19” International Carry-On has a similar zippered front laptop compartment and interior features. As a bonus, you also have the option to expand the case, should unplanned retail therapy occur while traveling.
- Product Name X1 Carbon Carry-On Spinner
- Product Brand Enkloze
- MPN E6203-50
- Price $399
- Weight 8.16 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 21.3 x 14.6 x 9.4 in.
- Color Carbon black, blue, white
- Material Polycarbonate body, aluminum frame
- Capacity 38 L
- Warranty Limited 5 years