Rimowa's Topas aluminum cases are among the lightest and sturdiest cases in the world. The grooved aluminum-magnesium shells will protect against severe humidity and extreme temperature changes and stand up to the stresses of frequent travel. With first-class quality and fine interior details, Topas has everything required by the demanding traveler.
PROS: This is a very sturdy and yet lightweight suitcase. If my research is correct it is one of, if not the, best volume to weight ratios in four wheel suitcases in existence.
Both compartments are about equally deep. So depending on your packing habits that can be a pro or a con. The inside is clad in blue and looks very nice. There are not a lot of pockets or any frills. Except the divider panel which is intelligently designed in that it is removable, made of mesh and has two asymmetrically sized, zipped compartments. It makes sense to remember on which side the panel is attached. Otherwise, when you open the suitcase, stuff may fall out because the other side only has adjustable cross straps. The best design of this kind of cross straps that I have seen, though. There is also a removable stretch pouch but that's all for interior organization. It's a simple form follows function deal.
The alu does have a little flex so you can stuff it.
It rolls super well. Even when loaded up with 40kg this thing can be maneuvered literally with two fingers; not kidding. One can roll it either on two or on four wheels. It switches seamlessly between the two modes.
This is obviously a big case. If you pack relatively normal belongings in it, it is almost too big for the 50-70lbs weight limits. That means if you pack it really full, it will weigh more than those maximum 32kg. So keep that in mind. On the other hand if you want to transport bulky or fragile items like porcelain or wine bottles this is ideal. There is also a rubber seal around the opening that makes this fairly waterproof. Probably even the worst rain shower could not get the content wet.
CONS: It scuffs and scratches easily. It also dents rather easily. This does not influence the functionality but it clearly takes away from the good looks. By the way, it looks terrific and it looks terribly expensive, which it is. You know what that means. The locks are easy to open by the TSA. But they do not have a Search Alert function where you can immediately tell that it was opened. I have had it happen that the suitcase was opened and no TSA tag was put inside. There was nothing missing but still...
Durability, while the battle scars of travel will maybe even start to look good after some time, the dents might not. Rimowa will do a dent repair but I do not know the conditions, price etc. The warranty of 5 years only is ridiculous for a product this price class, material and reputation. This is the main reason I subtracted one star. That said, my father has had one of these for a good 25 years and still uses it. When you open up the two halves there is some warp. The hinges seem to be the weakest point. Obviously, when you travel, the hinges are closed, not exposed and there is no warp.
On my third transatlantic flight one of the wheelcaps came off. This is purely cosmetic but shouldn't really happen, I find.
The 32 inch version is so high that one does not really need the telescoping handles. They could have saved two pounds and made just the more even space for packing on the interior.
The wheels look sturdy but I wouldn't use this on cobblestone really.
(Posted on 2/18/09)
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