Laptop bags have never anywhere close to what you might call good looking. I equate this fashion conundrum to the Toyota Prius. Sure, it's incredibly functional but does it really have to look like a 5-year old designed it with a box of crayons and safety scissors? Only in recent years has this idea changed as carrying a laptop to work has become a more common occurrence. With so many laptop bags looking the same on the market, it would really suck if your supervisor picked up your bag by accident and found your selection of "films" on it. Booq seems to have an answer for the generic blahs.
Booq has been making high quality laptop bags that are functional, protective and good looking for years. They are one of the few that do justice to the work of aesthetic genius known as the MacBook Pro. Therefore, I was quite excited to get a Booq Boa Slimcase M to try out.
Officially, the Slimcase M fits a 13-15" Apple laptop or a 11-13" PC laptop. This means that any current MacBook (white, black, Pro, Air) will fit except the 17" MacBook Pro. The only reason only smaller PC laptops will fit is due to how the MacBooks are usually quite a bit thinner than their PC counterparts. Slimmer PC laptops might fit but give it a test drive before making any purchases.
- Laptop Compartment: 14.2" x 9.6" x 1.25" (361 x 244 x 32mm)
- Exterior Dimensions: 16" x 10.5" x 3" (406 x 267 x 76mm)
The bag is only available in black with a red interior. No color choices. No material choices. If you don't like it, buy someone elses bag.
The first thing you'll notice is that the Slimcase M is a vertical bag, as in your laptop sits vertically rather than horizontally like it usually does in most messenger style laptop bags. The second thing you'll notice is that the bag is very thin, with enough room for only a thin notebook and not much more.
The Slimcase M is made from black, heavy duty ballistic nylon, which is quite strong, durable and water resistant. It isn't waterproof so it wouldn't be a great idea to lug it around in a monsoon but in a light rain, your laptop will stay pretty dry. The price is a tad steep for all this quality though. The Booq Boa Slimcase M retails for about $115.
The strap, (suspended by carabiners) is quite comfortable, though I wouldn't mind one of those strap pads that you find on most bags. Having said that, whatever can fit inside is so light, it doesn't really require one but anything to increase comfort is always welcome.
I'm not entirely sure how you differentiate between regular and "high-performance" zippers but the high-performance YKK zippers are smooth and have large, easy to grab toggles. The best thing about the zippers, however, is the way they're structured on the bag. Rather than having a zipper down the middle, you open the bag somewhat on an angle, which allows you to slip your notebook in without scratching it against the zipper teeth.
The interior is a deep red, which apparently let's you find things more easily due to the contrast with most of your devices. Unless, of course, all your devices happen to be red.
In addition to the angled zippers, the Slimcase M has a few more features designed to keep your notebook safe and scratch free. The laptop compartment is lined with a soft suede-like material that is quite unlikely to scratch your precious notebook. It's not as reasuring as the cool faux fur that Incase has been using lately to prevent scratch marks but I'm sure this stuff won't come off and clog all your ports either.
There's also a good 2cm or so of solid foam on the bottom of the laptop compartment so an accident drop (from a reasonable height) probably won't harm what's inside your bag. The sides of the bag are also pretty thick for added protection.
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