By Mike Riley on Sat, 11/16/2013
As shapes and sizes of tablets, laptops, and gadgets change, the bags, backpacks, and carrying cases change with them. Booq’s latest offering caters to those whose digital lifestyles require their collection of gadgets, chargers, laptops, and other electronic accessories to travel along with them. Read on to find out of booq’s Boa shift is off target or hits its mark.
The outer shell is composed of a weather-hardy 1680 denier ballistic nylon exterior with water-repellent coating, keeping electronics safe from dust, rain, or snow. The rugged YKK zippers are also solid and will help keep a tight seal and a jam-free operation. The Boa shift also has lots of pockets of various sizes to fit all your gadget and electronic accessory needs. The center pouch features a spacious interior that can carry books, cloths, food, and other overnight or weekend necessities. There’s also a sleeve designed to fit multiple-sized laptops from 13” to 17”, with rubbery Nylex interior sides that prevent the laptop from sliding around regardless of the laptop’s dimensions. An iPad user will find this space somewhat oversized, but it's thin and grippy enough to keep the iPad stable and safe during transit. And like other high-end booq bags, the Boa shift backpack features booq’s Terralinq system that helps lost or stolen bags find their owners. Besides the photos included in this review, check out booq’s YouTube video showing off the various pockets and angles of the backpack.
All these features make the Boa shift a compelling bag, but after spending a few days using it, I encountered issues that were hard to dismiss. Least of my criticisms is the bag’s look. While it meets all the functional specifications, it looks fairly unremarkable. Perhaps that’s the aesthetic that booq’s designers intended, but it just looks kind of boring. More troublesome is the skimpy padding in the shoulder straps combined with their lean width. The straps had a tendency to dig into my shoulders and collar, making the bag uncomfortable to carry after 15 minutes. I also couldn’t get the shoulder straps to adjust quite the way I wanted, which likely exacerbated my discomfort. But the real kicker against recommending this bag was the cloth-lined front pocket. Whether intentional or not, the pocket gave way when I slid my phone into it, as if it either wasn’t stitched properly or there was a tear in the fabric. Either way, the phone slid past the cloth liner and into the space below. I had to tear the fabric further just to retrieve my phone from the compartment. It’s possible that I received a rare defective product for review, but it made me question how effective Booq’s quality control was on the shift. Should this be a recurring issue, I would hope the company encourages customers to report the problem for an exchange or refund.
Overall, the Boa shift is a disappointment. Notwithstanding the defective front pocket and the meager shoulder straps, the backpack’s overall design lacked the cool sizzle that other tech backpacks offer in the same price range. I did appreciate and use the bag’s roomy interior and the way it easily fanned out when opened to find my contents quickly. I also like booq’s Terralinq system, though I’m not sure how many customers will actually make the effort of registering the bag with the service in order to take advantage of this feature. So for those seeking function over form, engineering over style, this backpack may be adequate. But at its suggested retail price, I expected more from booq than what the Boa shift had to offer.
Product: Boa shift
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars