Best iPad Carrying Case: Booq's Boa Saddle vs. Boa Nerve

The company booq has made a name for itself as a producer of high-quality carryalls. Whether you are looking for a backpack, a messenger bag, a camera bag, or a slim laptop carrier, booq's products offer a fashionable and remarkably rugged way for you to safely transport your tech gear and essential accessories. However, when a company has an extensive lineup of great gear, it can be hard to select the best iPad bag for your purposes. To that end, I've chosen two similar products from the booq catalog to compare and see how they fare as iPad carrying cases. Please note, I'm a big fan of both of these products, but in the end, slight differences made one better than the other in my opinion. 

First their similarities; they are both over-the-shoulder bags, and both can carry up to a 15-inch MacBook. They also both feature booq's patented Terralinq service, which, once registered, will help you locate your lost and found bag. Both of these bags sport an attractively modern design, which would be at home in a board room, a college classroom or even hustling through the streets of downtown San Francisco on a mountain bike. Both bags also include a rear pass-through strap for easy and convenient travel, allowing you to slip them over the handle of your luggage cart. But that's where the similarities end...

Showdown: Nerve Messenger vs. Saddle Briefcase

Boa Nerve Messenger ($155)

At 4.89 lbs, the Boa Nerve is the bigger and slightly bulkier of these two bags, but not without good cause. The Boa Nerve has ample stowage space for a short trip, (depending of course on how one packs), or a long flight or train ride. I'll typically be able to squeeze a notebook, a lightweight jacket, even a change of clothes and some snacks into the Nerve, in addition to my essential computer gear like my MacBook, back-up batteries, iPad, headphones, and iPhone.

The Nerve is the bag I would choose if I were going on a long flight abroad or to a convention like CES. It's portable enough that I can carry it with ease wherever I go, but not so bulky that I'd ever have difficulty storing it under the airline seat in front of me or in an overhead compartment. 

The Boa Nerve is a relatively plain messenger bag, at first glance, but a closer look reveals an extremely durable, water-resistant ballistic nylon exterior, designed to withstand years of hard use. It also has a reflective trim, helping increase your visibility when on the go at night. While both the Boa Nerve and the Boa Saddle have water-repellant fabric bodies, only the Nerve comes with a highly water-resistant bottom panel. As you know if you've ever been caught out on your bike or walking in the rain, the more waterproofness you computer bag has, the better!

With 16 distinct compartments (not including small slots for pens) the Boa Nerve is the way to go if you want a little extra space, either for a longer trip or just because you know yourself and know you tend to need more room for all your gear and gadgets.


Boa Saddle Briefcase ($195)

 How to Choose?

At 2.36 lbs the Boa Saddle is the smaller and lighter of these two bags. This is a perfect professional briefcase, with ample room for your Apple computing essentials and even some extras, like a notebook, iPhone, and even snacks. The Saddle has 10 storage compartments, not including pencil slots. Thanks to its petite and efficiently compact design, this would be my go-to shoulder bag when I know I'm just going to a meeting at the office and I want to travel light.

Like its big sister, the Saddle is extremely weather resistant so your delicate electronics are kept safe and protected, even if you get caught in a seasonal deluge. If you are looking for a straightforward and elegant computer bag that won't weigh you down and offers excellent device protection and sophisticated style, this is a perfect choice. This, like all of booq's packs and messengers, is a bag of great integrity and even under extreme circumstances, it ought to give you many years of use.


If I were in the market for a new over-the-shoulder carrying bag, and I had to pick one over the other, I'd have to go with the Boa Nerve. To me it's the more practical of the two. When empty, it's not that much larger than its smaller sibling, nut when full, the difference in storage capacity is dramatic. Granted, it weighs in at almost double the weight of the Saddle, but I'd much rather have the option to expand from a slim bag to a larger carrier than not have the option if needed. I also appreciate the reflective strip on the Nerve for any night walking or biking and the added waterproof bottom paneling for the added protection of my expensive tech gear from moisture. Finally, the Nerve has a lower price, perhaps because it's a slightly older model. If I had to recommend one or the other, it would be the Boa Nerve, though I certainly wouldn't say you were making a poor choice if your personal preferences were for the more executive style of the Boa Saddle.


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Author Details

Dig Om's picture

Author Details

Dig Om

As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech