Booq Boa Squeeze review

The Booq Boa Squeeze fits a plethora of items in a bag that looks like it would barely carry a 13-inch laptop.

The Booq Boa Squeeze ($129 list) bag fits a plethora of items though it looks like it would barely carry a 13-inch laptop. Comfortable and capacious, it’s an urban commuter’s bag. It looks small, but like a bag of holding, it’s bigger on the inside.

The Boa Squeeze is a stylish laptop backpack constructed of water-repellant black ballistic nylon. Measuring 6.3-by-11.8-by-17 inches (HWD), it’s streamlined so it will look good on your back if you’re riding a sport bike or other urban transport. The tapered top and bottom also help keep a slim profile when you’re walking and weaving through tourist clumps in your city’s central business district. It’s symmetrical, which is important if you’re cultivating an urban outward appearance. If there’s any drawback to the look, it’s that the bag’s bowed shape means that it can’t stand up on its own. If you want to keep the top upright you’ll either have to wear the bag or prop it up against something. The bag naturally wants to turn turtle when put down on the ground or other flat surface.

The bag has a rudimentary nylon top strap, but the two main shoulder straps are well padded and curved so they won’t bind your shoulders while in use. The back panel is perforated, padded black mesh, so you won’t have to worry about your body heat reflecting and making your back sweat. Sticklers and cycle riders may want a chest strap, but on the whole the bag is comfortable to wear and carry.

Embedded in the back panel is a metal plate with a bar code that will hopefully help you get your bag (and its contents) back if it’s found by a good soul. There are five main zippered compartments accessible from the outside: two lined vertical side pouches with internal pockets, a top pouch for your smartphone, a slim slit bisecting the flap, and the main compartment. The slim slit in the flap lets you hold small, flat items handy, and the smartphone pouch is easy to use to other items like boarding passes. There smartphone pouch lacks a headphone pass-through, but that’s okay since one would break the bag’s svelte lines and advertise that you have electronics in that pocket. The right zippered pouch has a detachable key lanyard and ring.

The main compartment is mostly open, a plus if you tend to dump things in of if you already keep your accessories in a travel pouch like a dopp kit. The laptop compartment is built in with a simple Velcro patch to hold the strap. The laptop compartment is lined to minimize scratches, but you’ll have to remove your laptop to get through TSA screening points. The front of the laptop compartment has many pouches and pockets, including a pen holder, one tailor made for 7-inch tablets, a pouch good for wallets and business cards, plus a low, wide pouch that can accommodate a 10-inch tablet. The inside of the flap has a zippered compartment for small items, and another mesh pouch that’s open for easy access. On the whole there are a good number of places to keep your stuff.

The laptop compartment is tailor made for 13-15 inch laptops, and we found that slim laptops like the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch fit with plenty room to spare. However, 15-inch laptops are the limit, as an Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Mid 2012) with a Speck SeeThru polycarbonate case installed requires a little more force to squeeze into the Boa Squeeze. The main compartment and laptop compartment easily swallowed an 11-inch convertible ultrabook, 13-inch MacBook Air, iPad mini, Kindle Touch, compact folding golf umbrella, eyeglasses case, AC adapters, a rolled up windbreaker, and a third party accessory pouch with more cables in it. With judicious packing, the whole kit and caboodle was well balanced and easy to carry on a walkabout and commuter train trip.

At $129.99, the Boa Squeeze is quite a bit more expensive than its stablemate Booq Mamba Daypack ($99), but it’s less expensive than the Crumpler’s Vegetable from Within the Mountain Laptop Backpack ($145) or Chrome Citadel Laptop Bag ($190). While it doesn’t wrest the Editors’ Choice from the Cumpler’s bag, it may work better if you’re looking for a corporate urban warrior bag, in graphite black, of course.


Verdict
The Booq Boa Squeeze fits a plethora of items in a bag that looks like it would barely carry a 13-inch laptop. Comfortable and capacious, it's an urban commuter's bag.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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