Booq Boa Flow Review

Updated February 28, 2014
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Booq Boa Flow
Bottom Line

The Booq Boa Flow is a laptop backpack that gets high marks in every tech publication we've seen. It's available in two sizes, medium and extra-large (both priced at Est. $195), but reviewers say that even the medium bag is quite large -- possibly too large for everyday use. However, for travel, reviewers say this bag is ideal: sturdy, well organized and roomy enough to accommodate everything you need for a weekend trip (including your laptop).

Durability

Solidly built. The Flow is made of tough, 1680-denier ballistic nylon with a water-repellent coating. The inside is lined with 420-denier ripstop polyester, which is also water-resistant. The-Gadgeteer.com's Dave Rees describes the workmanship as "very well done," and notes that the high-performance YKK zippers should "withstand countless closings and openings." As for its protective features, CNET says the zippered rear compartment that holds the laptop is rigid and thickly padded. Of course, all this protection comes at a cost in weight: The medium-sized Flow weighs 4.5 pounds when empty, and the extra-large weighs 4.9 pounds.

ProsRoomy, Sturdy build, Comfortable to wear, Good interior organizationConsBulky, Heavy

Comfort

Adjusts to fit. Reviewers consistently agree that the Booq Boa Flow is very comfortable to carry. The back is heavily padded with foam, plus a mesh backing for ventilation. The wide, curved shoulder straps are also padded and can be adjusted to fit snugly; Carol Mangis of PCMag.com says they "never once slipped off my narrow shoulders." The bag also includes adjustable waist and chest straps, though reviewers generally say they didn't need to use them. Dave Rees of The-Gadgeteer.com says the whole package provides "a well-carried, comfortable ride," and Mangis proclaims that she's "rarely encountered such a comfortable bag."

Appearance

A real beast. What strikes reviewers most about the Flow's design is its sheer size. Brandon Widder at DigitalTrends.com calls it "a behemoth of a backpack," and the editors of CNET describe it as "gigantic." In one way, this is a plus, since the bag can accommodate lots of extra gear in addition to the laptop itself. However, most reviewers find the bag too big for everyday use; CNET editors say when they took it on NYC subways, they kept "nearly bowling over fellow travelers." However, Rees, who commutes by motorcycle, says it was ideal for him -- especially since the styling goes perfectly with his motorcycle gear.

Features

Nice organization. The Flow has pockets galore.  In addition to the zippered laptop compartment, there's a main compartment, a front zipper pocket, a padded bottom compartment for cameras and other accessories, a slip pocket on the top front and two zippered side pockets -- and most of these pockets have additional sub-pockets inside. Rees describes the interior layout as "intelligent," saying it's optimized for storing all the accessories that come with a laptop. One extra feature is the unique serial number found in each backpack, which helps lost or stolen bags find their way back to their registered owners.

Value

A bit pricey. Aside from its sheer bulk, reviewers say the biggest downside of the Booq Boa Flow is its high price tag. At Est. $195, it's considerably costlier than many laptop backpacks, including smaller and less fully featured models from Booq Boa. Also, the five-year limited warranty on the Flow, though not bad, isn't the equal of the lifetime warranties found on other laptop cases in this price range. Although CNET says the price "might be too steep for many bag-buyers," Rees and Mangis both argue that this laptop case's quality makes it well worth the cost.

Our Sources

1. CNET

Booq Boa Flow, Scott Stein, May 27, 2010

Editors at CNET conduct a hands-on evaluation of the Booq Boa Flow, evaluating its features, design and durability. They say the Flow is eye-catching, has good organization and "looks and feels solid." However, they say its large size makes it more appropriate for travel than for everyday use.

2. The-Gadgeteer.com

Booq Boa Flow M Laptop Backpack Review, Dave Rees, May 27, 2010

Dave Rees of The-Gadgeteer.com spends a few weeks testing the Booq Boa Flow. He says the bag is well made, well padded and comfortable to wear, with plenty of room and good organization. His favorite feature, though, is "how well this backpack looks and fits my motorcycle gear."

3. PCMag.com

Booq Boa Flow Laptop Backpack, Carol Mangis, April 27, 2010

Carol Mangis offers her first impressions of the Booq Boa Flow based on a test copy sent to the magazine. She describes it as rugged and incredibly comfortable to wear, and she likes the serial number for identifying lost bags. However, she finds it a bit bulky for everyday use.

4. DigitalTrends.com

Pack Attack: 25 Awesome Laptop Bags That Add Style and Function, Brandon Widder, May 20, 2013

DigitalTrends.com includes the Booq Boa Flow in its roundup of the 25 "most stylish, fashionable, and practical laptop bags." Writer Brandon Widder describes the case as "a behemoth" -- big and hefty, but also very sturdy and roomy enough to carry a 17-inch laptop plus a full weekend's supply of gear.