Battletest: Vyper exo by Booq

Fresh off the assembly line comes the brand new Vyper exo briefcase from Booq, a company whose motto reads, “Empowering the next generation of creative performance.” It’s an ambitious and open-ended goal, that is most appreciated by a very specific demographic (you).

In the interest of full-disclosure, my current day pack is a Vyper XM, so it’s possible that I’m predisposed to a bias toward Booq due to my good fortune with its previous products. The flip-side of that tale is that I’m more critical, because I know its capable of great things. I’m in the manner of thinking the latter is closer to accurate. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Booq Vyper exo held up during my tests.

Like all bags from Booq, the Vyper exo is a union of style and utility. The previous briefcase offering from Booq was called the Folee. It was a formidable pack that was much too large for my day-to-day. The Vyper exo is a re-envisioning of Booq’s more professional offerings. In addition to maintaining a significant reduction in girth, it carries with it a far more stylized exterior.

The case is composed of an attractive semi-rigid ballistic nylon that utilizes two layers of molded high-density foam to protect its precious cargo. Entry is provided by two oversized YKK zippers that indent slightly into the case body for a streamlined appearance. An artificial leather base allows the bag to be planted firmly when you set it to rest.Orange accent stitching zips around its periphery, achieving a cool contrast from its black body. A lot of thought obviously went into the strap as well. It’s made from seatbelt nylon and features one of the most comfortable pads my shoulders have ever encountered. Its rubberized grips lock down and prevent it from shifting while you move. Good stuff.

Things appear to be plotted equally well on the inside, with a judicious use of space and a continuation of its style. Dividers of the left and right separate your gear from your papers. Of particular interest in this case is the laptop compartment. While I appreciate the way that it functions, I think it might be somewhat lacking in terms of support. Booq offers a slightly more expensive Vyper exo system that includes a smaller case specifically for your laptop and a PDA case (!!!). It slides into the laptop compartment of the Vyper exo flushly. That’s all fine and good, but I’d really just prefer that laptops fit in the case happily on their own, without the aid of an additional case. I found that my 15-inch MacBook Pro slid around far too much inside the Vyper exo M to feel comfortable with it being in there unsupported. Disregarding the lack of support for a moment though, the laptop compartment provides an interesting little work area. It’s easy to use your machine comfortably with it still in the case, which I appreciated mightily.

The rest of the interior is bedecked with pockets galore. Several of them seal with stylish silver buttons to keep their contents exactly where you left it. There is also ample room to stow papers safely without risk of being crumpled or destroyed in transient — a necessity of any could pack.

A cornerstone is the interior though is the TerraLinq Service. If you happen to lose your back, a metal faceplate attached inside the case features a serial number and instructions of what do to if the bag is found. This should help you feel reassured in the fact that if some nice person finds it, your bag should be returned to your hands with its contents in tact. But chances are, some homeless person will find it then proceed to sell your sensitive documents to your biggest competitor (because all homeless people are experts in such matters) and promptly pawn your laptop to get money for crack, or smack, or something else that ends in -ack (???).

All things considered, the Vyper exo is consistent with Booq’s mission statement and its previous packs. My only real complaint is that it warrants the additional laptop case, which will set you back about $40 more. If you’re looking for style and substance though, then Booq is definitely where it’s at. I’ve experimented with countless briefcase styled bags and this is the first one that I didn’t feel like a total jobber while toting it around.

The Vyper exo is available now in two sizes M and XL for $175 amd $195 respectively. If you get the system with laptop and PDA cases, those prices shoot up to $215 and $235.