Review: BOOQ’s Python™XM[system] Laptop Backpack

by James Bain Dec 08, 2006

BOOQ‘s Python XM[system] centres around the Python XM backpack, and includes a Vyper laptop sleeve for your notebook itself as well as an Anaconda 5 accessory case for your cell phone, smart phone, iPod, or whatever. The [system] is a great bundle. Though the bits are available on their own, together they make a great deal of sense and of course come at a bit of an overall discount.

“The Acme of Cases”

Okay then, basically, this is the best danged laptop backpack, bar none, I’ve ever touched, let alone used. Truly amazing. I know that lightens a bit of the review’s punch early on, but BOOQ’s Python XM[system] is stunning.

This is a shock and awe case. The heaviest grade ballistic nylon I’ve ever seen not wrapped around a Kevlar core and sporting ceramic plates. Finishings I normally stress over, amply padded bottoms, sturdy zippers, great strappage, orange highlights, they’re all here in a way and with a quality that I can certainly say makes this the acme of cases.


BOOQ claims that there’s room for a stack of books 5-inches high in the cargo area, and that is definitely NOT an exaggeration. I have carried seven thick hard cover books (Tecumseh’s Bones, History of the Book in Canada: Volume One
From Rogue to Everyman, Mark’s Other Gospel, Yellow Crocodiles and Blue Oranges, The Future of the Page, and Deflating Information), my ledger, lunch container, and a pair of shoes home in it as well as all my usual collection of cables, pens, disks, and rechargers with no feeling of being cramped. I have not found myself once hand carrying any reasonable accesory since I started using this backpack. Okay, bags of groceries, no, but everything else I tend to want to carry with me has found a home in one pouch or slot or another. I’ve lost track as to just how many compartments it has. Why, there’s even a very well thought out, integrated iPod pocket built into the Python too. Now that’s complete!


Very special and something I’ve not seen before is the laptop slot which opens at the top of the backpack and into which you slide your notebook. It’s not just another gaping pocket but is rather targeted just for your laptop, whether it’s its in Vyper sleeve or not. The slot is spacious, soft lined and is surrounded by an envelope of high density foam so substantial that the bag itself stands up (elegantly, mind you) on its own as a result. There’s space in there for even more magazines and papers if you want, but with the cargo area I mentioned above, you won’t really need to crowd your laptop.

I look good just sitting next to this bag. From the stares I get on the bus, I fancy that I’m the envy of my commute, though that just might be my Canterbury Tales necktie. Or the power-breakfast blueberry skins stuck between my teeth. Regardless, BOOQ’s visual style blows anything else I’ve seen on the Number Two bus completely out of the water.

The Python XM is sized as a “Large Capacity 15-inch Laptop Backpack”, but if you’ve got another model MacBook or PowerBook, check out BOOQ’s laptop wizard for your best options. BOOQ has another backpack, the ‘slighterer’ but still awesomely impressive Boa, the Folee conventional laptop bag, and a vertical shoulder bag, the Mamba, as well as an XL version of the Python for 17-inch laptops.

Oh, and if you’re worried about carrying a tonne of stuff in your backpack, I found the Python’s strap and harness array the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. Weight is well distributed across wide, padded belts and straps. A lot of the heft and volume is handled in the Python by its spreading wide rather than deep, which keeps everything you care about closer to your center of gravity. As result, you’re far less likely to whack someone on crowded public transit if you turn about sharply, and all those books you’re carrying won’t drag you down so quickly.

This case is not a cheap in any sense of the word. The [system] lists at $239.99 US, though the Python XM on its own is $179.99 MSRP. Its construction and design justifies the cost however. This case is a sports car, not a minivan. As I said, expect to pay sports car price but you will get sports car quality. If I had to give this backpack a grade, I’d give it a 93% without a sweat. There are always possible improvements for any product—and built-in iPod conrols, integrated solar cells and a dedicated storage battery are just a suggestion—but the Python XM[system] is so close to perfect that it’s not funny. Bravo Zulu, BOOQ! Well done!


  • I got my system from SOHO Services ( ) They are great to deal with and very fast with shipping. I recommend them! Oh, if something is not listed in the store just ask them and they usually can come up with it fast!

    Kamran had this to say on Dec 08, 2006 Posts: 2
  • These look like cool bags, but now that you’ve been using it for a bit, how do you find the zippers? - are they taking the strain of your many texts, ledger and lunch?

    I’m trying to imagine how, with the back part of the main compartment’s pockets full, and the front panel of the main compartment full, that there’s room to put in a lunch box (like a tupperware container) or books without stressing the zippers out.

    Finally are you happy with the XM or do you wish you’d gotten the bigger xl?


    mcai had this to say on Jan 14, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I’m still using the XM-sized BOOQ bag here and even as recently as this Friday PM was thinking how darned huge its storage was as I loaded it up. Books, disks, cables, lunch remains, hats, gloves, bottles of vitamins, this bag still carries them all with room to spare. If I had bought a 17-inch MacBook Pro, the XL would have made sense. Otherwise, as I said, I’m still amazed at just how much space I have.

    James Bain had this to say on Jan 14, 2007 Posts: 33
  • I would recommend against purchasing this bag.

    It certainly has plenty of space, but it is poor in terms of form factor and security. I can forgive the backpack being too wide (it borders on being square), but the poor protection it affords is unacceptable for such an expensive bag.

    My MBP has a large dent in its casing now after a ~2 foot drop from my bed. I used to use a Brenthaven (for an older PB) and I regret trying out Booq. Really piss-poor performance on Booq’s part, especially when my Brenthaven for a third of the price had protected my old laptop flawlessly.

    DanW had this to say on Jan 16, 2008 Posts: 1
  • This laptop backpack is surely a product that reflect quality and it is a product that is really efficient and useful. Now I just have to check a few analytics pricing websites to see where I can get the best deal for this product. Thank you for the review!! Have a nice day!!

    IBMdude had this to say on Sep 05, 2011 Posts: 50
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