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Lifewire / William Harrison
An attractive bag, with a sleek shape
A well-padded, spacious laptop compartment
Convenient fleece pouch for sensitive items
Bizarre pocket layout
Uncomfortable sternum straps
Fleece pocket only fits small phones
Cotton material lacks resilience
The Booq Cobra Squeeze Backpack is an attractive bag that will go along great with your tablet or laptop, but proves locking in the pocket department which diminishes usability.
The Booq Cobra Squeeze Backpack is a nice looking backpack in a tight, lightweight package. However, under the surface are a myriad of bad design choices, features that lack real utility, and a material choice that hurts more than it helps. We spent the over a week toting around the Cobra bag through the rain and shine. Read on to see the finer details of this backpack and if style truly can conquer all.
The Booq Cobra is curved and contoured in a way that makes it look like a sports car and definitely stands out while worn. The inside takes a minimalist approach, limiting itself to a controlled color palette, rather than using an assortment of wacky colors. The slate gray of the bionic cotton blend on the outside and polyester on the inside matches well, making for a bag with a real sense of style.
Unlike the aesthetics, the layout of the bag is a bit nonsensical. The two upper-middle pockets that make up the entire side are actually a bit difficult to unzip due to the aforementioned stylish shape and contours. In addition, these pockets are too small to really be of use for anything besides small items.
Under the surface are a myriad of bad design choices, features that lack real utility, and a material choice that hurts more than it helps.
The main pocket of the bag, which unzips around the top of the bag in a horseshoe shape, is also a bit of a chore to fully open. The inside compartments include a 15.4-inch laptop sleeve, a zipper pocket, and four separation pockets. The foam around the laptop sleeve is especially nice, doing a nice job at providing protection against impact.
Finally, there’s a fleece-lined pocket at the top of the bag, just below the handle. The material of the pocket itself is nice and fuzzy, but the problem is the size of the zipper itself. We couldn’t fit our Samsung Galaxy S8 into the pocket, which makes us assume that the equally large iPhones wouldn’t fit in here either. It did, however, fit a few waterproof MP3 players quite nicely.
One interesting feature: Each Cobra includes a trackable serial number on the back, which in theory will allow you to track down your bag if you register the number. It’s a neat addition, but we wouldn’t hold our breath about getting the contents of the bag back even if you do manage to track it down.
Booq talks on their website about the bag’s high-tech fabric, natural cotton, and recycled PET blends, and how the bag is waterproof, but it’s only half the story. Yes, there is some resistance to the elements that the bag possesses, but the scale of it is limited.
The Booq Cobra backpack is certainly striking in appearance, but this comes at the cost of usability.
We found that the outside of the bag tended to retain a light layer of water when caught out on in the rain. That said, it did wick off a lot of water, and the inside was protected thanks to the polyester layer, but that thin layer of water remained clinging to the bag’s surface longer than expected.
The Booq Cobra backpack is certainly striking in appearance, but this comes at the cost of usability. The cotton blend exterior also felt weaker while wet, which made it appear thin enough to rip. Ripping seems to be a concern with this bag, as online reviews across the web from buyers seem to indicate weak stitching and a bag that doesn’t stand up to a lot of weight. We ran into no such problems during our time with the bag, but we feel those experiences are important to make note of.
The Cobra’s sternum straps are a bit of a mystery, as they’re curved to fit the contours of the bag. As such, they lack the same stretch and length that regular, straight sternum backpack straps usually reach. These curves didn’t cause discomfort, per se, but we were very aware that the straps had curves. Further, the padding on the straps wasn’t as cushioned as other bags we tested.
The Booq Cobra retails at $195 MSRP, though you might find it for lower on Amazon. That said, it’s clear that style has a price. If you plan to spend $200 on a bag, there are other options that offer more features and better durability for a similar price.
In the group of six bags, we reviewed, two are priced at or near the $200 range: The Booq Cobra and the InCase ICON backpack. We can’t help but think you’re getting a better bag for your buck with InCase’s offering, which includes water-resistant, 840D ballistic Nylon, more internal space, and a fleece-lined pouch that actually fits a regular-sized phone. Of course, the Cobra is a much prettier bag as far as aesthetics go, but when it comes to functionality, ICON is the winner.
Fairest in all the land, but not much else
The Booq Cobra backpack is certainly striking in appearance, but this comes at the cost of usability. Despite the sleek, monochrome appearance, the space and layout of the Booq Cobra Squeeze backpack prove disappointing.