booq Boa Slimcase XL and XL90 Laptop Bags

When I first saw the Boa Slimcase XL and Slimcase XL90 laptop cases on the booq website, I thought they looked very nice. But when they arrived and I saw them in person, they took me back a bit. They definitely qualify as two of the best constructed and engineered (non-leather) laptop cases I have ever seen. For years, I have used an antiquated leather satchel to carry my laptop and tech-toys during my travels. I have used various types of sleeves to provide additional protection for my laptops while inside my leather bag. The booq Boa Slimcase series provides good protection in a slim, sleek, and high-tech (yet professional) looking package; enough to consider retiring my decade old laptop bag.

booq Boa Slimcase XL Laptop Case

The Boa XL case is specifically fitted for the 17" Macbook Pro. But you could potentially use it with other laptops, the compartment dimensions are 15.5"x10.4"x1.4" (394x264x36mm). The case hangs vertically by either shoulder strap or handle for carrying.

The materials are top notch and the workmanship is very well done. The exterior is made of a heavy-duty black ballistic nylon with a water-repellant coating. The ‘high-performance YKK’ zippers are very nice and will withstand the test of time. There are two exterior slipper pockets, one on the front and one on the back of the case that you could slip paperwork or something small into. The only highlight color on the black bag is orange piping along the back pocket.

In addition to the padded laptop compartment, the interior has two slipper pockets, two pockets with flaps (held firmly in place by embedded magnetic’s), one zipper pocket, plus four smaller slipper pockets and two pen slots. As you can see from the photos, the interior is red with orange piping and black pocket flaps, surrounded by the black case itself.

The XL holds the hefty 6.8 pound Macbook Pro comfortably on my shoulder or when carried by the handle. The XL has D-rings stitched into both sides of the case that the strap attaches to. The included booq shoulder strap is nicely made but lacks any sort of padding for your shoulder.

booq Boa Slimcase XL90 Laptop Case

The Boa Slimcase XL90 case can be used with 15" PC laptops or the 17" MacBook Pro. The laptop compartment dimensions are 15.75"x10.9"x1.5" (400x277x38mm). The XL90 is almost twice the volume of the XL. And while the XL is oriented vertically, the XL90 is horizontal in nature.

The materials, workmanship and overall design of the XL90 are identical to the XL. The main differences are that the XL90 is horizontal, wider and a little thicker than the XL.

The number, type, and configuration of the exterior and interior pockets are also identical to the XL. They’re just larger in size.

Like the XL, the Slimcase XL90 holds the weight of the Macbook Pro and other tech accessories pretty well. It has the same D-rings and non-padded shoulder strap as the XL. The XL90 is bulkier than the XL but is still comfortable to carry or hang on your shoulder.

The Boa Slimcase series is one of several laptop bags recently introduced by booq for 2008. All of the Slimcase series has a metal tag with a unique ID number. And once registered, booq’s Terralinq service may be able to help you find your bag if lost. Sadly, I have attempted for weeks to get through the multi-step registration process and have not yet been successful. I am currently working with booq on this issue. They have been friendly and communicate regularly on the status of resolving my problem. But overall I consider this a minor issue taking nothing away from the cases themselves.

The XL is extremely form-fitted for the 17" Macbook Pro leaving some but not a lot of room for tech-toys. With its additional volume, the XL90 can definitely haul around more equipment and materials than the XL. Considering the rest of the market, the Boa Slimcase laptop bags are reasonably priced at $135 for the XL and $145 for the XL90.

 

Product Information

Price:
Manufacturer:Booq
Retailer:Booq
Pros:
  • High quality materials and construction
  • Water-repellant coating
  • Magnetic closures on interior pockets
  • Extremely durable
  • Professional appearance
  • Lightweight
  • Weatherproof
Cons:
  • The shoulder strap should be padded
  • Registering ID number with booq’s Terralinq service
Posted in: Gear, Laptops and Gear

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Geoff December 26, 2007, 4:12 pm

    As the owner of a smaller 13″ MacBook, I’d like to add that the Booq Folee XS elicited a similar response in me upon its arrival. Every Booq product I have examined has been excellent, and the fit for Mac laptops is superb.

    1
  • Jon Mack December 26, 2007, 11:22 pm

    Thank you for another excellent review. I haven’t heard of booq before but after reading your review I checked out their web site. I was very impressed with their bags. I will definitely consider them for my next gear bag.

    2
  • Mick McQuaid December 27, 2007, 11:10 pm

    Waterfield Designs makes a terrific alternative, the sleevecase. I recently bought one for my MacBook Pro 17″ with flap and shoulder strap options. A review at jkontherun convinced me to try it, and I feel that that review is pretty accurate, although I like the external pocket better than the reviewer does.

    For comparison, I have a booq for my 17″ Powerbook and have been very disappointed by its (lack of) durability in comparison. I would not try booq again. I am also impressed by a friend’s Tom Bihn sleeve.

    3
  • Dave Rees December 28, 2007, 10:16 am

    It will be interesting to see how well the booq cases withstand the test of time. So, far they’re still in new condition. The real test will be when I start bouncing around the US in ’08.

    4
  • Geoff January 2, 2008, 9:59 pm

    Re: the test of time,

    The Folee XS I mentioned earlier is nigh on a year old, and has traveled the country with me during that time … not to mention surviving a massive cat spray incident at home and the subsequent hours of deep cleaning.

    I had one velcro pad come off of a pocket flap, which my wife stitched back on in no time. Other than that, it still looks new and I still get comments on it.

    5
  • td January 29, 2009, 3:19 pm

    Hey All,

    I’m really enjoying my Boa slimcase XL90 (a recent gift). I have a question though: What’s up with those 2 side pockets (on the outside of the bag, right where the strap connects)? In a , you can see a pen clipped to the top of one of the pockets… but there’s no way to get even a very small hand in these. What happens when you inadvertently drop something in there? Very strange. Anybody have any good usage ideas or thoughts about these pockets?

    Thanks,
    -TD

    6

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