Wearables

Anti-theft backpack

The zipper to the main compartment is hidden along the back edge of the Bobby, making it hard for naughty fingers to reach.
The zipper to the main compartment is hidden along the back edge of the Bobby, making it hard for naughty fingers to reach.PHOTO: XD DESIGN

Hidden zippers and pockets will leave pickpockets stumped

The Bobby backpack is a Kickstarter crowdfunding project that was successfully funded earlier this year. It touts itself as an anti-theft backpack.

I was sold on the idea and pledged for one unit. It arrived just two weeks ago. There are three different designs - all-black, red/black and grey/black (version reviewed).

The Bobby looks sleek without side pockets or visible zippers. The zipper to open the main compartment is hidden at the back, along the inner rim of the backpack. This makes it difficult for thieves to access the zipper when the bag is being carried.

Made of layers of cut-resistant materials like 300D polyester, 600D polyester and 6mm anti-shock foam, pickpockets will also find it hard to slice through the Bobby with a penknife.

In addition, the Bobby has a water repellent coating so you do not need to worry about splashes.

Inside the main compartment is a laptop sleeve that can hold a 15.6-inch laptop, and a tablet sleeve for a 9.7-inch tablet.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: US$72 ($98), pre-order at https://www.xd-design.com/bobby

    WEIGHT: 950g

    RATING

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

I managed to fit both my 13-inch Apple MacBook Air and 12.5-inch HP Elitebook 820 office laptop into the laptop sleeve at the same time.

The tablet sleeve has much less leeway though. It could just hold the 9.7-inch iPad Pro without a case or Apple's Smart Cover.

There are two padded mini-compartments at the bottom, inside the main compartment. These can house a compact DSLR camera and a lens. A smaller mini-compartment with pen holders is sited near the top of the bag.

There are also hidden pockets at the sides and rear of the backpack. The quick-access side pockets are especially useful for stowing away cables and earphones.

A clever feature is the external USB charging port on the right side (when you carry it) of the bag.

It connects to a USB cable inside the bag that plugs into a power bank (not included) -really handy for your Pokemon Go hunts.

There is a small slot on each shoulder strap just big enough for an ez-link or credit card - convenient when you are commuting.

Although the scales read 950g, the Bobby felt lighter than that when I was carrying it.

It hugged my back so snugly that I did not feel the strain even while lugging two laptops, a Xiaomi 20,000mAh power bank, a compact camera and other accessories.

The only downer is the relatively small size of the Bobby - 45cm tall and 30cm wide.

It is a really compact backpack and I found myself having to forgo some items, such as an umbrella and extra power bank, that I usually carry in my bigger backpack.

•Verdict: The Bobby is a handsome and practical backpack that will surely stump pickpockets.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'Anti-theft backpack'. Print Edition | Subscribe