The Targus Groove X2 Max backpack has a minimalist design with very clean lines. You can carry it to office meetings without raising eyebrows and you will not draw attention when travelling with it.
Available in navy blue and charcoal black (version tested), it is also very functional. Its innards have protective velvet lining while its outside is made of materials that are resistant to wear and water.
A cushioned handle on one side comes in handy when you are clearing security checks at airports: It allows you to swiftly carry the backpack when it exits the X-ray conveyor belt. There is a similar cushioned handle on the top of the bag.
The dark grey tones and black zippered lines of the review unit conceal the three main compartments of the backpack.
There is a space for a laptop at the back, a main middle compartment for daily necessities and a thin storage in front for cables and small items. On top of the front compartment is a small zippered pocket for frequently accessed items such as sunglasses.
The laptop compartment is designed to hold a laptop with a 15-inch display. But I managed to stuff a 13-inch Apple MacBook Air and a 13-inch HP Elitebook 820 into this compartment.
The middle compartment has ample space for most of the stuff you need on the road. I squeezed in a compact mirrorless camera, a Nintendo Switch, two power banks, a multi-plug power adaptor, a MacBook Air power adaptor, an external hard drive and a Wi-Fi router during my recent trip to the CES event in Las Vegas.
CAPACITY: 33 litres
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
Plus, there is a small pocket on one side of the middle compartment for a power bank, with a cable-through hole for threading a charging cable out of the backpack's side, so you can charge your smartphone on the go.
At the back of the middle compartment is a tablet pocket big enough to fit a 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
I like the padded air mesh system at the rear. It is breathable and does not put too much strain on my troublesome back, even after I walked more than 20,000 steps at CES. The shoulder straps are also easily adjustable for a nice fit.
There is a hidden zippered pocket within the air mesh system for important items like your passport.
On the downside, the backpack has only one side pocket. Thus, you can put either only a water bottle or an umbrella there.
• Verdict: The Targus Groove X2 Max is an affordable laptop backpack that looks good, carries plenty and does not strain your back.