My wife complains that I own more bags and watches than she does. The latter (last count is 70 watches) is true but I am not too sure about the former. But I do have a growing stash of bags, becauseI can never find the perfect one.
Maybe the new Targus Seoul Backpack will change that. It is available in two sizes to fit 14-inch and 15.6-inch laptops. I reviewed the larger model that comes in rust colour, or reddish brown.
This rucksack-style rectangular backpack does not look like a typical boring laptop backpack. In fact, I think the Seoul looks quite trendy for both work and leisure.
It is made of soft-touch nylon material with a water-resistant finish. It is pretty lightweight - the bag alone tips the scales at only 630g.
An aluminium buckle shaped like the number six secures the zippered top flap to the main compartment. A zipper on the left side allows quick access to this compartment, which is pretty spacious at 25 litres in volume.
The compartment features dedicated pockets for a 15.6-inch laptop and a 12.9-inch tablet, with a velcro closure to secure both devices. It housed both my 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro and my 12-inch HP Elitebook office laptop (or 12.9-inch iPad Pro) along with a few file folders. I was able to fit my own camera cushion insert at the base of the main compartment, with the insert housing a Sony a7R II, an external USB hard drive, a Xiaomi 20,000 power bank, a Nintendo Switch portable game console and an SD-card pocket bag. And I still had half of the main compartment left to put clothes or other stuff.
At the front panel of the backpack, there is a zippered compartment with two pockets for holding two smartphone-sized items and two pen slots. I could slot a notepad, my memory-card reader and mini first-aid kit in there. The front panel also has a large handle that lets you carry the backpack like a duffel bag.
A zippered pocket on the top flap lets you store items such as cables that you want to quickly reach for. Two side pockets allow you to put an umbrella and a water bottle for quick access. And there is a small zippered pocket on the back panel for added security.
The back panel is made of mesh padding to allow for ventilation. There is a trolley sleeve at the back panel that allows the backpack to be securely placed on a luggage handle - great when you are travelling.
PRICE: $109 (14-inch), $119 (15.6-inch, the version tested)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5
The shoulder straps are easily adjustable. They are also retractable and can be hidden behind the back panel. A handle at the top allows for easy carrying.
Carrying the backpack with all the items mentioned above did not feel heavy, as it hugs my back nicely without giving uneven pressure to my shoulders and back.
The only downer is that the Seoul cannot really stand on its own when placed on the ground. As a result, it might tilt and fall over when you remove heavy items like a laptop from the bag because of imbalanced weight distribution.
•Verdict: The Targus Seoul Backpack is an affordable, practical and yet trendy-looking backpack that you can use for work, leisure and travel.