What's hot: Excellent build quality, checkpoint friendly design works well.
What's not: The shoulder strap might be too long to be comfortable for some users.
Reviewed February, 2010 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
As airport security checks become more and more complicated these days, the airport friendly computer bags are getting ever more popular. Booq makes high quality computer bags that are sturdy and well designed. The new booq Taipan Lift bags add security-friendly features and come in size S for 13”-14” notebooks and size L for 15”-17” notebooks. The booq Taipan Lift has a water repellent fabric exterior, strong shoulder strap, plenty of pockets, and most importantly, the computer compartment meets the TSA security check friendly requirement. Like most booq computer bags, the Taipan Lift comes in black with orange interior and highlights.
Many travelers ask what makes a computer bag “checkpoint friendly”. The TSA web site provides the statement clearly. A checkpoint friendly computer bag must have the following features: (from TSA.gov web site)
Your laptop bag has a designated laptop-only section that you can lay flat on the X-ray belt
There are no metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on-top of the laptop-only section
There are no pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section
There is nothing in the laptop compartment other than the laptop
You have completely unfolded your bag so that there is nothing above or below the laptop-only section, allowing the bag to lie flat on the X-ray belt”
The booq Taipan Lift meets all the requirements and we’ve gone through airport security checkpoint smoothly without taking the notebook out of the bag. Be sure that you don’t use any fitted case or sleeve with your computer that has metal snaps or zippers. The laptop compartment provides enough protection for the notebook even if you don’t have any sleeve or fitted case for your notebook.
Design and Quality
The booq computer cases and bags usually use sturdy fabrics, solid stitching and robust shoulder straps and zippers. The booq Taipan Lift is no exception. The fabric is water repellant and should protect your laptop and gadgets in a light rain. The bag opens 180-degrees so that you can lay it flat open on the X-ray belt. Both the laptop side and the pocket side have generous padding in case you carry cell phones and other gadgets in the pockets. While the bag can lay flat, the laptop stays securely in its compartment but the pocket side has no enclosure. So if you store gadgets, power cords or other items on the opposite of the notebook compartment, make sure they are not sticking out lest they fall out when going through the X-ray machine. The booq bag has strong snaps that can connect the two sections of the bag together when you don’t need to keep it open at the 180-degree position, so that when you unzip the bag, it opens like a normal laptop bag.
The booq Taipan Lift has a good number of pockets but it’s not for those who need endless compartments. Since the laptop side of the bag has to be a standalone section to meet the TSA requirement, the opposite side is the only real estate for additional storage space. The booq Taipan Lift has two large zippered pockets that run the width of the bag (one on the inside and one on the outside), three medium pockets (a half size of the full width, all on the inside), three pen slots and four small business card slots. The large pockets are ideal for paper pads, files, magazines and an extra notebook battery while the medium pockets are great for storing power cords, external DVD drives and accessories. The medium pockets can hold two or three cell phone size devices comfortably, though there are no slots for these devices to sit in separately. The penholders are long, great for pens but your small USB thumb drives will get lost in them. The small business card slots are great for storing extra phone batteries, business cards and other small and thin items. There are two extra small pockets next to the bag handle on either side, one is large enough for a smartphone-sized device (like an iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.) and the other is large enough for a smaller flip phone. These pockets open on top and give you easy access to your cell phone and smartphone without opening the bag.
The shoulder strap on the booq Taipan Lift is wide with a long strip of thick padding. The material used for the shoulder strap resembles that of a seat belt, which is to say it’s very sturdy and not likely to break. The strap has a large Velcro patch on either end for removing the strap from its plastic holders on the bag, so you can cover the Taipan Lift from a shoulder bag to a briefcase style bag easily. The handles on the bag also have thick padding. The shoulder strap is very long, and it’s ideal those who are 6’ or taller. When you shorten the strap too much, the padding piece gets pushed off the center as the length adjustment buckle can’t move through the padding piece easily. The long strap means this might not be the ideal shoulder bag for folks are shorter.
For you carry-on types, the booq Taipan Lift has a hidden zippered trolley handle pass-through that allows you to “link” your roller piece with the Taipan Lift. Be aware though the bottom opening isn’t very large, though it should fit most carry-on rollers. If yours has an ultra wide handle you might find it hard to it get through the bottom opening.
Lost and Found
The booq Taipan Lift entitles the owner to the Terralinq service. In the bag you will find a small Terralinq tag with a barcode. Each booq Taipan Lift comes with a unique serial number and you can register yours on booq’s web site. If you ever lose your bag, the unique ID is stored in the database linked to you as the owner, and Terralinq will try to contact you should the lost bag reported to lost & found. Of course this relies on the honesty of the people who find your bag, but at least when someone performs a good deed, Terralinq has a way to track you down.
Size and Weight
The booq Taipan Lift S should fit any 13” laptop, though the laptop compartment is on the large side. A 13” MacBook Air can sit in it with room to spare while a thin 14” notebook can fit snuggly. The max laptop size for the S is 12.8"x9.4"x1.3" while the max size for the L is 15.4"x10.7"x1.5". So measure your notebook before deciding which size to get. The booq bag weighs 3 lbs. (S model) and 3.4 lbs. (L model).
We love the quality of the material and the workmanship of the booq Taipan Lift. The bag looks professional yet not dull. It has plenty of padding all around and should provide good protection for your laptop and gadgets. The most attractive feature for frequent travelers is the checkpoint friendly design that allows the bag to open and lay flat. The Taipan Lift offers a good number of pockets, though if you carry several phones along with several gadgets (such as an MP3 player, GPS, ebook reader, etc.), you will need to look elsewhere.
Pro: Excellent build quality, checkpoint friendly design works well.
Con: The shoulder strap might be too long to be comfortable for shorter folks.