My search for a new laptop bag started as soon as the Virgin check-in attendant announced that my hand luggage was too heavy to accompany me on my flight to Boston.
This was the same bag and contents that has travelled with me across countries and seas, continents and oceans many times over. Inside its myriad pockets and sleeves was one 15-inch laptop, a power adaptor, various cables and plug changers, a couple of magazines, two books and an iPod.
Virgin's weight allowance was a mere 6kg. My laptop weighed 2.5kg on its own, and all its parts probably another 1.5kg. That doesn't leave a lot for reading materials, etc – and then, as I dumped books and magazines on non-laptop-lugging colleagues, I started thinking that one of the heaviest parts was the damned bag itself.
This is an ultra-stylish, cool-black semi-rigid ballistic nylon case that features two layers of moulded high-density foam protection and non-scratch fabrics to cradle your laptop. Even the name sounds sexy.
Various models fit 13-, 15- and 17-inch laptops.
There's an intelligent layout inside the case, too, for all those cables and adaptors – plus all that paper and pen stuff that follows us around still.
As the bag opens a full 180 degrees, you can open and use your laptop while it’s in its compartment.
The seatbelt-nylon shoulder strap feels like the heaviest part, so you can always take that off and stuff in your pocket for check-in, then return it to the bag once on your way through departures. Without contents the bag weighs just 1.64kg.
In an innovative twist the Vyper Exo comes with something Booq calls Terralinq. Each bag carries a unique identification number that is linked to you once you've registered online. If the bag is reported to Booq as lost and then found, you're quickly put in touch with the finder.
The Vyper Exo has futuristic secret-agent looks, and while it doesn't grip the laptop in foam padding like a Brenthaven bag, the semi-rigid case should protect it from quite severe knocks.