Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

January 28, 2010 • Reviews

booq Taipan Shadow Review

I tend to be a huge fan of notebook bags and cases. I carry my MacBook Pro with me most days and, as result, having a good, usable bag is important to me. Having a usable, well organized, high-quality bag that is also good looking is a bonus. And, thanks to my work here on Gear Diary, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a number of superb companies and their products. One of my favorites is booq. Their cases are stylish, superbly designed and great to use. I have been using one of their newest — the booq Taipan Shadow. It looks like a relatively simple messenger bag but it is incredibly well designed and built. I’m really enjoying it. Let’s take a look.

From booq…

Taipan Shadow blends a slick messenger style with a professional, understated appearance. Compact and lightweight yet surprisingly roomy and protective, its luxurious interior offers plenty of room for papers, business cards, keys, and laptop accessories while the bag maintains a minimum exterior size. A plushly lined laptop compartment equipped with a durable YKK zipper, a back pocket with zippered trolley pass-through, and a seatbelt nylon shoulder strap with removable shoulder pad are just some of the key features that make Taipan shadow the ideal compact bag for everyday use. Each Taipan shadow is equipped with a unique Terralinq number. Once registered, the booq Terralinq service may help reunite you with your lost and found bag.


• Densely Padded Laptop Compartment With Super Soft Plush Interior.
• Hidden Mobile Phone Pocket With Soft Lining.
• Un-Snap Internal Front Pocket Divider To Increase Space For Larger Items.
• Padded Lip Inside Laptop Compartment Protects Laptop From Zipper.
• Luggage Trolley Compatible. Slide Trolley Handle Through Zippered Opening.
• Densely Padded Laptop Compartment With Super Soft Plush Interior.
• Hidden Mobile Phone Pocket With Soft Lining.
• Un-Snap Internal Front Pocket Divider To Increase Space For Larger Items.
• Padded Lip Inside Laptop Compartment Protects Laptop From Zipper.
• Luggage Trolley Compatible. Slide Trolley Handle Through Zippered Opening.

My Thoughts…

The first thing you notice about the bag when you look at it is how well-built it is. The material is of the highest quality. The fit and finish is superb. It is made from a material that will clearly endure a great deal of use and abuse. What first appears to be a relatively simple messenger bag is a far more complicated design. Yet, despite all of the complexity in the design each and every piece of the bag fits together perfectly. This seams are straight and strong. It looks rather plain at first but the inside flap and specific accent points have enough color to give it a personality all its own. Because the majority of the bag is black you don’t at first notice how many pockets there really are. You do notice the pulls, which are high-quality and easy to grab and use. That’s especially important since you may need to open the bag and grab something quickly when you’re on the go.

Just the materials that went into this device say a lot about it…

It has exterior fabric with a water-repellant coating and a contrasting water-repelling interior ripstop lining. Metal hardware is used for the buckle, strap adjuster and square-rings. And a soft Nylex® lining won’t scratch your gear.

Let’s take a look at the pockets and design…

It has one large zipper pocket on front for “plane tickets, wallet, water bottle and other quick access items”.

It has one large slip pocket on the back for “magazines, folders or paper documents” and two mobile phone/MP3 player pockets on back with “soft Nylex® lining, which won’t scratch your gear”.

A nice use feature is the flat handle on back (read, you don’t know it is there until you look for it) which is a great way to grab the bag to move it from one place to another.

I didn’t understand why there was a bottom zipper on the back pocket until I read this. It has a “Zipper-opened luggage trolley pass-through is incorporated on to the back of the bag”. That’s brilliant and I love the added functionality… especially when it is hidden from sight until you need it.

Another great design feature is the front pocket. It is two separate appearing pockets that then expand when the snaps are opened. Inside the pockets are pen slots and four flat slip pockets.

It has a smallish main compartment for laptop accessories. Smallish but quite usable. It also has a flat pocket inside that is good for papers and documents.

Finally, this is a notebook bag and… shocking… it has a nice padded compartment. It offers some nice bump protection and has a nice, soft, interior to protect your notebook. It even has a padded lip inside that protects the laptop from getting scratched by the zipper.

I mentioned the hidden spot for grabbing the bag. To really carry it has a permanently affixed shoulder strap that is high-quality and incredibly sturdy. This is not a strap which is going to come loose. Ever. The padded portion of the strap is free to move to the position that will be most comfortable and is white enough and padded enough that it will protect your shoulder to daily use. That’s important since, although a MacBook Pro only weighs 4 1/2 pounds the MacBook Pro and a few items feel heavier and heavier as the day goes on.

The company even puts a metal Terralinq™ serial number inside.This helps design recover lost bags. (I never figured this would work but my experience in Las Vegas proved its value.)

Finally, I like the fact that the company puts their logo on the medallion on the front flap. It has the same color as the accents on the rest of the bag and is subtle enough that it’s not a clear advertisement for the company. It looks more like a design feature. Although it is the actual book logo.

The booq Taipan Lift has an MSRP of just $89.95 for the small version and $99.95 for the large version. It can be ordered directly from booq. For a bag this well-designed that is a surprisingly low price in my opinion.

What I like — Incredibly well designed and well built. Superb materials are used and they’re put together in such a way that this is a bag that will last you for many years. Several design features make it even more usable as you discover everything the bag is able to offer. I’m rather blown away by the price point of it.

What needs improvement — At this price point especially… there isn’t a thing. The only thing worth noting is that if you have to carry a lot with you this may not be the right back for you.

14 Responses to " booq Taipan Shadow Review "

  1. So Dan, the question of the day: iPad-worthy? Can I fit the iPad in the padded pocket, and then the docking station, keyboard, and magic mouse in other pockets? Whaddya think?

  2. Allistair Lee says:

    GD: booq Taipan Shadow- Review

  3. booq Taipan Shadow- Review | Gear Diary: Compact and lightweight yet surprisingly roomy and protective, its luxuri…

  4. Brad Hobbs says:

    RT @GearDiarySite: booq Taipan Shadow- Review

  5. Jaybot7 says:

    Really slick looking bag. But again with the courier style… there must be some way to make a cool looking, functional bag without a flap.

  6. Arty says:

    Howdy…. I’m trying to research a new bag specifically for travelling, I really like the quality of the Booq’s. Thanks for the reviews.

  7. Look what I’ve found!  Nice bag

  8. Schmidty says:

    I found it! And wow, it’s a really nice bag, so much attention to detail.  This is a bag I would enjoy owning. Really good review.

  9. This looks like a great bag.  I don’t own a Booq bag, but after reading this review, I’m definitely am interested.     

  10. Andrew says:

    This certainly looks like a well-designed bag.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This looks like a nice, sturdy little bag that would be handy to port my NC10 netbook around.  The luggage trolley feature would be extremely useful for travel, now that I’ve joined the 21st century and have luggage with a trolley handle. 😉  Booq makes some very nice bags/cases and this looks like it would hold up for years.

  12. Arvind Raghavan says:

    Looks like this could be my new bag of choice. Just need to convince my wife.

  13. Alan T. says:

    I also like high quality shoulder straps that durable and comfortable.  The booq Taipan shadow has plenty of pockets of knick knacks so that’s a plus for me.  Thanks Dan! 

  14. Anonymous says:

    I am all about pockets…the more the better.  This is just excellent.  It would be perfect for work.

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