Review: Booq’s Boa Slimcase M90 laptop bag - Macenstein

Review: Booq’s Boa Slimcase M90 laptop bag

When I upgraded from my 13-inch MacBook to my new 15-inch MacBook Pro, I discovered one of the hidden costs buying a larger laptop – namely, the need to buy a larger laptop bag. I put out a call to our faithful readers on Twitter looking for suggestions on good laptop bag manufacturers, and the name Booq came back on quite a few of them, so I decided to give them a try. Booq was nice enough to offer up one of their Booq’s Boa Slimcase M90 laptop bags for review, and being a sucker for black and orange, I was more than happy to let them.

boa slimcasem90 by booq

The Slimcase is what I would consider a “medium” sized laptop bag. Larger than a sleeve case, the Slimcase is divided into 2 main compartments: the rear of the bag holds your laptop, encased in a 1/2-inch thick high-density foam padding, and the front compartment is designed to hold accessories, phones, iPods, and the like. In fact, the front compartment almost has TOO many pockets, but we’ll get to that in a minute.


The overall build quality and feel of the Boa Slimcase is very nice. The outside over the case is made from a water-resistant ballistic nylon material, and I’ve found it very easy to keep clean over the past month or so. The outside is predominantly black, with bright orange piping on the rear, outlining the magazine pocket on the back.

boa slimcasem90 by booq

The interior of the Slimcase is bright red, and again sports the same orange piping accents as the exterior, only this time, it doesn’t look quite as cool as the orange-on-black combo found on the exterior. Somehow Orange on Red just reminds me of the old McDonald’s interiors. On the plus side, however, the bright red does make it easier to find things in your bag than with a traditional black interior, so perhaps that was the reason behind the decision.

The carrying strap has a seat-belt look and feel to it, and is attached with quality metal hooks. The shoulder pad is not luxurious, but decent. In general, there is a “young” feel to the bag. Not quite “backpack” age, but it doesn’t scream “business man” either.

boa slimcasem90 by booq
Above: It may look like all that stuff can fit in the Slimcase, but I would like to see it zippered. That Pantone swatch booklet will make the front bulge out quite a bit.


Aside from the magazine pocket on the back, the Slimcase also sports a matching panel on the front, although it lacks the orange piping of the rear pocket. Both are well suited to carry magazines or similar sized documents/folders, but 1 to 2 per pocket would be the limit. On the inside, the Slimcase opens to reveal a wealth of pockets. Booq describes them thusly:

1 Medium-sized pocket with zipper closure keeps accessories safely stowed on the interior of the flap
4 mesh accessory pockets of different sizes stretch to make room for those oddly shaped items
2 pen pockets and 3 medium-sized pockets with convenient magnetic closures (safe for your electronics) make sure you have a place for everything
and 1 large open pocket – the perfect place for documents

In general, all of these pockets are fine, unless you wish to fill them all. In general each of these pockets is designed to fit thin objects: iPods, cell phones, gum, pens, laptop remote, etc. But it is very easy to overfill the bag. For instance, if you wish to bring along your laptop’s power supply, it is really too large to fit in any of the contained pockets, so you’ll have to coil it up and try to fit it into the main compartment. It will fit, but it will also cause the bag to bulge a bit, and look slightly “full”. Try to add anything else, like my travel USB drive (which is actually quite small) and the bag has a hard time zippering and begins looking like John Goodman if he ate John Candy.

To be fair to the case, it IS called the SLIMcase, and as a medium-sized bag, you shouldn’t expect to be able to carry around as many accessories as you would in a larger bag, but a power supply is not something totally unreasonable to want to bring along. Personally, this is rarely an issue, as I sprung for a second power supply for my laptop, and I leave one home, and one at the office. But I do not think I would use the Slimcase for any type of vacation trip, where I am used to bringing along the extra hard drive, an iPhone, an iPod, an iPhone wall adapter, laptop power supply, and a book or two. The SLimcase is a nice choice for daily commuting, meetings, etc. where you will not be away from power longer than your battery lasts (which with the new MacBook Pros, is about 45 mintues). 🙁

boa slimcasem90 by booq


Aside from the space issue, which is really just MY issue more than a failing on the part of the Slimcase, the only other problem I have has to do with the zipper design. As you can see from the pictures, the SlimCase Boa has a bit of a curvy shape to the zipper, as opposed to a traditional “square” shape, up one side, across the top, and then down the side. I’m not sure if it is because of this curving, or because the zipper needed to be broken in, or because I am a spaz and needed to be broken in to the zipper, but it took about 3 weeks of use before unzipping the case did not feel like an awkward affair. This zipper arrangement and the tapered top of the bag help make the Slimcase look cool, but they makes opening it take a little getting used to (for me at least) and I also feel that in tapering the top, the Slimcase sacrificed the ability to store slightly boxier items (like the MacBook Pro’s power supply) without adding an unsightly bulge.

boa slimcasem90 by booq


Booq’s Boa Slimcase M90 laptop bag is a sturdy, stylish, and light weight bag ideal for short trips where the need for accessories is not critical. While the bag boasts many storage compartments, you will be constrained by how much stuff you can cram into them before closing the bag becomes an issue. If you are looking to find one all-purpose bag, odds are you’ll have to go a bit larger than the Slimcase, but for daily commuting or going to business meetings, the Slimcase is a good choice. Just be warned, it will be quite obvious if you try to steal office supplies while using the Slimcase.

Price: $105
Pros: Light-weight, durable, looks cool, padded compartment for laptop
Cons: Unique tapered shape may have compromised storage, curvey zipper can take some getting used to

4 Responses to “Review: Booq’s Boa Slimcase M90 laptop bag”
  1. iShervin says:

    pretty cool…

  2. beleff says:

    A very fair review, esp. as you seem to recognize that maybe this design just isn’t the right one for you. Unfortunate that booq doesn’t have more retail outlets to For anyone concerned about durability I have had a number of booq pieces – including a backpack and a just-big-enough to hold a laptop/mouse/charger and throw over your shoulder sleeve (both models booq has retired) for 4 or 5 years now. They have held up INCREDIBLY well – the backpack specifically survived 2 years of weekly overstuffing and cramming under the seat in front of me without a single tear, zipper problem or anything else. I’ve since had to upgrade to a leather briefcase for appearances but miss the days when it was acceptable for me to walk into work with a backpack, and certainly can continue using the booq without issue. The sleeve remains in heavy rotation when I’m headed to the coffeeshop, bookstore or wherever.

  3. dizzy says:

    Looks nice, but I’m sticking to my sleeve, self control over not dropping it, and my man purse…I mean messenger bag.

  4. Iains Home says:

    I bought one of these for my Macbook nearly one year ago and love it…nearly as much as my Macbook (new convert to Mac 😉 ). Despite geting thrown about everywhere I go the bag looks as good as the day I bought it, very tough and durable and not a mark on it. The tapering I wasn’t sure about but now really love it, it’s is a great feature, along with the orange interior as it makes finding things easy and keeps it’s shape better – no bulging when full. The zipper does take some getting used when you start to pull the zip, but I found adding a grabber onto the zip cord (currently a star shaped toy) solves this. Storage is great – pockets for all I need, cd’s, pens, hard drives, mobile phone and main compartment well big enough to hold charger plus other stuff. Has other pockets too which I don’t use. Foam padding and protection is great, and is as good as the day I bought it. Only thing I would like is a short strap or handle for lifting short distances, long strap is awkward to use like this.
    Overall, 10 out of 10, would definitely buy this bag again and recommend it as first choice to anyone else, no question for me it’s by far the best bag out there and the price was very reasonable – even if it was double I would go out and but this bag again, it’s that good! For anyone thinking about buying it, go and buy it – you won’t regret it.

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