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VINE VOICEon December 27, 2011
There are fancy, professional notebook carriers, and there is the functional rugged kind that you know can take a licking and keep on ticking. This is the later kind that can also sub as the former. Yes, I realize there are designer pretty professional looking and quality products too, that men and women have been using for years to travel across the world and back, lugging to their offices. A lot of those can lose some functionality. Some of those designer wares are very nice I am sure, but I actually own a Targus that I dragged around Tokyo with me and to training in Wisconsin and found it worthwhile. Compared to this, my old Targus a little dated though. Kind of difficult to get my aging dell in and out of at TSA checkpoints, and not as comfortable against my back. My older backpack also limits me in terms of size on the notebook although it accepted my oversized battery just fine.

Here's the thing with this backpack, it's rugged. This isn't just an item I would feel comfortable taking with me on a trip to an airport and then a hotel. I could throw this thing in the back of a van, pick-up or car and head out camping and feel comfortable that my items, notebook, tablets, mp3 player, mobile phone, and heck even a place for my water-bottle would be fine. Deluxe is an understatement. This has compartments, mesh pockets, zippers, and padded areas for almost everything here. I am kind of the same way with my backpacks as I am with my purses. I do not want a place to throw everything into a giant hole to dig through it later. I want, I need compartments for everything. This has a place for everything! and more padding than I have ever seen in a backpack.

Let's be honest here, I am a sizable lady, and this fits me well. I could, and have, filled this up and had it sit comfortably on my shoulders with the weight properly distributed. I am, obviously, not going to run a marathon in this thing, but I have lugged it around over, shall we say, not flat surfaces and found it comfortable. And when I said it has a spot for your tablet, I am not kidding. It has a padded sleeve to stick an e-reader or tablet separate from the notebook protected area. There are spots for pens, credit/business cards; it says you can use the zippered pocket for water bottles but smaller ones fit in the mesh pouches too. It's designed really well. With my older Targus bag, you could get a lot into it but good luck getting it out, especially on a plane after you pull it from under the seat and are trying to maneuver around the coach sized area to get a book out or that magazine you crammed in there somehow but is now stuck underneath your purse you had force down in there.

I really love this bag.

There are a couple of cautions though I have to mention. This is a sizable backpack, has to be to get those 17inch notebooks in there, but you have to be more cautious about not overfilling it if you are going to take it on a plane and want to stick it under a seat. It has a nice slimmer top design so if you are paying attention at all, you should be able to manage. The other issue is that the more TSA friendly notebook compartment lacks the Velcro strap I am used to, so if you whip this thing around, silly I know, with it unzipped and open, it's coming out same with anything else you put in the non-zippered compartments, or Velcro pouches.

Lastly, the bottom of the backpack is water-resistant, not your standard affair in many backpacks and fairly strong against rips so far. The zippers feel hefty and aren't hard to work or feel likely to snag or get stuck. It's made in China, but it is clearly a quality product. The anti-shock pad at the bottom, it's labeled, feels pretty thick and likely to absorb some impact, say if you drop it suddenly or set it down too quickly. You can also fold it upward if you want to or need to make your backpack thinner.

Finally for business purposes, it looks nice, has a location to hold your files to keep them from getting folded or otherwise damaged and pretty much unisex with is all black design. Whether you are traveling for business or just jamming your car for a family/friend trip, this would make life just a little easier for traveling and protecting those electronics you spent so much buying so don't skimp on padding.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was able to do a direct comparison between this and the SwissGear SA1908 ScanSmart Backpack. And it turns out that deciding which pack to grab on the way out is surprisingly one of the hardest decisions one could have to make. Both packs are obviously of the best quality with a similar nylon shell, strong stitching, and smooth zippers. Both are designed to fit 17" laptops and have similar interior volumes, and yet the features vary widely. Let's have a look at key points:

-The Targus is perfect for a user carrying a laptop and a tablet and/or Kindle. In front of the laptop compartment is a soft fabric lined pocket to hold a tablet against the laptop and protect the screen from scratches. The very front pocket is also soft with a piece of padding that fits the newest Kindle nicely.

-The SwissGear may be better for carrying just a laptop or two laptops. It has the ScanSmart feature, which is great when TSA allows it to work (sometimes they make you remove your computer anyway, either out of ignorance or their suspicion that you packed incorrectly for it to work - that makes it easier just to remove it sometimes rather than risk a fight with them). And I often store a second laptop in the ScanSmart opening.

-I love that on the Targus, the zipper pulls for the main compartment and the two side compartments can be placed between the bag and your back, thwarting casual thieves. As an extremely paranoid person, this gives extra peace of mind. For that matter, I really like the unique design of these pockets. The side pockets can be really useful, and the big compartment can be accessed from a larger opening. But that uniqueness comes at a cost...

-...and that cost is the looks. I didn't like the looks on the picture, but then it grew on me. In person, I don't really like it that much, but it might be growing on me. I guess the tradeoff is simple: you get a very unique design that works great and you get some serious padding for your electronics and some extra comfortable straps, but that all equals a slightly awkward looking pack. It's not too bad, but I think an accent color would go a long way. In contrast, the SwissGear under observation is quite beautiful and more traditional, yet not as padded or protected.

-The Targus came in a very thin box. It has a semi-rigid pad on the bottom that can fold up to flatten it out or fold down and attach with velcro to add some structure to the main compartment. This is also a very smart feature.

-The SwissGear has a phone/MP3 player holder with earphone exit, for those interested. That's not the best one I've ever seen though, as it is only a hanging cradle for the device.

-The Targus has more padding, while the SwissGear has a better airflow system for your back.

Conclusion: I really love both of these backpacks, and I'm surprised how different two top notch backpacks can be. I can see how the designers have to pick and choose the features they want to incorporate, because you really just can't have it all without making the pack bigger, and I wouldn't want that. They both deserve five stars, absolutely. The Targus strikes me as the pack for someone serious about the transportation and protection of their electronics, or anyone else who is intrigued to try this unique, excellent design.
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on March 7, 2012
This is a huge bag that is well constructed. The bottom is a leather material and allows the bag to stand up by itself (more or less). The stitching appears to be good quality and pockets are plentiful.

Unfortunately, I had to return it since my Asus Republic of Gamers series 17.3" G74SX-XN1 "notebook" doesn't fit in the padded laptop area. It's about an inch too narrow to account for the additional heat exchanger the Asus notebook has sticking out of it's back. Which is too bad, because i really like the look and feel of this bag.

Going to try the Targus Drifter II to see if it fits in there...
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 21, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got the Targus Demolition Backpack to replace my old one, and what a great difference it makes. It's the perfect everyday backpack for a geek who can't leave home without a few gadgets. Yes, I tried to use only one device, but I can't help myself, I must have my stuff, because I use each for different tasks.

It has plenty of pockets and dedicated compartments for organizing one's value possessions. No more rummage into a backpack at the most inconvenient times.

The two front compartments in this backpack are a great plus. One is scratch-resistant and padded to facilitate the pulling or storage of a Smartphone and/or a Kindle, or any other gadget one needs handy. And the other, comes with slots to put in an ID and debit cards for secure storage, but quickly access.

So in the end, I'm carrying inside of it my Smartphone, my netbook, my Targus slim lap desk, an iPad inside an iMainGo XP portable speaker case, a mouse, a portable rechargeable battery pack, USB flash drives, and if I'm traveling with my kid, her iPad will join all of these gadgets. And of course, the corresponding chargers for every device.

The Targus Demolition Backpack will work great as a traveling bag too. When the inner lower panel is set, makes it more roomy, and it can accommodate clothes for a weekend and some personal toiletries. I'm taking it with me the next time I travel to New York to visit my family. It might be the only bag I ever need.

Having two water bottles holders is awesome, because when I travel with my daughter, I must hold her bottle too. By the way, behinds the holders, there is a zippered compartment to storage an small umbrella or anything else.

Besides all of the above, another of my favorite feature is the padded shoulder straps that joined with the waist buckles facilitates carrying any load one puts inside.
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on May 4, 2012
I thought this bag was alright when I got it (I really like the side pockets, they are massive) but I have only been using it for about a month and already the seams are ripping at both shoulder straps and the carrying handle. I am not overloading it at all and carried everything I am carrying now plus an extra laptop and all its accessories in another laptop backpack for the last four years. I need it to hold out for one more trip and then it looks like I will be trying to return this and buying something else. I will not be buying another one of these.
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on May 14, 2012
I would send it back, but I'm in afghanistan. It started out looking like a great pack, but once I started wearing it everyday, it disintegrated. Almost all the zipper tabs have broken off, the straps are ripping from the bag. Al lI had in it was my lap top and and extra shirt. If they sent me a new one, I would send this one back. I am getting ready to order a different one if I don't hear back form these guys...

Disappointed in Afghanistan...
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on September 19, 2013
Original comments 10-Sep-2013:
This backpack is excellent for travel and general general tech gear. I spent months testing backpacks before finding this one. I needed the largest backpack that can still fit under an airplane seat.This one has dimensions slightly larger than the allowable "personal item" (not "carry on") limit of 17 inches tall, 10 inches wide and 9 inches thick. A backpack without a roller system has enough squish that the extra few inches is fine. The critical dimension is height otherwise it sticks out into the floor area. I average 30 flights each year so I have been able to practically test the bag fit on a wide assortment of aircraft. The exterior pockets are very convenient for accessing all of the small items that I need quickly. The straps are made with wide webbing and are well padded so the pack feels comfortable and durable. The connection of strap top to the bag looks like it could possibly fail over time (fabric wrinkles), but I am hopeful that it is well anchored to the bag and will outlast the rest of the bag. The one last low priority feature that I like is that the pack actually stands up on its own with a clever interior flap to make loading and unloading much easier.
This is a long review, but wrote it for people who are very critical of packpacks and are thorough in the search to find exactly what is needed. This level of detail allowed me to select my last bag fulfilled my needs for 6 years, but eventually wore out. Let me know if it helps in your backpack selection.
Update: Sep 19, 2015:
After 2 years of low to medium use and 14 week-long trips this pack showed its major weakness: the shoulder strap is poorly designed. The attached photo shows the gap between the structural webbing that is attached to the top of the pack and the webbing that is attached to the bottom of the pack. In between only the foam and nylon covering of the strap bears all of the load. This is the equivalent of having two strong chains linked together with a single link made of flimsy string. The second image shows a repair that a local shoe repair shop made for me. It is not perfect, but it compensates for the major structural flaw in the pack.has today. If you buy the pack I recommend having a repair shop with the capability of sewing through heavy material such as leather to add a piece of webbing to the 3 inch gap on each shoulder strap. I do hope that Targus is paying attention and makes this simple modification to the strap design. This would turn a well designed backpack layout into one that is also durable.
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on January 5, 2013
i have had a swiss army laptop backpack for 5 years that i absolutely LOVE, so much so...that i bought a 2nd one which got jacked when my car got broken into, but my 1st one actually had my laptop in it so i guess there was a "bright side." but when my 15.5" laptop's hard drive fried shortly thereafter... i replaced it with a 17.5" toshiba satellite (which is AWESOME!) however i totally overlooked the fact that it might not fit in my swiss pack and sure enough, when i got it a couple weeks ago i was super bummed that it really didn't fit inside. (it will fit but you really have to work the zipper shut and the safety clasp won't snap closed.)

so i have spent HOURS and HOURS searching amazon for a new swiss pack but after reading reviews on the newest swiss packs realized that they either won't fit a 17.5" laptop (even though they say they will,) or the "swiss army" exceptionally functional design just wasn't the same. my old pack has so many cool features like amazing pockets and compartments to hold anything and everything, a built on case to hold your cell phone right on the strap, a media pocket with an earplug jack built right into the strap, an awesome caribiner keychain, etc..

anyways, i got frustrated looking at 4 million different backpacks online and after reading some of the positive reviews for this targus, i decided i couldn't wait until swiss army / wenger comes out with one to fit my new laptop and i would get this one instead.

well, i don't know if these people have never actually owned a quality backpack before, but this thing is a piece o' crap.
yeah my laptop fits inside but who cares... it costs $80 and it feels like it will literally rip apart if ever decide to actually put my laptop in it and swing it over my shoulder. padding? c'mon get real... there's no padding. not to mention when i recieved it, the inside pockets looked like they were sewn together by a chinese quadraplegic. i think the reason they call it a "demolition" pack is because if you actually use it to lug your laptop around in, your laptop will be demolished in short order.

i boxed this targus up and shipped it back faster than you can say UPS. whoever wrote a positive review of this thing must either work for the company or they shop at dollar general on the regular.

if you're still thinking about buying this backpack, you can save yourself the $80 and run down to the local grocery store and grab yourself a paper sack... i guarantee it would last longer than this p.o.c..
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on December 22, 2014
Poor stitching on straps. Started tearing apart in about 30 days of use. I wouldn't recommend this product for frequent travelers. I tried to return to Amazon but this item was not eligible to return after 30 days. I have attached a photo circling the damaged area.
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VINE VOICEon March 2, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Some of you are probably smarter than I am and looked at the measurements on this bag and thought "That's pretty big." I didn't really take those into consideration--and have found this thing to be enormous.

However, you can see the pockets and sizes on the product description. I'll say this: I found all to be as advertised. Pockets everywhere, large sleeve in the back for a laptop, slightly sleeve for a tablet. I was able to load in: laptop, Kindle Fire, Kindle, Franklin Planner with the whole year's calendar, a 3-inch 3-ring binder full to capacity, 4 other hardcover books, and all the pens, pencils, highlighters, and note cards I needed for a graduate school project.

Now, how about its sturdiness? I cannot spare a laptop to learn if the bag has good padding, but I can give you the "egg carton test" results: when dropped straight down from my back to the floor, no eggs were damaged. When dropped on the couch and allowed to roll to the floor, no eggs were damaged. When it hit the ground on the curb, a few eggs were cracked.

So, my conclusion is that the normal tosses and hard-set-downs this bag will get will not damage the laptop in it.

In my effort to reduce animal testing, I have not seen whether I can put all three of my cats inside, but I believe they would all fit. Whether the zipper would hold under those conditions remains untested.

I can see where the reviewer that mentioned the grab handle rubbing against your neck could have that problem--if you look at the product picture, that loop sticking up? That's flattened down and is right between the shoulder straps. It doesn't bother me, but it could bother you.

Beyond that, if you need to carry a week's worth of supplies plus a laptop, this bag is worth the look.
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