Booq Boa S Nerve Review: The bag of many pockets

Booq Boa S NerveI have never been satisfied with a laptop bag. They tend to be ugly, unwieldy, and either try to pack too many ridiculous features into a tiny package or leave your cords and chargers to fend for themselves in giant pockets seemingly designed to create a tangled mess. When I got the Booq Boa S Nerve (provided to me by the manufacturer) I figured it would fall under the “too many pockets,” umbrella, but I was surprised. Somehow Booq has managed to make a bag with a pocket for everything without it becoming a cluttered mess. I never thought I would use the phrase “intuitive design” about a bag, but that’s really what it boils down to.

Boa S Nerve inside
As you can see, the inside is packed with pockets, and that doesn’t even show another set that lean against the book you can see pictured in the pouch. The great thing is that all of the pockets have expandable profiles, so when they aren’t in use they don’t take up much space. On that lowest tier there is a set of neoprene pockets for pens and a larger neoprene sleeve I like to use for my Magic Mouse. Inside the larger pouch where the included laptop sleeve sits there are some larger utility pockets made of the same ripstop material as the rest of the inner lining. Those are perfect for chargers, cords, and battery packs. The thing is, you would know this without me telling you. It’s not that I think bags should have labels on the pockets, but when I open a bag and immediately know how to compartmentalize my gear (instead of trying to figure out the best way to store all of my cords and hope they won’t get tangled) I’m a happy guy.

The Boa S Nerve is great down to the smallest details, too. There’s a tag on the inside with a serial number that gets associated with the buyer so that, in the event of a lost bag, you can hopefully get your bag back. There’s a secondary strap on the shoulder strap that clips to the side of the bag, cinching it tight against your body for riding on a bike or if you need to run to catch your public transportation of choice. There’s a little piece of covered plastic on the back whose purpose eluded me until I set the bag on my chair the other day to load it up and just grabbed the thing by what I now recognize as a handle. No, it’s not revolutionary, and I probably should have thought of what it was, but I didn’t, and the fact that I instinctively grabbed the bag there shows me just how much thought went into the design. Right under that there’s a little pocket for your mobile device of choice.

On the whole, it’s the thought that went into this product that makes it great. If you aren’t interested in a messenger style bag, Booq has an entire line of products designed for geeks and tech professionals with a sense of style and a need for quality storage. You can find their line of products at


Gadget Teaser’s 2009 Holiday Gift Guide: Part 1

Flip MinoHDpure-digital-flip-mino-hd-custom
Pure Digital was kind enough to send me a MinoHD as part of its custom screen-printed series this year and I love it. For such a small camcorder it takes fantastic, 720p video and the thing couldn’t be easier to use. Flip also introduced customizable skins to the mix this year, so you can gift a Flip with the image of your choice, or use their design/pattern generators to make this a little extra special.

You can get the MinoHD in either 60min (4GB) or 120min (8GB) storage sizes for $199.99 or $229.99 respectively. Customization does not cost extra, so get something funky unless you want that classic industrial design.

Also Consider: Flip UltraHD

Joby GorillaMobilejoby-gorillamobile-tripod-flip
What’s a camcorder without a good tripod? No good at all, that’s what. Part of the problem with handheld camcorders is a lack of grippable parts for stability. Joby’s GorillaMobile can be bent around just about anything, including your wrist if you want to rig up a little wristmount system. Really, though, I like the GorillaMobile because it’s so small and versatile. It’s perfect for throwing in a bag to use at casual family functions and parties, keeping the 720p video on your new Flip nice and steady.

If you want something a little more substantial you could also consider the larger GorillaPod. Joby also makes a GorillaMobile specifically for the iPhone 3G/3GS and the GorillaTorch, a light sporting the same bendable legs. Check their official site for prices on each.

Also Consider: Vanguard VS41

Mophie Juice Pack Air1059_JPA-IP3G-BLK-8T
I tend to change my mind on iPhone cases all the time, but I always come back to the Mophie Juice Pack Air when I’m low on power. It minimally augments the size of the phone while providing an extra 60-80% battery life on the go. There are more powerful options out there, but they tend to be a little too bulky for my taste. Mophie’s Juice Pack, on the other hand, is a close fit without too many frills.

Mophie recently updated the line to include a soft-finish variety with the same power rating. It’s a nice addition, especially if you live in a humid climate like I do. You can get the Juice Pack Air in white, black, purple, or red for $79.95 from Mophie’s website.

Also Consider: Incase Power Slider 3G

Boa Nerve S/Lboa-nerve
I tried to make a conscious effort to recommend a bag other than the Boa Nerve from Booq but I just couldn’t do it. I’m in love with this messenger and I’m sure you know someone who would be, too. The Nerve comes in small and large sizes to accommodate different sized laptops. There’s a removable laptop sleeve, which is perfect for a quick trip to the coffee shop, and plenty of pockets should you be headed for a full day of work. One of the best features is the stability strap, which pulls bag snug against your back if you have to run for a train or take the fixed-gear for a spin.

Booq was having trouble keeping these in stock, but they’re available now and ship within 24 hours. You can get the Boa Nerve for $129.95 at the Booq website.

Also Consider: Timbuk2 Commute Slim

Barnes & Noble Nookbarnes-and-noble-nook
I hesitate to recommend this because I’m generally averse to ereaders. There are those among you who like these things, and you all probably know someone who wants one, so I’ll go against my best instincts for the sake of your friends. The Nook is best of the ereaders I’ve seen. Since no one, not even the major sites, have had a chance to review these it’s tough to say how that little color screen will pan out, but it seems like a decent idea. You also get the ability to lend your ebooks to your friends and share your own media between your computer and your iPhone.

One BIG caveat for this one: The Nook is completely sold out for shipments arriving during 2009. The next flight will land January 4th, so you could always give the gift of the late present, which can be pretty cool. Barnes & Noble wants $259 for this one.

Also Consider: Amazon Kindle

AeroPress Coffee/Espresso Makeraerobie-aero-press
Now that your loved ones will be spending all their hard-earned money on ebooks, they’ll need an inexpensive way to stay perky for those long reading sessions. The Aerobie AeroPress should be in every coffee lovers’ home, at least if they’re on a budget. It brews a decent cup of espresso and great Americano if you add a little water. Get a cheap frother and you can make your drink of choice in under two minutes and far cheaper than you’ll find at any cafe.

The press comes with a year’s supply of filters and everything you’ll need to make your perfect cuppa. The best part is the price, a mere $25.95 with free shipping from Amazon.

Also Consider: MyPressi TWIST

More good stuff to come in the Gadget Teaser 2009 Holiday Gift Guide tomorrow.