The Booq Folee XM is by any measure an expensive bag. Like Apple equipment it proclaims that it was designed in California (but made in China). Also like Apple equipment you can get cheaper. When confronted with a laptop bag that costs over £100, it’s only right and proper to question the sanity of such a purchase. After all, you can pick up a bag for thirty quid or less in any high street.
So what does £109 buy you? Well the Folee XM is certainly smart looking, but it’s clearly not a fashion item (like the Knomo range www.knomo.com). The outer material is tough nylon while on the inside a softer material is used to avoid scratching your PowerBook and iPod.
Unlike the larger Cobra model, the Folee doesn’t have a removable sleeve for your laptop. It does have a very soft, heavily cushioned compartment for a computer, though. The point of any laptop bag is to keep your laptop safe yet, remarkably, many bags seem to lack this major feature. Booq has always regarded the safety of your laptop as paramount, and the Folee demonstrates this commitment well. All the nifty pockets in the world mean nothing if the bag can’t keep your laptop free of dings and scrapes.
That said, the Folee is positively bristling with nifty pockets. There’s an easily accessible iPod pocket where the shoulder strap joins the bag, with a slit for the headphones to poke through. There’s another easily accessible (maybe too easy) pocket on the side secured by strong magnets, and there’s a middle pocket, which is safer for your valuables.
One thing I have found with almost all laptop bags is the lack of space for power supplies. This may be a symptom of being designed outside the UK, but the British plug must be the biggest, ugliest power connection there is. Its ungainly shape is really not designed for portability and can cause havoc in a laptop bag. At worst there is no room for the plug, but even if there is room for the plug, it can often be in a position to poke through thin protection and dent your PowerBook. I’ve learnt this from bitter experience.
The Folee fairs reasonably well here. There is room, if not a designated space, for the lumbering UK plug and power supply. Also the padding between pockets seems good enough to avoid the three-pronged attack on your laptop.
The Folee XM manages to be a functional and safe laptop bag without sacrificing too much in the looks department. You will certainly find better-looking bags on the market, and cheaper, but likely at the expense of your computer’s safety.