Flaws - definitely not ultimate
Side pockets much to narrow for anything--can't fit water bottle or my glasses case. The straps are terrible. They are narrow and are not padded (some of the other VB backpack straps are wide & padded), and there are metal buckles that attach at the bottom that dig into your back when you wear it. I wore it for 10 minutes and it was killing me. Also, the pocket on front is good & roomy, but it doesn't go all the way to the bottom of the pack, so if you put anything remotely heavy in there, it tips the whole pack over forward.
VB really needs to bring back the old Bookbag style, but add a zippered pocket to the back of it (like the one in the Double-Zip Backpack, which also has a couple of major flaws). The lack of a zippered pocket on the back of the Bookbag was just about its only flaw.
I could easily design an ultimate backpack or backpack/purse, and this is not it. VB has so many backpacks, but they all have glaring problems.
September 4, 2014
I got this backpack in African Violet. I am a college student that does mostly distance learning classes so it is great to keep my school stuff in. I am able to fit a binder, two spiral notebooks, three text books, and a brush and pencil case with my writing utensils in it. I was going to use the front flap pocket to put my iPad 2 with a VB case in. Wrong. My iPad will fit in the pocket, but the flap will not close. Since that didn't work, I tried to fit it in the slip pocket behind the flap pocket, but it isn't wide enough. I wish they would of tested the pockets with all iPads to make sure they would fit, especially in one of their own cases. That is the only reason I gave this backpack four stars. Otherwise, I would recommend this backpack to anyone.
August 13, 2014
Would be perfect with a few tweaks
When I first saw this backpack in the store I instantly fell in love! Instantly I had to run out to the car to grab my iPad to check that it would fit in the front padded tablet pocket. Unfortunately, my iPad would not fit into the front padded pocket (under the flap) because it is in a case. It would have fit perfectly had VB added (stronger) magnets a little higher up to allow for different closure heights (like on the Saddle Up). If I take my iPad air out of the case it fits perfectly, but who carries their iPad w/o case protection? No one I know. I just wish that VB would give a few extra inches on their tech compartments to allow room for tech devices that may be in protective cases, which I'm sure most people do. However, my iPad does fit in the slip pocket just behind the iPad pocket (which is meant for magazines), but it is not protected from the elements. I use the tablet pocket for my book.
The interior is roomy, and is great to allow me to carry my wallet, glasses, cosmetics bag, and even a diaper & wipes case so I can leave my diaper bag in the car when running in stores with my daughter. The only thing I would change for this pocket would be to place the zipper pocket either lower in the bag so it doesn't conflict with the back zip pocket, or lower the back zip pocket so they stagger one another. If you place items in the back zip pocket as well as the interior pocket, the bag becomes top heavy, and it's hard to get items in/out of the main compartment for the top bulk of the bag. Still, the bag does have room to get your essentials inside, which is nice for a working mom who doesn't want to carry another large bag with her (in lieu of my VB laptop carryall).
Still, I find that my biggest pet-peeve about this bag is the fact that you cannot use the side exterior (water bottle) pockets for water bottles. I have tried all sorts of bottles, and I have yet to find one that fit. VB should have given a little more room, and maybe even an elastic rim around this pocket to allow water bottles to fit inside, and to keep items from falling out. Like another person mentioned, it would have been nice to also see a key ring attached to one of the exterior pockets as well. Instead, I have to still find a water bottle that is not too large, and is 100% leak proof so I can carry it inside the bag w/o risking it leaking onto my iPad. (Maybe they should line the table pocket in plastic for extra protection from leaks...?)
Overall, this bag is a great bag, and it would be perfect should some of the flaws be fixed in the next edition. I certainly think that VB is on the right track with this addition. I look forward to see the improvements on the next update! :)
August 7, 2014