Review: Pacific Design Action II Backpack XL
We’ve reviewed a number of backpacks for Apple’s notebooks, ranging from hardshell models to huge carry-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink models, and things in between. This time, we had the opportunity to try out Pacific Design’s Action II Backpack XL, a $50 backpack that is designed to serve as both a standalone backpack and a computer bag.
Action II Backpack XL
Action II Backpack XL (Back View)
The Action II is a relatively large backpack (17.5″ x 13.5″ x 9″), but is not overly unruly. Think of most student backpacks you see at big box retailers–you can hold a few books/binders, a notebook computer, and all of your gadgets thanks to the various pockets and compartments. The backpack comes in one color scheme—black and “titanium grey”.
There are a number of sections, including an exterior zippered pocket, a compartment for pens/pencils/small gadgets, two side zipper pockets (one with an elastic water bottle holder), an iPod/MP3/CD player pocket (with a headphone pass-through), and the larger storage compartment for everything else. Inside that compartment is a smaller area for laptop storage.
What should be noted is that the Action II’s laptop compartment is merely a padded pocket, much like that found on Axio’s Swift. For most, this should provide adequate protection for any laptop, but if you need a bit more, purchases are encouraged to pick up a a sleeve of sorts, either from a third-party or Pacific Design’s Nucleus.
The Action II will hold a 17″ PowerBook/MacBook Pro, as well as anything as small as a 12″ PowerBook/iBook. A Velcro strap keeps the computer secure even, so small computers shouldn’t have the “person who wears a M shirt wearing an XXL shirt” feeling.
The build quality of this bag is top-notch, and it seems like it would survive the everyday bumps form anyone carrying their stuff to work, school, or wherever. We were impressed with the comfort-minded aspects that you get in a bag at this price. The shoulder straps are fat and well-padded, as is the carry handle. The back of the backpack is padded and breathable, much like the bags from Axio, proving to be rather comfortable even when carrying a lot. There’s even a waist belt for extra security.
Overall, the Action II Backpack XL (despite having a mouthful of a name) combines functionality, sturdiness, and comfort in a price that is pretty easy to live with. Giving you the option of being a regular backpack and a “computer bag”, this backpack is rather flexible and perfect for someone who doesn’t want to spend too much on a good way to carry their ‘Book.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The Action II Backpack XL is a rather capable backpack that can carry and protect a lot of your gear at a great price.
Pros: Integrated computer sleeve, well-made, good price
Cons: None significant