Ogio Metroid Laptop Backpack Review (pics)

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Ogio Metroid Laptop Backpack review with pictures

After many frustrating years of being tied to a desktop for all my computing needs, I finally purchased a notebook computer. After one trial run away from home, I realized that the tiny business-messenger-style bag that accompanied my purchase would not work size wise or comfort wise for all the books and accessories I wanted to carry around, so I set about investigating what options existed for an ergonomic and big-enough bag.

I figured I’d want the basics in my bag: durability, carrying comfort for me and protection for my laptop. But I also wanted:

  • A separate laptop compartment (so you don’t have to dig through the main compartment just to get your computer out for airport security)
  • A sternum strap to hold the straps onto my narrow, sloping shoulders
  • Plenty of pockets for organization
  • Some small degree of camouflage for my notebook computer bag looks that don’t shout, “Expensive laptop in here!”
  • Backpack style — after one day with the messenger-bag freebie my back was killing me

I spent some quality time here at NotebookReview with the available bag reviews and sonicdivx’s enlightening list of bag manufacturers many of whom I had never heard of before. The bags I started finding most interesting included:

After setting aside the Sherpani Luna as not-dedicated-enough to notebook protection (although I did think that something for rock climbers would probably be pretty sturdy in general) and setting aside the Boblbee as too expensive and styled one step closer to Hollywood than I was ever going to get, no matter how much I tried, I waffled for quite a while between the Tom Bihn Brain bag and the Ogio Metroid. In the end the sleek looks and pocket selection of the Ogio Metroid (at about half the price of the Tom Bihn) won out. I picked mine up from an online retailer for about $80 coincidentally the cheapest of the bags that I had been considering. I threw a bone to the Tom Bihn folks, though, and grabbed one of their Monolith notebook sleeves to provide overkill levels of protection inside the Ogio bag I was getting more on how that worked out in the next section.

The Ogio Metroid


The Ogio Metroid appears sleek but packs a walloping 2250 cubic inches (37 liters) of computer and stuff (view large image)

The Ogio.com website lists the following as specifications for the Metroid. I’ll talk about each of them to some degree in my review section:

  • Back panel side entry padded laptop sleeve
  • Front vertical file organizer
  • Large center storage area
  • Power cord and mouse storage
  • Four large exterior pockets
  • Neoprene top grab handle
  • Weatherproof fleece-lined audio pocket with headphone exit port
  • Heavy duty reinforcements
  • Plane ticket sleeve
  • Sternum strap
  • Fits most 15″ laptops

Notebook-computer side-entry compartment

The backpack has four important compartments. The notebook-computer compartment zips straight up one side, at the part of the bag closest to the back of the wearer. The dedicated compartment offers my 14.1-inch widescreen-format machine an adequate amount of headroom. When I slip my machine into its neoprene pajamas, it just fits through the vertical zipper, but once it’s inside there’s enough ease that I can reach back in to grab it for extrication with neither access problems nor abraded knuckles.


The side-entry zipper compartment features plenty of padding and keeps a notebook computer snugly near the wearer’s back in use. (view large image)

In the flurry of online shopping for my backpack solution, I had picked up a Tom Bihn Monolith sleeve. When I ordered, I thought I had confirmed that the external measurements of the Monolith sleeve would allow it to fit into the notebook-computer compartment of the Ogio bag. Apparently I was about a half-inch off, though, because the Monolith does not fit through the vertical zipper of the Ogio Metroid (although I think it would be fine once inside thanks the headroom that extends beyond the zipper’s top). Happily, the Monolith does fit perfectly in the next compartment out (the “huge dumping-ground compartment” coming up next), so I will still be able to make use of it next time I want to bring my own LAN party on a trip.

 
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Although the Tom Bihn Monolith sleeve doesn’t fit into the notebook-computer compartment, it fits well into the huge dumping-ground compartment, enabling users to take 2 well-protected notebook computers along if needed (Tom Bihn Monolith not included).

My worries about needing a separate sleeve for adequate protection for my notebook computer were put to rest, though, once I felt around inside the Metroid notebook-computer compartment. There’s at least an inch if not two inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of firm foam padding the bottom of the compartment, and the compartment itself is suspended slightly above the bottom of the pack to offer a little more give when the pack is set down on a hard surface. Stiffened foam sheets divide the machine from both the back of the wearer and the items in the next compartment. They meet at the top in a triangle shape to offer some protection from overhead bumps. There’s not much padding on the sides (the narrow ones toward the outside world), but the width of the stiffened foam sheets means the machine is quite well protected from all but the most pointed and narrow bump hazards.

Huge dumping-ground compartment

The next compartment out from the wearer is a huge dumping ground for just about anything you can imagine. A dual-pull zipper smoothly extends in a huge U to reveal a compartment 20 inches (51 cm) tall at its tallest point and 12 inches (30 cm) wide at its widest. If you had nothing else in the pockets outward from this one, you could take advantage of nearly 8 inches (20 cm) of room measured from the wearer outward (about 3 major college textbooks stacked together). The last few inches of that space are shared with the file folder pocket, which is suspended just above the floor of the dumping-ground compartment. The dumping-ground compartment does not impinge on the notebook-computer compartment at all, though.


The zipper of the huge dumping-ground compartment opens wide for easy access.(view large image)

I was able to fit a pair of men’s size 11 tennis shoes plus a bulky rain coat and lots of incidental extras in the dumping-ground compartment with no problem.


Plenty of room for gym clothes, textbooks or other ephemera exists in the huge dumping-ground compartment. (view large image)

Surprisingly roomy file-folder compartment

Because the zipper of the next important compartment outward from the wearer starts so much lower from the top of the backpack, I was surprised to find that it held regular-sized file folders so well. Legal-sized papers would not fit in here, but you could easily slide a 3- or 4-inch stack of file folders into its three subdivided compartments. The dividers mean you can carry lots of papers without having them all slide to the bottom of the bag and get wrinkled, plus they add a degree of organization for folks who use the bag for class work (one binder per compartment) or business (one client file per section).


The file-folder compartment swallows a regular-sized file folder of documents and 6 issues of National Geographic with room to spare. (view large image)

Obligatory pen-and-pencil organizer compartment

Farthest out from the wearer comes a smallish pocket that includes slots for 3 pens, a key lanyard, an open pocket, a zippered pocket, an ID window pocket and a hook-and-loop-secured pouch that the manufacturers suggest would be good for a small multi-tool. The overall pocket measures about 8 inches (20 cm) wide and 9 (23 cm) inches tall and zips open on a gusseted hinge that make it easy to reach in and mess around with whatever is stored inside. For folks who carry around CDs or DVDs of music or data, this pocket would be a great place to store a short stack of them in a case the gussets provide enough side-to-side control that the discs won’t fall out when you open the zipper.

 
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The organizer compartment works with and without a disc case.


Ogio provides icons for most of its pockets in case users require direction in their organizational scheme. (view large image)

The fun pockets

Scattered around the bag are an additional six smaller pockets. The coolest of these is the music-player compartment. It occupies the angle of the outside of the pack between the dumping-ground zipper and the lower-down file-folder zipper and is lined in soft fleece to reduce scratches to your mass-drive device. The zipper is covered in an extra layer of water-resistant tape to keep water out (it zips like normal, but the tape edges meet very close to one another to cut down on water entry), and there is a plastic port to pull your headphone cord through for on-the-go listening comfort.

 
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A tape-covered zipper and plastic port protect music devices from water, while the inside is lined in fleece with labels suggesting either music or sunglasses would fit in well.

For your pointing device, small power supply, cell phone and sunglasses (or whatever) there are four curvy pockets studded on the outer edges of the backpack. They are not perfectly square in fact, the lower set measures 8 inches (20 cm) from front to back, and smoothly develops from 3 inches (8 cm) tall at its low edge to 7 inches (18 cm) at its high one, with maybe an inch or so of stack-width the whole way, while the upper set measure 6 inches (15 cm) by 5 inches (13 cm) by 1 inch (3 cm) in a parallelogram shape so your mileage may vary with what you can fit into them,. For things you grab frequently, like makeup, a compact camera or a tape measure, they are really convenient, though.

 
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The side pods will hold some power supplies, pointing devices, cell phones and the like…but your mileage may vary.

The last fun pocket is a stash-slot open to the air. Closer to the wearer, it’s 10 inches (25 cm) wide, while farther from the wearer it tapers to 8 inches (20 cm) wide. It occupies the space between the file-folder compartment and the pen-and-pencil organizer pocket and consists of net sides that allow the organizer pocket to cantilever out from the main body of the pack by about 2 inches (5 cm). I put my map and a paperback book in there when I travel and am happy to have them so readily available.


The open stash pocket works great for slim items like notepads and maps. (view large image)

The straps

The shoulder straps are nicely padded and curve inward slightly at the sternum-strap attachment point to fit comfortably around your shoulders. The sternum strap attaches firmly and has a bit of elastic under it to allow the wearer to breathe comfortably while still holding the shoulder straps on. The straps feature about 7 inches (18 cm) of vertical adjustment space, so most wearers should have no problem finding a location that fits their body type. As a bonus, the spare adjustment webbing can also be used to attach a cell phone , camera or PDA that has a belt-clip-style attachment.

The bag does not feature a hip belt, but it does have a very comfy grab-handle at the top (between the tops of the shoulder straps) that makes hauling it in and out of cars and overhead compartments a breeze.


The sternum strap’s excess adjustment webbing could be used to strap on a smaller bag for a camera or cell phone (smaller bag not included). Straps modeled here by a throw pillow 🙂 (view large image)

Wear comfort/weight

Wearing the backpack is very easy. Even fully packed, it sits low and snug on the back. There is very minimal channeling provided on the part of the pack that rests against the wearer’s back, though, so for long treks (or running to a connection at the airport) it is likely to feel hot and potentially sweaty. Dress accordingly if you know you have to transform yourself into a formal business entity at the end of your walk take off your suit jacket and carry it in your hands, for instance, rather than steam it full of wrinkles under your heavy and warm pack.

I weighed my pack on a 40-year-old postal scale and found it to be very close to the advertised 3.25-pound (1.5 kg) weight. For as big and sturdy as the pack is, I find it to be delightfully light. I often find myself packing a 30-pound load of computer, accessories, books and paper and am glad the bag itself is adding so little to my load while still sturdily hauling so many pounds of stuff.


The Ogio Metroid doesn’t weigh too much for as big as it is. (view large image)

Overall looks

I like the looks of this bag it doesn’t scream “laptop” or “cubicle drone” and has some nice visual touches with the curvy outer pockets. I chose the indigo color, but the available chocolate-bone scheme really caught my eye. I decided for the darker color to avoid the inevitable dirt-on-white look. I was surprised at how dark the indigo color ended up being. It looked brilliantly sapphire on all the web sites I checked out, but it is definitely a more subdued navy-blue in person. Had I needed the pack for all-business use, the black-on-black would have served admirably. The bright-red fire color was not available at the time I ordered.

Size

Ogio’s website shares the following dimensions for the overall bag:

  • 20 inches (51 cm) tall
  • 13 inches (33 cm) wide
  • 13.5 inches (34 cm) deep

They say the Metroid offers a capacity of 2250 cubic inches (about 37 liters).

The folks at Ebags claim that the Metroid’s notebook-computer compartment will accommodate machines up to 14.5 inches (37 cm) by 10.5 inches (27 cm) by 2.5 inches (6 cm). My 14.1-inch widescreen notebook computer measures 13 inches (33 cm) by 9.75 inches (25 cm) by 1.5 inches (4 cm) and fits very comfortably. I encase it in a neoprene wrapper to prevent it from sliding around much probably unnecessarily and it does fine.

Conclusions

I’m really well pleased with the Ogio Metroid. The zippers, fabric and buckle hardware all feel very sturdy, and the bag has already done a great job protecting my laptop on a couple cross-country flights. Fully loaded, the Metroid does raise the eyebrows of flight attendants who are visually measuring carryons, but cutting back on just a little of the travel clutter means it fits in the overhead compartment or under the seat ahead of you with no problem. The bag is comfortable to carry and looks nice to boot a great package for protecting and hauling the bigger investment of a quality notebook computer.

Pros

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Big enough for almost any classroom/business situation
  • Provides a plethora of organization opportunities
  • Seems very durable and well made
  • Features a sternum strap

Cons

  • No dedicated water-bottle pocket (have to toss water bottle in the top of the dumping-ground compartment, so it can get a little lost)
  • No hip belt
  • Might be so big that it allows you to take more stuff than you really need on a flight and cause carryon-size troubles at the gate
  • Soft backpack style means the bag slouches when empty and must be propped up to be filled
  • Dark interior color of most pockets means some small things will be hard to see without bright, direct lighting
  • The wearer’s back might get hot since there’s minimal air channeled up underneath the bag during use

Online availability

The Ogio site lists 11 online retailers of Ogio products. These links take you directly to the Metroid page of each retailer:



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