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Bobby Anti-Theft Bag Review - Why the XL might not be for you

Editors Note: This article was first published on Rhyn Review's YouTube channel on 20th June 2020, and is re-uploaded for readability.

If you wish to watch the review instead, click on the video above!

I was in the market for a new bag because my trusty Timbuk2 has a hole in it and it's growing bigger, everyday. The Bobby XL backpack here caught my eye, so I decided to drop some dollars on it and see, whether or not it is worth every cent I paid.

This bag is very thoughtfully designed. However, there was one drawback which irks me and I'll get into once I've properly introduced it to you.

Bobby XL Anti-Theft Backpack Review

Front view of the Bobby XL Anti-Theft Bag
Smooth and rubbery texture, but prone to damage. (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

This bag has one of the most iconic and simple exterior to the point that fakes have popped up copying its aesthetics. Depending on how you look at it, it might be bad because copies are usually inferior when it comes to the materials used. This is especially important because Bobby's XL bag is touted as a safety first; if you want to purchase the copies, be aware that you would most likely not be given the same protection the original bag offers.

First things first, the fabric on the outside is water resistant while the matte finish on the front gives it that recognizable design language. But it does get damaged and scratched easily, so I guess if you're rough with it it'll look like people have been trying their luck to steal from your bag.

Splash of water on the outer coating of the Bobby XL bag.
Water-resistant coating! (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

There's reflective strips over it so if you do cycle or walk in the dark carrying this giant around, at least you would be spotted and hopefully not run over by a car.

The back side has a breathable and comfortable mesh material that's soft to the touch. Paddings are also meshed as well, but I wouldn't recommend putting cards in these slots because they don't look like they can hold a card safely.

Putting a card into the card slot on the bag strap.
If you wanna put a card in, maybe something a little less valuable than a credit card? (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

Then there's this grippy part here that you can put over your luggage handle so you don't have to carry it. See what I mean by thoughtful?

Placing the bag on top of a luggage, and secured by a strap across the back of the bag.
It's little things like this that makes the bag more functional. (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

And then there's this external USB port that you can connect to your portable charger. The problem with this is that there are some portable chargers out there that do not have the plug-and-charge functionality. This might just make this port annoying to use because you have to open up your bag and press the power button on your portable charger. While useful, it works only if you have a charger that interfaces correctly with it.

Pugging in a USB A cable to the USB port on the bag.
Conveniently located on the right side! (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

Moreover, it may not support fast charging interfaces like Quick Charge or Power Delivery. I tested this by plugging in the USB into a wall socket with Quick Charge 3.0 and compatible cables, but my S8 does not utilise Quick Charge. So bear that in mind.

Finally, we have three hidden compartments which I find are quick and easier to access than the laptop area. I usually put my keys, AirPods and charging cables inside as these are the things in my bag I access frequently.

Opening the back of the bag to reveal a hidden slot for frequently used items.
Situated at the back of the bag, this is convenient for easy-access of your frequently used items. (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

Opening this bag up is a little different than the conventional bag packs. There's 3 degrees at which you can open them up. I call them the one-third, the 90 and the Split. As their name implies, depending on how much of the zipper you've released, the Bobby opens up more and more to allow for easier access to your belongings within. You have two slots, one of which can fit a 17" laptop while the smaller section fits at 12" tablet, like an iPad Pro for example.

I usually stuff my 10.5" iPad into the tablet compartment and my draft pad into the laptop area. Pencil case goes in like so, portable charger goes here and everything else is just everywhere. But remember when I said that there was a drawback that annoyed me?

Well, I enjoy traveling and I enjoy photography. In this day and age I want a bag that allows me to be extremely versatile with what I put inside. The Bobby XL does the opposite of versatility. While it is thoughtfully designed, it's also cursed in the sense that the focus on security takes away the volumetric space you can maximise in a big-ass bag like this.

Rhyn hugging the Bobby XL bag and realising it's too chonky.
Big chungus. (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

When I say big, I mean like, I don't even realise that I'm bumping my bag into people when I turn around and when I started realising it, I get mild anxiety on escalators wondering if my bag is intruding on other people's personal space.

And yet, I can't fit my A7II camera into the bag without having to maneuver it around. It feels weird that a bag this big, which by the way I have trouble hugging, can't fit a DSLR-sized camera.

Back view of the Bobby XL bag.
Looks really iconic though! (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

I suppose this is a trade off when they were designing a bag that prioritized security. But, if we are talking about security, I mean my camera is worth a lot of money. And security is usually a form of protection for something that's expensive. So when Bobby's biggest XL option cannot fit a mirrorless full frame camera and one lens, it makes me have to consider if $129 is worth putting in for when I can barely fit something of precious value inside this constrained space.

Overall, this bag is good for people who prioritize security over space. I wouldn't call it a compromise in a sense, it's a product that's targeted towards a specific need. So if you feel that you want the peace of mind that your belongings are safer and are willing to give up bag space, definitely consider the Bobby bag as your next purchase.

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