GadgeTell Review: booq Boa brief

Sections: Gadgets / Other, Lifestyle, Miscellaneous, Reviews

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Bags are not simply just vehicles to hold our belongings as we travel from here to there. They are also a reflection of our self-perception as well as the image we want to convey outwards.

Yet like any article of clothing or accessory, money is best-spent on quality products that will last. And by ‘last’ I also mean appearances as well. The booq Boa brief happens to be one of those messenger bag briefcases with a timeless type of look.

The booq Boa brief features design and function that are classy now, would have been classy years ago, and will stay classy for years to come.

Design & Style

booq Boa brief briefcase bag full

Fully-loaded with with size/bulk of items I would typically carry for professional/academic purposes

What I like about the Boa brief is that no individual aspect draws attention. Aside from the leather zipper pulls, the handle, and a small tag on the side with the booq logo on it, there isn’t much about this brief to pinpoint-focus on.

I find beauty in this aspect – being able to take the bag in visually as a whole. The overall shape, lines, and contour evoke a sense of silent strength and confidence that speaks for itself. It blends in the crowd of busy life when you’re focused on something else, standing out only when you’re close enough to pay attention.

It seems only fitting that this brief follows under the Boa line.

Those who have used briefcases or messenger bags for professional or academic endeavors will appreciate how the booq Boa brief stands up on its own. The bag tapers out with a trapezoidal-shape. That’s right, you can set this bag, fully loaded, down on the ground without having to prop it up against a wall, chair, or your leg.

Many of you are getting excited right now. I know I did. I thought back to some of my previous years, when I worked in outside sales. Oh, to not have a bag fumble and plop over right before (or after) something is taken out. It can a nuisance when pens, loose papers, or whatever else inside the bag shifts and slides out.

booq Boa brief briefcase bag contents

The same items, laid out on a table

Some people may be clueless to what I’m talking about, but I think that you business professionals know what I mean. Especially those of you in sales, who understand that sales can be as much an art of performance as it is about meeting needs.

One small distraction to interrupt an illustration or derail a thought process can mean the difference between closing and not.

The top of the Boa brief, along the handle, has a hard-plastic internal frame for support. This, in part, is what helps the bag to keep its shape whether it’s full or empty. The handle stays put and doesn’t fall inside when the main compartment is open.

All of zippers flow smoothly and are easy to grab by the attached zipper pulls. The main compartment features a larger YKK zipper that I’ve found to be sturdy and durable.

I like how the shoulder strap buckles are tucked mostly out of sight. If I decide to carry it like a briefcase, I can do so without large hardware hanging off the sides as I walk. One might consider the Boa brief more like a briefcase than can be adapted to carry messenger bag style.

The booq Boa brief also features a trolley strap, making it a perfect travel companion. The strap itself lies flush with the flow and design of the bag, being present in a subtle way.


booq Boa brief briefcase bag paper

Stuffed with papers, ready for the waterproof test

What I love about this brief is that it provides just the right about of pockets to stay organized yet not overwhelmed. The outermost pockets burst a bright yellow when you open them up, bringing a much-needed pop of color to a mostly charcoal-black-looking bag.

This standard-sized bag can hold a lot, but be warned. You’ll think you can stuff it good, that is, until you attempt to zip it up. The bottom will always fit more, since the base is wider than the top. The zipper won’t be able to work its way over too well, especially if the items are hard like books or binders.

The outermost zipper pockets are ideal for holding smaller and thinner items. Books, external drives, cables, accessories, pocket-items, or even a medium-sized tablet work well. The inner zipper pockets are larger and better-suited for papers, folders, and documents.

Accessing the contents within the outer pocket can be a bit of a squeeze, but I found that opening the main compartment first makes it easier.

The padded laptop compartment is quite nice, like a silk pillow. It fit my wife’s Samsung laptop just fine and kept it cushioned against all the books I stuffed into the bag.


booq Boa brief briefcase bag light water

Light rain waterproof? Check

The booq Boa brief does not feel cheap or of poor construction. Upon initial inspection, I found only a few loose/stray strands, which is typical from every bag I’ve ever owned. All the seams were good and the stitching was tight. The only things that were questionable were the booq-logo rivets in the leather pulls.

As one who has worked many years in outside sales, I understand the importance of maintaining a professional look.

It’s not fancy cars or expensive watches that matter as much as clean collars, straight ties, and good shoes. Those other things might matter second. A briefcase can’t look shabby over time, since it too is part of one’s whole look.

Over time a bag will suffer wear and tear. Maybe I’ve been in a rush or exhausted after a long day’s work. But eventually I’ll drop or throw my bags into trunks, back seats, or hallway floors. I’ve had some bags which couldn’t hold up to my abuse normal use, which ends up as a terrible waste of money and time.

For the booq Boa brief: torture test.

I loaded the bag with a few, thick, heavy textbooks, and set my kids to tumble the whole thing down the stairs. (It’s ok, they’re 8 and I gave them candy.) They wanted to roll the Boa brief down the stairs 100 times, but only made it to 30. Trust me, it got pretty brutal. I got to hear “bombs away!!!” followed by erratic thumping before a loud bang, as the brief crashed into the front door at the bottom of the stairs.

The booq Boa brief passed with flying colors. I’ve busted seams on lesser-made bags by performing such ‘tests’. The Boa brief didn’t even create any new stray threads. It still stood stiff and proud as ever.


booq Boa brief briefcase bag medium water

Extended light rain waterproof? Check

Waterproof. The word gets thrown around, yet sometimes it seems that different manufacturers have their own interpretation of what it really means. So I stuffed the booq Boa brief with copy paper to test and see how  well it would protect the interior.

The bag performed quite well against the hose. I would feel safe having electronics and important papers inside the bag under light and moderate rain conditions.

The nylon exterior repels and beads off this type of wetness. It’s good to know it’ll also work for spilled coffee! Any water coming in is going to seep through the seams at first.

Wet situations such as waiting for a taxi in the rain, crossing a rainy parking lot to a building, or passing by overreaching sprinklers are a-OK with my booq. A few minutes of wetness is about when the water starts to find its way in. Most of it will find its way to the bottom of the bag first and go from there. Waterproof, yes. Just be quick about it and your belongings will stay dry.

booq Boa brief briefcase bag heavy water

Ok, yeah, this is overkill

Though I knew the booq Boa brief wouldn’t handle a full-blast hose for 10 minutes, I did it anyway. Why? Because I wanted to toss it in the dryer, alone, and on max heat to see how it handles that.

After about 4 hours of tumbling, it was finally dry inside and out. It also passed my dryer test. There were no heat scars (I’ve ruined both clothes and bags this way) or exterior damage to the bag itself.

The leather pulls looked worn and somewhat faded (likely in part because of being soaked too), and one of the metal rivets split in half. The bottom rounded edges of the bag were ever-so-slightly more worn, but it’s in the area that’s always first to take some roughness.

The booq Boa brief still looks good as new.


booq Boa brief briefcase bag

Still looks fantastic after all the punishment

As one who owns and has extensively used Swiss Gear, Tumi, and Ogio bags, I feel that the booq Boa brief fits my style and meets the needs of a professional, artist, or even student.

The bag does not look cheap, and it certainly withstood my abuse, a testament to the durability and quality. I can expect this bag to last and perform for quite a long time.

The handle is securely attached, and the shoulder strap pad features both velcro and a snap button to make sure it stays put. The Boa brief is as comfortable to carry as most other messenger bags with a wide and padded strap.

Those who travel much will appreciate the unique Terralilnq ID stamped into the bag, providing a way to relocate if the bag has been lost.

This is a great briefcase messenger bag, for those of you who need something new or something better. My only real complaint is that they didn’t make this years ago while I was still working professional outside sales.

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