The first rule of XD Design engineers is: no external pockets on the backpack. Second rule: no visible lightning. Third: the stiffer the frame, the better. Bobby Soft, released at the end of 2020, quietly violates some of these rules.
Let’s see if the new Bobby benefited from some formlessness.
2020 has been a year of experimentation and transformation for XD Design. Judge for yourself: the Urban Bumbag belt bag, the Bobby Trolley backpack that can turn into a bag on wheels. One-strap Bobby Sling. And finally – Bobby Soft. Its distinctive feature is a new shape and adjustable volume.
I got acquainted with the backpack at the beginning of winter and did not part for several weeks. Traditionally, for the test I got a model of the strictest black color. Fortunately, there are alternatives: gray, blue, brown and even mint Soft.
Marty, where is your 4D thinking?
Let’s start with the main feature Soft. In fact, these are two backpacks in one. The volume is adjustable from 13 to 16 liters. In a compact configuration, the backpack looks sportier than its brothers in the series. I just want to throw in a uniform, a pair of sneakers – and jerk off to training. When unfolded, Soft is already more reminiscent of the previous Bobby.
For comparison – this is what Bobby Hero looks like with a rigid frame.
The volume of Soft is changed with a light movement. There is another one hidden under the zipper of the main compartment, with an expanding insert. The insert is made of the same material as the backpack itself. In this case, both zippers are fastened using the same sliders. If we bring them to the left, we get a compact version of 13 liters, to the right, we add 3 liters to the volume.
This two-tiered zipper structure, where each slider travels its own route, looks witty. True, it takes a little practice to get used to it and remember which side is for what.
The new design entailed other changes as well. In the previous Bobby, a tight fold of the frame completely hid the zipper of the main compartment and made the backpack look like a turtle shell. In Soft, in a minimalistic configuration, the zipper is slightly covered with a fabric, and in an expanded form, everything is in plain sight.
For this reason, the backpack has got an additional element of protection – a plastic zipper lock that holds the runners together. It will help to avoid accidental and non-accidental unbuttoning.
The retainer copes with its function perfectly, but I did not quite like the measure of protection. Each time I had to spend a couple of seconds to remember which way to move the latch. Surveys have shown that others did not have this problem. Well, “I’m sorry Doc, I’m having a hard time with 4D thinking.”
Check the pockets
Bobby Soft does not break the rule of minimalism: a uniform finish of the case without additional inserts. The front has a classic reflective stripe and XD logo. Made from RPET, each backpack reuses 37 plastic bottles and saves 22 liters of water. By focusing on the green trend, XD Design remains true to it.
The straps and back of the backpack have a soft, breathable lining for easy portability. There is also a pair of RFID pockets hidden there that have become Bobby’s calling card.
The strap has a convenient compartment for a pass or transport card.
On the back there is a pocket for quick access to documents. Next to it is a USB port, to which a power bank can be connected from the inside.
The port is securely hidden, but you won’t have to look for where to stick your smartphone for a long time – thanks to a visual clue with a battery symbol.
More inside than outside
The backpack has one compartment: the inner space is divided between the main compartment for things and an organizer for equipment.
If from the outside the compact Soft may seem like a kind of sporty Bobby, it is worth unbuttoning it, seeing the organizer for gadgets – and everything falls into place. It’s like opening the top drawer of your desktop with the most needed tools. Quickly sets you up for business.
One of the main functions of Soft is to gently carry the laptop. The computer compartment (fits 27 x 33 x 2.5 cm models up to 15.6 “diagonal) is padded. The organizer is attached to the back of the backpack, so the most valuable thing is closer to the body. Models with a rigid turtle shell frame Bobby serves as an additional protection for the technology.In the case of Soft, you will have to be vigilant yourself and not swing your backpack with a laptop from side to side.
Other pockets will fit a power bank and auxiliary gadgets. Let’s say a case with headphones or a camera.
There are no additional compartments in the main compartment. We put things at the behest of our hearts.
A clip-on keychain is provided for the keys.
To prevent useful little things from hanging around the backpack, a zippered pocket is made in the depths.
The volume of the backpack pleasantly surprised me. Although the technical characteristics of the Soft are inferior to the Bobby Pro and Hero Regular models (maximum 16 liters versus 18), the plastic construction allows the interior space to be used to its fullest.
I managed to do the almost unthinkable: pack two winter coats in Soft, when there were no empty seats in the wardrobe at one multimedia exhibition. The zipper was fastened not without a couple of strong words, but at the same time the backpack did not look as if it was about to explode, did not frighten others and did not distract from viewing.
Bobby Soft compares favorably with the price in the line of its brothers. He gives the impression of a “starter pack” for those who have been eyeing the series for a long time, but considered the classic models bulky.
Many recognizable elements are in place: minimalism, hidden pockets, organizer, USB port for external charging. The hidden zipper was replaced by a retainer, and the rigid, cut-through frame was replaced by the user’s vigilance.
You can buy a Bobby Soft backpack from us, at the Madrobots store. For readers, Habr acts special 20% discount with SOFT20 promo code. The price will be
6490 RUB 5,192
When purchasing this backpack (and other Bobby models), you will receive a protective set of reusable XD Design mask and filters as a gift. As practice shows, the gift is still relevant.