** UPDATE **
The Osprey Pixel has been updated. The new version is available here: http://amzn.to/2qytiHK
The old version continues to be sold and is a great deal for about half the price:
The Osprey Pixel is a toploading daypack designed to be used as a commuting laptop bag. It has a top flap that provides access to the main compartment as well as a side-loading zipper to access the laptop compartment capable of storing a 15" laptop. The total volume is listed at 26L. The pixel also has zippers on each side that allow you to expand the total volume of the pack by 4 liters. It provides a lot of technical features that make it a great choice for bike commuters or college students and is stylish enough to carry proudly in a relaxed office environment.
- 26L Volume
- 15" Laptop Compartment
- 10" Tablet Pocket
I absolutely love the trend for the sideloading laptop compartment in packs. It provides easy access to your laptop while still providing a great amount of protection. The zipper opening in the pixel laptop compartment is roughly 15 1/2" tall and provides an elastic mesh safety flap that I believe was added to prevent your bag from sliding out unintentionally. A lot of other reviewers complained that they would frequently forget to zip their side pocket and end up paying the iron price with their laptop. I haven't found this to be a problem personally, but I appreciate the added safety precaution.
The padding in the laptop compartment is sufficient, but I was a little turned off by the amount of extra space my Macbook Pro had when stowed. The pack widens towards the top slightly which is probably to account for slightly larger laptops. This hasn't historically been a problem for me, and my laptop has been protected; however, I do think the earlier generation Pixel was more appropriately sized for my particular laptop.
The interior of the laptop compartment is fleece lined and has an interior 10" zipper pocket to store a tablet.
The Pixel's main compartment is accessible via its top flap. The flap is secured with two adjustable buckles. There are three cascading flaps for storing documents, as well as direct access to the laptop compartment. I appreciate the ability to access the laptop slot from multiple compartments, but I feel like they sacrificed the fit and compactness of the bag to make it more flexible.
As I mentioned earlier, the pack has two zippers on either side to allow it to expand. This feature really allows the pack to be used regularly as an everyday pack with your laptop and a few books, but then also expand a bit to squeeze in a bag of groceries or a warmer jacket. Most days, I appreciate the slimness of the bag when I make the commute to the office, but on the weekend I love not having to carry an extra bag if I want to throw in that extra changes of clothes or maybe my camera.
There is a upside-down teardropped shape zipper pouch on the outside of the main compartment that has a key hook as well as some organizational pockets.
The bottom zipper pouch is a compartment, approximately 1L in size, that houses the Osprey branded Powerhouse cord pouch, which comes with the pack. The Powerhouse pouch is quite nice and is a great little bonus addition. It has some good organizational compartments, but is large enough to hold a power brick for a laptop. I do, however, contend that the bottom pouch in the Pixel is not an ideal place to store your charger. I have found that it is by far the most inaccessible pouch due to the way the nylon overlaps the zipper. Opening it often involves the use of two hands - one to carefully lead the zipper open and another to make sure the zipper avoids the top flap. I generally stow things in this compartment that I use less frequently to avoid having to fight the zipper open.
There is also a scratch-free zippered slot on the outside of the main flap to store sunglasses or your phone.
The Pixel is designed with comfort in mind, and Osprey rarely disappoints in this area. The bag includes shoulder straps and a sternum strap, all of which are adjustable. Additionally, it has a light duty hip belt designed to better distribute the weight of a heavily loaded pack or, better yet, keep it close to the body when humming down the road on your bike.
The contoured mesh back provides great ventilation and does its best to prevent a sweaty back when arriving to work or class.
As always when buying an Osprey pack, the Pixel comes with their all mighty guarantee. I had a very positive experience with Osprey when I had an issue with the zipper coming off of the rails on my first generation Pixel. They promptly replied to my request with instructions on shipping the pack to them and followed up as soon as it arrived. They ended up sending me a brand new pack, an experience that validated their commitment to their customers.