MEGATech Reviews: Targus X SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack
This is the kind of backpack that very clearly isn't for everyone. But if you're the target demographic and you like staying organization, Targus and SteelSeries may have hit the bullseye.
  • Exceptional, purpose-built organization
  • Compartments open up flat
  • Great laptop protection
  • Large and heavy
  • On the pricey side at $160
  • Headphones may not be suitably protected
8Overall Score

When you’re heading out to your local LAN event or even when you’re packing up your laptop for a session at your buddy’s house, you’re likely carrying around more than just your gaming laptop. You’ve got a lot of gear to go with it and you want to make sure it is not only suitably protected — tossing everything in a duffel bag is not an option — but also that it is reasonably organized (also why the duffel bag is a bad idea).

Combining the experience and expertise of two of the leading brands in the industry, the Targus X SteelSeries Sniper gaming laptop backpack may appear rather nondescript on the outside, but it’s actually bigger on the inside. And orange. It’s also orange on the inside.

The Laptop LAN Party Pack

In some sense, you could almost think of this gaming backpack as three bags in one. The two front pouches are completely removable. The straps slide into loops on the front of the bag and attached with Velcro. You can access them while still attached to the bag or you can take them off. It’s up to you.

The 26 liter tech backpack is made from water and weather resistant materials, so while it’s strictly not waterproof, you have some assurance that your precious electronics are stowed safe inside. For extra protection, you can whip out the integrated reflective rain cover from the bottom zipper (the compartment for which actually reaches all the way to the top of the bag, if you want to stash some documents or something).

The shoulder straps are well padded and you’ve got the sternum strap to help with ergonomics and reducing strain. The Targus X SteelSeries Sniper is designed to accommodate laptops with screens up to 17.3-inches in size and the backpack itself, when empty, weighs 1.80 kg (just under 4 pounds). Light and compact this is not.

A Hammock for Your Notebook

With most techie type backpacks, you can typically expect to find a padded compartment for your laptop. Maybe it lays flat for ease of getting through airport security, maybe there’s a secondary pocket for your tablet, or maybe there’s an extra strap that snaps on top for added peace of mind. This backpack isn’t quite like that. Not really.

Let me first say that the laptop compartment itself is substantial in size, since it needs to accommodate up to 17.3-inch gaming laptops. That’s my puny little 13-inch Ultrabook in there for scale. Second, the problem that you’ll find with conventional laptop compartments is that they can still be vulnerable if you drop your bag on its bottom.

This gaming backpack overcomes that concern, because the laptop compartment features a mesh “sling” that effectively acts like a hammock for your notebook. It’s just so slightly suspended from the bottom of the pocket. I’m not sure how much extra protection this really delivers, and the “sling” is not removable, but it does feel like a neat trick that isn’t terribly common.

Designed for Gamers

Sure, you could find a bigger bag with a lot of space like the Slappa Kiken and it might even have an equal dose of personality to it. And bags like that can be a lot more general purpose, as they may be suitable for overnight business trips (I did).

The Targus X SteelSeries Sniper gaming backpack is an entirely different because, because it is purpose built as a gaming backpack. The stark orange interior isn’t just for looks (though that’s certainly part of it); it’s also so that your various accessories (which are oftentimes mostly black) are a lot easier to see and find. But really, it’s the organization that shines here.

The lower removable pouch from the front of the bag actually acts as a huge organizational tool. It opens up like a book to reveal a series of elastic straps on the left, perfect for organizing all your cables. On the right side, there’s a strap and snap for hanging on to your gaming headset or controller, as well as a mesh pocket for cable management.

The upper removable pouch from the front is less exciting, as it’s just lined with grey fabric and features two pockets for stashing smaller items.

The main compartment of the backpack itself (which is separate for the sling-toting compartment for your gaming laptop) features an equivalent level of personality and organization (and orange). It also unzips on three sides to open like a book for ease of access.

The left side features an extra tall pocket where you can stow your rolled up gaming mouse pad, a shallower pocket near the top for your gaming mouse, another snapped strap for suspending a headset, and then two zippered compartments for your smaller accessories. On the right side, in addition to the full height pocket toward the back, you get a pocket perfect for your gaming keyboard, and a smaller pocket for your gamepad.

I found the gamepad pocket to be a little snug for my Xbox 360 controller and I’d worry about what it’s doing to the analog thumbsticks, but it does fit. And this is the wired controller too.

All interior surfaces are padded and scratch-proof to help minimize damage to your gaming gear during transport. The padding is especially apparent in the keyboard and gamepad pockets. And then you’ve got a secret pocket in the base of the backpack for precious belongings, another front pocket with another place for headphones, and a zippered pouch on the side for your water bottle energy drink of choice.

MEGATechie SteelSeries Sniper Shot or MEGATechie Missed the Mark?

If you’re in the market for a general purpose kind of bag that you might also use for gaming events on the weekends, this probably won’t be very appropriate for you. If you don’t want something quite as business-oriented as the Case Logic Rolling Laptop Case or the Mobile Edge Tech Brief, and would prefer something with a gamer’s edge and features designed specifically with gamers in mind, the Targus X SteelSeries Sniper backpack will tick a lot of boxes.

The bag is well built, provides good protection for your gear, and offers fantastic gaming-centric organization too. It will feel on the heavier side, especially if you start loading it up with a lot of stuff. That said, if you’re the kind of person who invests in a 17.3-inch gaming laptop in the first place, you probably already have your priorities in order in that regard.

The Targus X SteelSeries Sniper Backpack is listed at $149.99 US through the SteelSeries online store.

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