I am having difficulting deciding between the Brain Bag and Synapse 25.
On a daily basis, I carry to/from work an iPad Mini, sometimes a laptop, sometimes a water bottle, sometimes an umbrella, sometimes a change of clothes, and sometimes fruit/tupperware containers with lunch. Somewhat less frequently I travel and carry a bit more on the plane. I have been using an aging and ratty North Face Borealis. During the winter I also use it to carry lunch/water/layers when cross-country skiiing. It is usually big enough except when I have multiple lunch containers or am traveling. I also have a nice Saddleback leather briefcase that I use during the day for work purposes.
I like the Synapse for its sleek looks (no external compression straps, etc.), it would probably be big enough for most daily use, and it would probably look "professional" enough even to stand in for the leather briefcase when I don't want to lug the briefcase around. On the other hand, the Brain Bag would be larger and more flexible for days when I am carrying more for whatever reason, or traveling. But would it be too big for every day use (my experience with compression straps is that they leave a half-empty bag looking squished)? Does it look "professional" enough?
Perhaps it's not realistic to find a bag that is perfect for all uses, but I'd still like to make an optimal choice. Also in the balance is that most colors of the Synapse are backordered and I have some extensive travel in the near future.