In October 2017, a rather interesting collaboration took place between SteelSeries, a company renowned for creating gaming hardware, and Targus, a company that specialises in manufacturing computer accessories. In short, the two companies used their respective expertise to create the Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack.
Given the heritage of the aforementioned companies, it certainly seems as if the Sniper backpack might have what it takes to, at the very least, ease the pain of carting your gaming stuff around.
Anyone who has ever attempted to travel with gaming hardware, whether console or PC, knows that space is always an issue. Although online gaming is all the rage at the moment, travelling to home or public LAN events is still a reality. Even if a LAN is not something you participate in, there is a good chance that you have, at one point or another, needed to transport your gaming hardware.
So is the Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack worth its fairly hefty R2499 price of entry (now reduced to R1499)? Is it all it is cracked up to be?
Unassuming design aesthetic
When you see the Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack for the first time, you might mistake it for simply another backpack. Although large in size, the bag is fairly unassuming. It only features a SteelSeries logo on the removable front pouch, a tag, at the top, with the names of both brands and SteelSeries wording on the rear. It is black in colour, and has a fairly forgettable design aesthetic. Putting it in stark contrast to most products that have been designed for gamers.
Personally I really like the look of the bag. This stems from the fact that I am not a fan of the current trend of making anything gaming related seem as if it belongs in the film Tron. With this in mind, and given the bag’s stylish and fairly minimal design aesthetic, it can be used for a variety of purposes. Even better, the two front pouches can be removed. Thus making it quite useful for a myriad of situations. Even so, the bag was designed with gamers in mind and it clearly shows once you open it up.
Almost infinite space
The Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack is designed to carry and protect an assortment of equipment for enthusiastic gamers. As such, it features a durable and water resistant outer material – making sure that any components inside will be kept safe. The normal fabric has a coarse softness to it that screams ‘heavy durability’ and is also quite easy to clean (warm water with a bit of soap will often do the trick). I must also mention that the bag has its own waterproof covering that can be unzipped and taken out from the bottom of the bag. It is a fantastic addition for outdoor travel and use. In terms of storage, this is clearly where the bag excels.
The absolute highlight of the bag is how many things can be stored in it. As I was putting it to the test, I was continuously surprised by the number of items I could keep adding to it. In fact, I made sure to keep a list of the electronics that the bag appeared to simply absorb into its cavernous body. At one point in time, the bag had the following goods in it for transport:
• Xbox One X, power and HDMI cables
• Xbox One S, power and HDMI cables
• Xbox One Elite Controller
• Standard Xbox One controller
• Turtle Beach Earforce Elite 700
• Turtle Beach XO Four Stealth
• Apple MacBook Air, power adapter and cable
• Apple iPad Pro 10.5″
• Bose SoundLink Mini II
• Steadicam Volt
• 2 x USB Powered Hard Disk Drives
• Belkin 10 000mAh battery pack
• Assortment of cables and adapters
The only downside of storing so much equipment is the eventual weight of the bag, which required herculean strength to lift and move. Other than that, it handled all of the above devices, and a few smaller items like sweets and keys, with absolute aplomb. I was honestly shocked at how this one single bag could fit so much into its compartments. Whereas in the past I might have used two, maybe even three, bags to transport the same amount of goods.
The seemingly endless space afforded by the Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack is divided up into a variety of separate compartments, all of which can be accessed from the outside of the bag. They are as follows:
• The two front pouches are both removable. Each pouch has two compartments, each zip locked. These two pouches make up the first four compartments.
• The fifth compartment is the first main one and is large enough for laptops and game consoles. It also features nylon tethers with buttons for cables and other accessories. There is also a zipped micro-fibre lined compartment at the bottom of this first section. Perfect for phones and other items that can be scratched easily.
• The sixth compartment is where things start to get interesting. This compartment can completely open up the bag, like splitting it in two. It is also kitted out in bright orange and black, offering a hint of its gaming heritage. There are also printed images of what SteelSeries and Targus suggest should be stored in this location. This includes game controllers, keyboards, mice, tablets and other accessories. When opened in full, the left side features two separate netted compartments, one long compartment for something like a keyboard (or bottle of wine), and a nylon button attached pouch for mice and other accessories. In contrast, the right side features only three compartments: one that is large enough for a games console or laptop, and two others that could fit items such as console game controllers and keyboards.
• The seventh compartment is much like the fifth, but features a much wider point of entry. It is also where the SafePort® Sling Protection system is located. Made specifically for laptops, it is a kind of netting that suspends your device, thus offering an additional level of protection. It can be used for any kind of device, and worked perfectly for my Xbox One X and accessories.
• The eighth zip locked compartment is located on the right side of the bag and is essentially a fabric drink holster. It is perfect for holding water bottles and other similar shaped drinks.
• The ninth compartment is located on the lower back of the bag. It is zip locked and features additional padding on the outside. It is most likely used for small items like keys.
• The tenth, and final zip locked compartment (if you do not count internal compartments) is located just below the ninth compartment, and is the storage area for the included water proof raincoat covering that comes with the bag. An incredibly useful feature, especially for travelling whilst it rains.
It goes without saying that the Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack offers more than enough storage, even for the hoarders out there.
In terms of protection, the bag has ample and robust padded compartments. Each compartment has some form of protection. Whether from a handy netting or padded interior, there is no doubt that whatever is placed within its many compartments will be kept safe and secure. Of course, this is within reason.
The bag will most likely be able to protect stored goods from general bumps and knocks. I do not feel that it has been made to withstand incredible pressures or falls. As such, I doubt that dropping the bag from a height of, for example, more than two meters would protect the goods it carries. Perhaps whatever is stored in the laptop sling might withstand such a drop, but I would still not risk it. Nevertheless, this is not the bag’s main purpose. The main function is to offer a convenient and safe means of transporting goods from one location to another. With that in mind, it more than does the job.
In terms of comfort, the added protection also acts as cushioning for users of the bag. A dual purpose, if you will. As such, the Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack features fantastic padding on its rear and shoulder sleeves. The result is a bag that is incredibly comfortable to hold and carry, whilst offering enough protection to ensure the goods on the inside do not get damaged during normal transit.
Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack Verdict
I will be honest, I did not know what to expect when Vamers was contacted about reviewing a gaming backpack. With that said, I am certainly glad for the experience because it has opened my eyes to the use and potential for gaming accessories that may often fly under the radar of many gamers.
With its fairly clean and unassuming design aesthetic, absolutely cavernous storage compartments, incredibly conformable rear panel and straps, not to mention useful raincoat and water bottles features, the Targus SteelSeries Sniper Gaming Backpack is a fantastic bag. Not only will it satisfy the needs of the most hardcore gamer, but it will do so with comfort and a certain level of understated panache.
Disclaimer: the bag was given to Vamers to review for a period of one month. Once the review was published, however, the distributor decided to gift us the bag. This had no impact on the review process.