Update: RAWROW has sent a replacement free of charge.
I purchased this as a replacement for my previous college backpack which tore recently. I have been looking to get a RAWROW bag for awhile and the aforementioned provided me the chance.
It's a nice, minimal bag and the materials seem to be of good quality. The plastic spring snaps used for connecting the backpack straps or messenger strap would be my point of concern but if you don't go around swapping between the two all the time it should not pose an issue. The most likely to break would be the messenger strap because, unlike the backpack straps, it does not use a spring-loaded metal bar for the moving part of the snap, but rather is your traditional plastic spring snap (plastic bends to snap something into the snap ring). It would be nice if the messenger strap would use the same snapping mechanism as the backpack straps.
While I wouldn't use the bag as a messenger that often, it is nice that it is something we can do and the strap can be placed in the pocket where the backpack straps would be tucked into so it is not something that is annoying to bring around.
The back and straps are well padded (upper back doesn't need the padding because usually your upper back isn't pressed against the bag). The plastic sliders attached to what is normally the loose end of the adjustment straps are a really nice touch. They prevent the adjustment straps from hanging off the bag, unlike most other backpacks which leave them hanging freely.
Update: After using the bag for awhile, there's a minor annoyance: The backpack strap adjustment mechanism is a bit loose. This is due to the smoothness of the plastic strap buckle and the strap material. To RAWROW, I would choose a rougher strap material and or plastic fastener/loop so there's more friction between the strap and the plastic.
The above photo brings me to my main complaint. The backpack straps are significantly different lengths, with the left strap being 2 to 3 cm shorter than the right strap (for reference, they are the same length in all product photos). For a bag that costs $140 USD I would expect better tolerances. Due to RAWROW's return policies, however, I will not be sending this back because I would have to spend $40 to ship it back to South Korea. but I do not see that happening due to the costs involved and RAWROW's policies regarding exchanges and what is considered a "defect". I do not have another bag I can use right now if I were to send this one back. Hopefully my bag is just an isolated case.
Update: RAWROW has sent me a replacement free of charge. I don't have immediate access to it since I'm at school and nowhere near home but I doubt it has this problem. Thumbs up to RAWROW.
Side access pockets are something I believe every backpack should have. They are very discrete on this backpack and make it extremely easy to access small, constantly-used items such as my room keys, in-ear headphones, or wallet. They are quite spacious as well due to how the pockets are constructed (as shown below).
The side access pockets protrude into the front/secondary compartment. Since they are separate from the rest of the interior and free to move, they can overlap and offer much more space. It is well done, although I can see some people who would see this as an annoyance, as they have two extra flaps they have to deal with when stuffing the front/secondary compartment.
The primary/back compartment is very spacious. The zippered pocket in front of the laptop holder is great for holding cables, low-profile mice, laptop chargers, and any other small electronic accessories. There's a stiff piece of material that prevents the arch above the compartment from collapsing so the bag keeps its shape even when empty. The light-colored waterproof material looks and feels great, and makes it easy to see items at the bottom of the bag.
I had high hopes for my first RAWROW bag, and for the most part, my expectations have been met. Unfortunately the tolerance issues with my bag have soured my first impressions a lot, but if RAWROW can make up for it, I'd be happy to recommend RAWROW.
+ Simple, attractive design
+ Good materials
+ 3-way functionality (backpack, messenger, brief/tote straps)
+ Side access pockets
+ Adjustment-strap sliders/holders for backpack adjustment straps (no free-hanging straps to flap around)
- Poor assembly tolerances for a $140 USD backpack
- Side-access pockets in the interior may be a nuisance to some (see pictures above)
- Spring snap mechanism for messenger strap may be questionable
- Backpack strap-length adjustment mechanism a bit loose