The last few posts bring up the issue of what you really need. For my recently concluded search, I had some needs, and some wants:
Must securely hold and protect my laptop both in its every day capacity going to and from my office, as well as the more rigorous demands of plane travel.
Must provide sufficient organizational features for my files, personal items, tech items, etc...
Be comfortable to wear, to put on, to take off.
Provide easy and ready access to everything I put in it.
Be workable both as an every day carry without feeling excessively large, and then also have the room to expand for travel without being too restrictive. In other words, the bag needs to be flexible and adaptive.
Be a high quality bag that I'm confident will last a number of years with hard use.
Those are the musts. Non negotiable.
Look pleasing to my eye, be something I enjoy seeing in my home or office every day.
Give me a sense of quality workmanship, that the bag wasn't slapped together with cheap crappy materials in a factory in China, but was made with world class materials by people committed to putting together some special to own and use.
I enjoy quality in my life. I don't like using cheap, ugly, poorly designed stuff. I'd rather save up for something nicer than buy two of something cheaper. It doesn't need to be fancy, and in fact I don't like 'fancy' designs'.
The Tom Bihn Brain Bag is something that makes me smile every time I pick it up. It looks, functions and feels different than anything else I tried.
But I have employees who don't give a rip. Give me something cheap and light and as long as my laptop won't break in it, that's fine. It's gotta work for the individual.