Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

One of the features Pakuma touts for the Akara K1's top compartment is a "headphone out port", but rather than the 3.5mm pass-through cable this description led us to expect (and which is found on some bags), what you get is a gap with slightly overlapping edges. It's nicer to have than not, of course, but its implementation is not as secure as some.

Another music-oriented feature of this compartment is a CD/DVD case which can hold 24 discs. It's completely flexible so doesn't do the best job of protecting your precious media, and we reckon many people probably wouldn't use it: most laptop owners have their music collections in MP3 format, after all, though we suppose it might be handy for bringing a few films or games. Thankfully the case is only attached to the backpack with a strap ending in a plastic clip, so if you don't need it it's easy to remove.

Moving on, the second, lower compartment unzips enough so that you can fold its front open like a book, revealing a divider with a zipped mesh pocket for small items like memory cards, two pen holders and what we assume is a mobile phone pocket with Velcro flap. This latter pocket is very poorly thought out, however. Not only does it lack any padding whatsoever, but you won't be able to fit a wide phone like the Blackberry Bold 9700, or a tall one such as the Samsung Galaxy S. Admittedly quite a few people listen to music on their phones, in which case the top compartment's pocket is the obvious place to keep it, but for those with separate MP3 players this is a disappointment. Regardless, we prefer mobile pockets on the shoulder straps for quick and easy access.

Last if not least the Akara K1 has two mesh side pockets with elastic tops for bottles and the like. Adjustable clip-straps at either side can lend extra support to the bag if needed, or help to keep it compact.

While the backpack is not actually waterproof and doesn't feature a rain cover, Pakuma has made sure all zippered compartments are protected from water ingress for as long as possible with flaps that protrude over the zip. Quite a fuss is made about the zips being YKK-branded, with Pakuma claiming they're "the best in the world", but we didn't find the action quite as smooth as the self-repairing zippers on the Brenthaven Pro 15/17 Backpack. This is reasonable enough considering the Brenthaven costs nearly £100 more, but just don't buy the marketing speak.

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