Picking out a backpack to use as a laptop carrier isn't something that should be taken lightly; you need protection for your laptop as well as your back. The IBEX has a ton of pockets, a dedicated laptop sleeve and padded shoulder straps. This is an excellent backpack for students because it can handle notebooks, everyday essentials and has a headphone port. There are a total of four compartments and three mini slots; these are a great place for keys, loose change, bus passes and things that need to be retrieved quickly but are small enough that they could get lost easily if tossed into one of the main pockets. There are side mesh pockets for 16 or 20 ounce bottles but they aren't big enough for coffee tumblers. Some of the other features are the double zipper fobs on the main compartment that allows for a small lock to be used on them to prevent someone from getting access to the pack if it is left unattended in a classroom. The headphone port is a nice feature because you can tuck the exposed section of the headphones into the side zipper slot while leaving your phone or MP3 player inside the top pocket. When empty this is a little over a pound but even when you have it packed to the brim the padded shoulder straps help to relieve back stress; there is no chest strap to the IBEX so if that is a deal breaker you are going to have to look at other backpacks. I have machine washed mine about five times and haven't noticed any loose stitches or had any problem with the zippers sticking after washing it. The internal sleeve for the laptop is padded to prevent jostling while being carried but that doesn't mean that you can throw the backpack around without possibly damaging the laptop. The inner sleeve will accommodate standard laptops and netbooks as well as tablets that are in cases.