I have had this backpack for 5 years. It replaced another school bag that I liked and had lots of pockets but did not have a laptop compartment. That bag was a cheapo, under 25$ from WM. This Swiss gear had a laptop compartment and LOTS of compartments. Sometimes I forget where I put something, but if you are consistent about where you put your car keys, for instance, this shouldn't be a problem. There are only two issues that I've had in the last 5 years. The strap adjustor clip got caught under a rolling chair numerous times, like 1-2 times daily, while I was at work because I had it tucked under my desk and was always going inside to get stuff. Eventually it cracked, but this has not affected it's performance. I can tell you that there were times that I'd be yanking at it to get it unstuck. If you keep it away from rolling chairs and tuck the straps you'll be ok. The other issue is that one of the decorative - or do they serve a purpose? - grommets on the front popped off. No big deal, the bag still looks great and works like a dream.
I have pockets for everything, the laptop in the back, the power cord in the little pocket at the top, and also a divider for maybe a mouse pad, folders, anything thing really. There's a compartment for your media items and you can feed your headphone jack through it. This pocket is HUGE for what it's intended purpose is, and that's a good thing. I was able to hold a 2-3 generation ipod, behind the ear headphones, cell phone, car keys, random things, and still had space. Nothing was ever cramped. There is a divider inside the other large compartment, which is where I carry my school books and folders. There is a mesh zip pocket in the 3rd largest section and I usually carry my lunch in this pocket. I can fit a few apples, bottle of honest tea, 32 oz stainless steel water bottle, sandwich, 2 bags of chips and other goodies. I am at school for a large part of the day, meaning I eat 2 meals there and I'm a grazer, so I like having lots of small snacks throughout the day. The smallest pocket has a zipper compartment where I keep highlighters and pens/pencils, a mesh pocket for little catchalls, a other divider pockets. I have no use for these, but I'm sure they serve a purpose. I have a tendency to have pockets withing pockets because I love having things I can just grab and not have to sort through, so I also carry a Mead pencil pouch that has two expandable pockets for my drawing pens and markers. This also holds my pencil sharpener and lip gloss - because who can work with chapped lips? (This next thing is for the ladies. There are two small zippered pockets on the side. These are the perfect size for those little tampon bags so you can be discreet.) There are two mesh pockets on the side for water bottles, too, and I have used these. They are at a diagonal and since my water bottle is 32 oz stainless steel, it's a snug fit, but a standard water bottle fits well.
The padding on the bag is a dream. I have been loaded down with about 20 lbs and sometimes what feels like 50 lbs of stuff - college textbooks are heavy. I have never once felt like what I was putting in the bag was going to break it. Now, that said, you can tell this bag has been used. The hand grip at the top is a steel braided wire wrapped in clear plastic and this feels super sturdy and I can easily lift the bag from there even at it's heaviest weight. The clear plastic has a black plastic covering and it shows wear and is cracked because it flexes as you lift the bag up. Again, this is to be expected with use and over time. The front has a little fuzz from where I literally get home and drop it anywhere - I take the laptop out first and I WOULD NOT recommend tossing ANY bag around with a laptop inside, no matter what anyone says.
I love everything about this bag. I was sad when I didn't need to use it anymore, but now that I am back in school my first thought was, I get to use my backpack again. It is a joy to have and use. It's such an appealing bag that 2 men that I work with have purchased their own. One of them has used his everyday for the last 4 years, and has the same wear mine does, they can stand up for so much. I will be honest and say that when I was done with my first part of school, the bag did get tucked away for about 2 years and I would only use it when I traveled, a few times a year. I know I will get years of use out of this bag and my friend at work says the same. My son even said he wants one when he goes to high school in a few years. Please keep making these, otherwise he might ask for mine and I don't think I'd be willing to share it, even with my son.
I'd also like to mention that the bad reviews - and those are 3 stars - are all because the bag wouldn't fit the user's laptop. That's not really the bags fault because it specifies what size laptop it fits. I'd even recommend this to someone without a laptop, it's just that awesome and worth the price even when it's not on sale.