As a part of Maxpedition's new products this year they wanted to provide some visually lower profile designs with the Spatha and Testudo Laptop bag designs being good examples. The hard use functionality is all still there, with I'd say the main differences being less exterior pockets and a good color selection to offer more civilian looking options. The only feature that looks a bit specifically tactical is the external loop velcro which can easily be taken off for those who desire to. I'm showing the Spatha and Testudo together as they are very similar in core layout with the Testudo being slightly larger and having optional backpack functionality.
Traditional with a twist
Like the description infers, the core bag concept is to be a shoulder bag that can carry an appropriate sized laptop. The Testudo adds a twist to this by having a set of stow-able backpack straps built into the back side. This makes the Testudo a hybrid pack where it can be in shoulder strap mode for quick access or switched over to backpack mode for much more comfort and mobility in longer hauls. It was nice to see the backpack straps were not half-assed either as they are fully padded and even include a sternum strap. When not in use, the backpack straps conveniently hide away in their back pocket keeping a clean look. The Spatha has its own features on the back side including a luggage strap for mounting on rolling bag handles and a single zippered pocket with a generous amount of loop velcro inside for more holding options.
Size wise the Spatha comes in at overall approx 16.5" x 13" x 5.25" declaring able to hold 15" laptops while the Testudo is 17.5" x 13.25" x 5.5" holding 17" laptops. For an example laptop I have a Dell that is 14.75"x 10.25" x 1.25" and measures approx 18" on the exterior diagonal. Where one wants to store the laptop in the bag will adjust the capability as I could fit my sample laptop in the interior sleeves on the Testudo, which although slower to store is a more secured carry. Despite unable to do the same in the Spatha, the laptop did still fit in the main compartment interior. All interior sides of the main compartment are padded which is to be expected out of a laptop bag, however some consideration still needs to be given to arrangement of accessories and other goods on how they will compress while carrying the bag. In general I just recommend the concept of trying to avoid creating sharp pressure points of other gear "poking" into your laptop.
While already on the subject of the main interior I suppose we might as well follow through. As a handy feature, the double zippers open up to a full clam shell style which then can be limited with the adjustable internal webbing as desired. This is nice as most laptop bags don't offer the full opening option while the limit functionality is still there so the bag doesn't accidentally fly open spilling out your goods. The sides are well divided with a tall sleeve pocket being on one side, SRB security strap included, and 3 divided smaller sleeve pockets. The other side offers more options with a slightly shorter main sleeve pocket, SRB security strap, and 2 single zipper billowed pockets to offer more item securing options. This side handles a laptop a little bit easier with the shorter large sleeve pocket. I wish the SRBs were modular / removable as they can come in handy when something needs to be super secured, but also cause insert / extraction hassle when not needed.
On over at the front side are 2 large double zippered pockets. The left compartment has a sleeve pocket with varied elastic divisions on top and even a key lanyard with SRB release. Compared to other lanyard setups the releasable SRB makes it a lot more convenient. To mix things up the right compartment has a sleeve pocket as well, but then has 2 divided sleeve pockets on top with elastic webbing closures. Not to be forgotten, both compartments have simple sleeve pockets on the internal front side as well. Worth noting these frontal pockets are tall enough to hold 30 round magazines even with Ranger Magpul plates. On the exterior of the pockets are good sized loop velcro fields for your cool guy patches or ID. I like that they are there for those who don't care about profile level as those who do care can take them off. An easy to overlook single zipper hides between the 2 frontal pockets which offer a nice extra stash zone to behind both pocket sides.
Behind the main frontal pockets is a nice big CCW area that is easy for others to overlook as a pocket and offer another heaping helping of loop velcro space; easily able to hold full sized pistols, magazines, and medium sized flashlights. The opening closes with velcro to prevent accidental interior display with a 2" D-ring incorporated as a pull open point. I have mixed thoughts on the D-ring which Maxpedition has been using for a while. It visually doesn't appear particularly tactical and is likely cost effective, but isn't really that great of a pull since not even all my small monkey fingers can fit inside. Most folks will probably only be able to fit in 2 fingers comfortably so for those who need an easy oh-shit grab I recommended trying out cord or webbing with plastic tubing for rigidity as seen on some pull away pouch designs these days.
New strap design
The sides vary a bit with the Spatha having civilian backpack style webbing loops. I'm not really sure what most people effectively use them for, but they do make good lash points when someone has to get creative. To mix things up the Testudo has less divisions to create the equivalent of extra pull handles. Both use 1" webbing for these sides to secure the shoulder strap D-rings. This leads into somewhat of a new shoulder strap design that secures using tri-glides and ramps up in size from 1" connection points to a 2" shoulder pad area. Some will miss the rotating snap hook hardware, but I will say the triglide option is more silent. Although this new strap makes decent sense on the Spatha it seems a bit mis-matched on the Testudo as undoing the shoulder strap with tri-glides is a slow process when wanting to properly convert to backpack mode without a dangling shoulder strap. Maxpedition offers alternate shoulder straps with snap hooks for purchase which offers more options, but the alternate shoulder strap should just be the one that comes with the Testudo to begin with.
For other small notes, both sport classic carry handles up top with a velcro wrap to have the option to help keep closed. The bottoms are slick with no special material or extra feet. Although I do like 550 cord zipper pulls I'm starting to dislike the long single knot style in favor of shorter 2 knot styles to prevent snagging and cord rotation. Fortunately those picky like me can add in extra knots or affordably use different cord as needed.
Despite Maxpedition already having a lot of nice shoulder bags, the Spatha and Testudo still manage to offer worthwhile unique designs, in particular the Testudo with the backpack option being a more rare hybrid option. As always they are built Maxpedition tough so will far outlive similar civilian bag designs while also offering more tactical preferred interior options.