I've had a Borealis for about 5 years now and it's still going strong. I've used it since high school and all the way up through college and I've never noticed any shortcomings in this bag. It also works great for dayhikes and as a carry-on for travel.
The side pockets can carry bottles up to the size of a standard 1-liter Nalgene, which in my experience is more than adequate. The external bungie cord is great for attaching an extra jacket to the pack when space on the inside is at a premium.
I've hiked through pouring rain with this pack only to get to class and find that my books and laptop are only slightly damp (I wrap the laptop in a grocery bag on rainy days anyway).
Great pack that will last you for YEARS.