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The top central pocket is deceptive because it is much, much bigger than it looks. The top area has a small zippered compartment for business cards and snacks, but if you reach into the front section, you'll notice it extends all the way to the bottom of the backpack. While this is convenient for shoving all kinds of large items in here, it's hard to find stuff once you've placed them in this pocket.
The ScanFast's main central compartment is considerable in size as it runs the entire length of the backpack, so you can store large items in it, such as several hardcover books, folders, notebooks, larger electronics items (Kindles, larger brick-style chargers, cord bundles, etc.) Like the front compartments it also has netted zippered sections for stowing items that might get jostled around.
Here's the whole reason for buying this backpack design -- the TSA approved laptop compartment. As you can see, you can fold it out in a "butterfly" fashion separate from the rest of the backpack, which can have its other compartments closed and zipped up while your bag goes through the scanner. The laptop is secured in a pouch with a Velcro strap, so it won't fall out during the scanning process. However, other than magazines and a few papers underneath I wouldn't store anything else in this section.