I agree that in the past the key issues of some of the Portabrace bags have been both balance points and also sag. My key focus was on these two issues when redesigning the classic MXC range of bags. You'll find that the new improved MXC-788-CLX and also the MXC-664-CL6 have been greatly improved. You can also get this same style of bag for the new Nomad FP8 in the same style. These bags are specifically sized to the mixer and are at a lower price point as they are a little less protective, although now still very supportive.
On the other hand, the structure of the AO series of bags has always been solid reinforced plastic with a relatively wide base, which I have always preferred. The base of the AO bags is much thicker than the Petrol. I've done many shoots while working with a Petrol bags, I've owned various models in the past too. Obviously personal preference is always the deciding factor, but also gear setups and weight distribution is also key. I haven't had good experiences when using Petrol bags. Again that's just my personal opinion and experience. I do know though that many people complain about the 664 bag from Petrol that doesn't seem to have the ability to stand up very well at all. I've also been very frustrated by the uncomfortable slant of the bags, depending of course on the equipment setup and weight distribution and how well that bag fits the size of the mixer you're using. As I've always stated, what matters to me is simplicity, functional design and durability.
At the end of the day, my goal with all of the redesigns was to make a much more user friendly bag that provided a balance system that would work across the board with both fully loaded or near to empty bags. This is why the newer model bags all have 3 reinforced metal attachment points. I also took into consideration the access points for media and batteries on the bag, overall weight of the unit, and key functional components like the widely requested small storage pockets in the front pouch and longer handles and cable access. All modifications that we're taken from the 'AO Brainstorm Frenzy'.
After making some great modifications to the bags and really focusing on the needs of today's users and their equipment, we then also decided that it would create the complete package to offer the custom option. For those people who don't like handles, or like zips and not Velcro. All options and needs can be covered.
I hope that we get some good responses and some positive feedback. I'm always looking to improve the products.