We can argue all over the place about the utility of such things as pack lids, hydration bladders and side pockets, as we have been doing for 7 pages. IMHO, there's nothing wrong with the author's stating his own prejudices as long as he recognizes that contrary arguments have equal value in their own environment and at least tries not to let his own prejudices skew the upcoming ratings.
I personally want those outside pockets (tent on one side, water bottle and snacks on the other, rain gear on the front. I don't want a hydration bladder (my own personal prejudice) or a pack lid (adds weight). (Note that Mike C! is forever telling us to chop off our pack lids!) I really like going through the day without having to open up my pack. I am sure that if most of my backpacking were off-trail in devil's club and slide alder (the Pacific NW equivalent of Australia's bush), I would change my mind about pack pockets, especially mesh, in a hurry! I won't carry anything in my pants pockets; the pockets of women's pants, even those made for backpacking, are so shallow I'm scared of losing stuff out of them.
Not covered in the article, understandably so since the problem does not exist in Australia (lucky you!), is an extremely important issue for many US backpackers. Will the pack will hold a large bear canister (Bear Vault 500, Bearikade Expedition or Garcia 812)? More and more jurisdictions in the US require them (Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks started just this year, and Olympic National Park, which requires them in some areas, is discussing requiring them everywhere). Many backpacks won't hold a large size canister or will hold one only vertically,making it difficult to pack everything else. The answer can usually only be discovered by trial and error. Many US pack manufacturers are silent on this subject. Others state that the pack is "bear canister compatible" but don't mention the size of canister (the brands differ) or whether the pack will hold a large canister horizontally. The issue is important to me even though I do only one backpack per year where canisters are required. I can barely (pun not intended) squeeze a Bearikade Weekender horizontally into my pack (old model SMD Comet, since discontinued). The very slightly larger Bear Vault 500 won't go in horizontally, and obviously the largest Bearikade won't either.
It's obviously too late for Roger to include such info in his article, but it would be wonderful to have a future article surveying the pack vs. bear canister problem!