November 15, 2010
Hands-On Review: WaterField Laptop SleeveCase
Since I began using a MacBook Air in the Spring of 2008 and continuing to my switch to a 13" MacBook Pro in June of this year, I have been looking for a light and stylish bag to carry them in. For years, I have used a terrific Empire Bag with protective BrainCell insert made by Tom Bihn. I used the BrainCell alone at my destination to carry around my Mac. Both are heavy duty, have been all over the world and are still in perfect condition. But I've felt the need for a bag that is consistent with my "going light" and preferably one that is stylish and meets TSA criteria for going through a security machine without removing my computer from it.
Two weeks ago, the WaterField SleeveCase (at right) caught my eye as, perhaps, the bag I have been looking for so I quickly ordered one. It arrived from San Francisco by priority mail in two days with an enclosed hand-penned thank-you note from a WaterField staff person--nice touch.
I bought my SleeveCase, pefectly tailored to fit my 13" MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, with all of its extra niceties. The extras included a flap, distressed leather trim, D-rings, shoulder strap, leather trimmed piggyback pouch and special shoulder pad (below right).
The WaterField SleeveCase is about as light as a bag can be. It is made from ballistic nylon, as are many bags and cases, but the optional distressed leather trim on the botom gives it some distinction, not to mention the WaterField logo on the closing strap and shoulder pad that just happens to be my initials. It is lined with neoprene foam rubber that both protects and lightly grips the computer so it won't accidentally slide out. Some may object to the odor of neoprene rubber but it will wear off in time. Being a skin diver off California (and throughout the world) in my younger days, the smell of neoprene brings back memories of countless hours of sheer excitement and pleasure. An external pocket on the back of the SleeveCase holds a few papers for those not already using digital electronic documents exclusively--come on folks, let's help protect our remaining forests!
The piggyback pouch is really cool and is the accessory that helped me decide that the WaterField SleeveCase could be THE bag I've been looking for. I even got the distressed leather piping trim. It clips onto the D-rings and hangs in front or in back of the SleeveCase. It is small and light and has three sections, two padded pockets that can hold CDs and a third full-length pocket for an AC/DC adapter and electric cord. I really need the latter pocket for my my MacBook Air since it gets only about 4 hours on the battery at best. Fortunately, my MacBook Pro gets over 8 hours on its battery so I don't need to carry the AC/DC adapter for it.
Made in San Francisco, the workmanship on WaterField's SleeveCase is really superb.
I used WaterField's SleeveCase on my latest airline trip across country. I confirmed that it is in fact TSA compliant, light to carry and protective of my MacBook Air against light rain. Plus, I received a lot of queries and compliments. While not cheap at $116 as fully outfitted (not including sales tax or shipping), WaterField's SleeveCase is the perfect light bag for my 13" MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with just the right touch of class. [Bill Fox]
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