The Road Warrior Review - Waterfield SleeveCase
14 February 2006
by Charles Moore
Looking for a classy, stylish, lightweight computer bag to transport and protect your precious 'Book? The Waterfield SleeveCase from San Francisco Designs could be the perfect solution.
Waterfield computer bags are high-end products, with first class design, workmanship and materials, Made, as the company proudly affirms, in San Francisco, where rents are high, labor expensive, and the competition fierce. Consequently, they are a bit pricey, but the discerning customer will perceive value for money spent.
The Waterfield SleeveCase, like other Waterfield computer bags, can be ordered in a wide range of configurations, sizes, and the assessorization. Some 30 different size options are available, including ones to fit every PowerBook and iBook model, and the new MacBook Pro.
The SleeveCases are designed both as a standalone product, and to serve as an inner protective module for Waterfield's larger computer bags like the Cargo and Cozmo models, with which it can be purchased in ensemble bundles called "Mambo Combos"
They are available in horizontal or vertical orientation (people who carry the SleeveCase inside a typical backpack will prefer a vertical SleeveCase, while if f the SleeveCase is to be used in a horizontal case like the Waterfield Cargo, then you will probably prefer a horizontal SleeveCase), with or with about the closure flap, and with two shoulder-strap options. I tested two SleeveCases hands-on; a basic flapless, strapless model in Size 14 that fits my Pismo PowerBook...
Both SleeveCases feature Waterfield's tasteful, understated styling in black ballistic nylon with textured Indium accent across the bottom.
The basic SleeveCase has a robust closure strap of two-inch nylon webbing that fastens with a generous Velcro panel, while the flap on the other case also is secured with Velcro, in both instances making for security with quick access. Another thoughtful and convenient detail touch it is the nylon pull-loops at the bottom of each case, that greatly facilitate removal of the computer from the bag, which literally does fit like a glove.
Both cases have a full-width pocket on their external back panels, which oddly I thought has no Velcro or zipper to retain items deposited therein.
Moving inside, the SleeveCase is lined and padded with 1/4" or 3/16" Neoprene "wetsuit" type material, which serves the dual purpose of protecting the computer against bumps and bangs, and the finish from scratches. Actually, I'm guessing that it actually is wetsuit material, which seems appropriate to The SleeveCase's California origins. Everything is beautifully stitched, and the materials have a rich, luxury feel.
Perhaps some readers are saying to themselves something like: "SleeveCases sound convenient and nice to carry, but what about peripherals like the computer's AC power adapter and perhaps a mouse and some cables?"
Not to worry, while the Computer entirely fills the SleeveCase's internal compartment, and the external pocket can only accommodate very thin items like papers or a magazine, Waterfield offers a solution to peripherals carriage in the form of a small, clip-on, auxiliary case it calls a "Piggyback," which describes its function like handily.
To use the Piggyback, it is necessary to also order the shoulder strap option, since the smaller bag clips onto the same D- rings used to attached the strap via quick-release snap hooks.
Made from the same ballistic nylon as the SleeveCase outer shell, and with reinforced zippers the Piggyback has soft divider pockets inside to protect your power adapter, even a small external drive or other bits and incidentals. The internal pockets aren't quite large enough to accommodate my Pismo's "flying saucer" power adapter, but the 45 watt adapter of my iBook fit neatly, and there's plenty of room in the main body of the bag for that awkward saucer (not one of Apple's better ideas). The Piggyback is a $22.00 option.
In summary, if you need a laptop bag that won't look out of place in any setting, no matter how upscale, or just appreciate top-drawer quality, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit to Waterfield's Website, where you can choose, customize and accessorize case to fit your machine, your lightweight laptop carriage needs, and your tastes to a "T."
Basic Waterfield SleeveCases are priced from $38.00 to $42.00 plus optional extras.
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Charles Moore is a freelance journalist and
commentator by profession, and has written for 40 or so different
magazines and newspapers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia
over the past dozen years. He has syndicated columns with Continental
News Service of San Diego, California, and with Barquentine Ventures
Newsfeatures in Canada. Charles is also an associate editor (freelance)
with a couple of monthly magazines, and writes software reviews and
features for MacToday magazine.