Help me decide among these 4 Waterfield (sfbags) cases for MBA 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by passingapple, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. passingapple macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2012
    hello, macrumors' folks. I need some help deciding. I'm looking to buy a case for MBA 13" and these four from Waterfield ( seems to be a good choice (I know they are literally thousands of cases out there, but I'm picking among these four).

    1. MacBook Smart Case ($89)
    2. MacBook Travel Express ($89)
    3. Mac Laptop SleeveCase ($49+$10 brown leather trim and $15 a flap)
    4. Outback Laptop Sleeve ($49)

    Now, obviously price is a factor, but not the only one. I guess I am looking for a very light case with the most padding/cushion.

    - The "smart case" probably looks the best, but I hear that the case won't be as snug after a while and MBA could slide out a little (discussed at That could be an issue as it doesn't have a flap or velcro to hold MBA from sliding out. It also is the most expensive - unless I add all the extras like a strap on "SleeveCase".

    - The "macbook travel Express" offers the most space inside, among these four, to put other stuff like a mouse, power charger, etc, but I don't know how much padding it has and how light/heavy it is. Unlike the other three, this one is more like a computer briefcase in that sense. Also the most expensive at $89. If I add a strap, that's another $22, making it $111!

    - The "Mac Laptop SleeveCase" is probably most known among people here. I am leaning toward to this, but then again, this gets expensive real fast once I start adding stuff like $15 flap and $10 leather trim and the price advantage it has disappears. And if I add the shoulder strap on top of that, it becomes $96! And I don't know how much padding this has, compare to other three cases here.

    - Similar to the "macbook travel Express" above, I don't see any review on "Outback Laptop Sleeve", so I can't really tell anything about it other than what's on For all I can see, this is basically the "SleeveCase". but with waxed canvas finish (so rougher texture outside and probably heavier because of it, but comes with the leather trim). Can't add a flap nor a strap. So I guess price-wise, this is the cheapest.

    A feedback from anyone who owns any of these four cases for MBA 13" would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. JonBook Pro macrumors member

    Feb 22, 2010
    I bought a WaterField SleeveCase 13" for my MacBook Air 11" with a flap and leather trim, and it's great. I love it.

    In terms of padding, it's there, but it's not especially much. A bit better then a neoprene case, but I wouldn't recommend dropping it.

    It's great for light protection.
  3. ketchup4life06 macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2010
    I have the outback laptop sleeve in the horizontal. It fits my 13inch macbook air flawlessly. Awesome quality with a lot of protection inside. I believe it is perfect in thickness and the protection is definitely there. Also it just looks great. SFbags has wonderful customer service. Buy one of the sleeves you think is right for you and if you don't like it, just email them and they will gladly refund you the money or swap it out for a different one. I have done that numerous times with them and they are always accommodating.
  4. passingapple thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2012

    did you have a chance to compare your "outback laptop sleeve" with any of the other cases you mentioned, in terms of padding and/or weight? Thanks!
  5. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm voting for none of the above. Those cases don't really give you any storage room at all. What about the charger and accessories?

    The travel express looks like all the accessories just get crammed into a thin compartment.

    I have a Tagus CityLite case and it is really nice. It's surprisingly light even when I have the laptop, charger, and some accessories. I think I got it for ~$30 at Best Buy.
  6. passingapple thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2012

    I am not looking for a bag nor a briefcase. Tagus CityLite case is a bag/briefcase and they just call it a case.

    As I mentioned in my initial post, I am mainly looking for a feedback from people who have used these 4 cases.
  7. stchman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    Your decision, I just think those are too pricey for simple sleeves to slide a MBA into.

    The Macbook Travel Express seems to be about the only thing useful other than being a sleeve. For $89 you can get better. Plus for $89, they don't even include a strap.
  8. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    I have the full Cargo Mambo combo. Originally I wanted to use the Cargo as a big outer protector, while I carried my MBA in the sleevcase for tight inner protection. I ended up filling the Cargo with all of my work tools, as it is such a great carrybag.
    I had originally bought the sleevecase very bare bones. However, I ended up ordering a piggyback and a slingstrap, plus having SFBags do a customization on my sleeve. Hey, it cost me about $115 for the sleevecase after I bought all the extra stuff, but it protects a $1500 laptop that I use for my means of living.
    Oh, speaking of protecting. I am constantly traveling and on the road. I have dropped the MBA several times in the sleevecase, from 3-5 ft heights, no damage at all. Also, have had to make several emergency stops in my work truck, where the sleeve case goes flying off the seat, slams into dash, falls to floor. No damage. I do not suggest duplicating these events. :D
    I believe I have posted several times about the great customer service from SFBags, so won't go there.;)

    Also, edited to add great fit, light, easy to carry with sling strap, and looks great. And when I mean great fit, if you have a usb drive in a port, or anything that makes the MBA bigger at all, it will not fit into the sleevecase.
  9. macneubie macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2011
    I have the Smart Case, which is very good. The interior lining is ultra suede which does not scratch the unibody surface. A elastic gauze by the side keeps your phone, charger, USB/TB to Ethernet adapter, TB to DVI/HDMI adapter snugly. As to the case gets loose over time, I don't have this problem, as my MBA is wrapsol'ed giving it extra snugness when sliding in/out of the case. No regrets so far.
  10. tsboy69 macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2010
    I have the sleevecase and am very happy with it. I did NOT get the flap for one simple reason...heat.

    I wanted to have the top of my Air be clear to cool off. Heat is not good for it.

    I bought the Smart case but returned it once I found it would not fit in my RacerX. I also was concerned after use that the snugness would wear out.
  11. ketchup4life06 macrumors member

    Jul 31, 2010
    Unfortunately the outback sleeve is the only sleeve I have purchased. I ended up swapping out bags and ended up with the muzetto outback, which I love, haha.
  12. bahndoos, Apr 1, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013

    bahndoos macrumors 6502


    Jul 9, 2010
    I hope the OP still isn't trying to decide :p but heres my 2c:

    I have the Travel Express, with the detachable suspension strap and carry handle. I use it as my travel day bag with the strap when away from home, and remove the strap to use it as a slim sleeve at home, or while packing it into my larger carry-on in transit where it fits comfortably with the Macbook only in a laptop compartment in just about any larger travel bag. Works wonderfully for these purposes.

    It is tough as nails too. The Macbook is thoroughly protected by neoprene internally and custom made ballistic nylon w/hard plastic lining externally.

    With just the Macbook in it, it flattens quite a bit to act as a compact fitted sleeve. Alternatively, it also accommodates a butt load of accessories etc within the zippered compartment. I dont always carry all these things, but I have managed to fit in all at the same time with a Macbook:

    1. Media/backup drive (0.5 x 5 x 3.5")
    2. DVD burner (0.5" x 5" x 5")
    3. Macbook charger
    4. Magic Mouse
    5. 2 magazines or 1 magazine and an A4 writing pad, or apple bluetooth keyboard with either a magazine or a writing pad.
    6. USB to Lightning cable
    7. 2 pens

    ...without the bag looking like its about to explode.

    Before I bought this, I had tried out the City Slicker case, but it wasnt very accommodating with the accessories, despite looking really nice with the weathered leather flap. Didn't look too great as a sleeve either. The Travel Express, however, turned out to be perfect for my needs.

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