Looking for a good sleeve (Tom Bihn brain cell vs. Waterfield sleeve case)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by guitargoddsjm, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. guitargoddsjm macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Location:
    MA
    #1
    Got my 15" uMBP a few weeks ago, and I'm looking to get a sleeve before class starts up again in the fall. I'm a college student, and most days I'll (hopefully) be biking to class, so I want my >$2k investment to have a good deal of protection.

    I have a North Face Hot Shot backpack that has a (very) slightly padded pocket for a laptop/hydration pack, and I also have a medium Timbuk2 classic messenger bag (no laptop section). I love these two bags, so I'm looking for a sleeve to go inside of them.

    I'd also like to be sure that whatever sleeve I pick will be able to handle being put in a bag with potentially heavy textbooks. I had an incase sleeve on my black macbook and while I loved the simplicity, pressure (from what I assume came from textbooks) caused white bruises and indentations from the keyboard. It was a PITA to deal with and ended up hurting the resale value of the machine.

    This time around, I'm going to try and be smarter about it. I'm currently looking at a few options:

    • Tom Bihn brain cell - Obviously the most protective of the three options. Is this case too big to be comfortably placed in a backpack/messenger bag with other things?
    • Be.ez LArobe sleeve - My girlfriend has this and really likes it. It's made of a memory-foam type material... would this be able to offer enough protection?
    • STM glove - Heard good things about STM from Macrumors. Seems simple enough... but will it offer enough protection?


    I'm also thinking about getting a Shaggymac keyboard/screen protector (one of those microfiber rectangles) to serve as a barrier between the keyboard and screen. Is this a good idea considering the above options? Unnecessary?


    Thanks!
     
  2. guitargoddsjm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    MA
    #2
    Anyone? I know the case/sleeve thing has been done to death, but...

    I know the Brain Cell is an amazing case, and I'm sure it's worth the $68 it'll cost to get it (incl shipping). What I want to know is whether it's overkill; is it too big to put in a north face backpack? Or a medium timbuk2 messenger?

    Does it completely blow the other options I listed out of the water?

    I'm leaning toward the brain cell because I'm worried about denting the case and ruining the screen (see above), but I don't want to get it if it's too massive...
     
  3. jackiecanev2 macrumors 65816

    jackiecanev2

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    #3
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 3Gs: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8A293 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Check out the booq vyper: less cumbersome than the brain cell but affords superb protection, IMO.
     
  4. mrobison macrumors member

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    Sep 18, 2007
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    AR
    #4
    I have a be.ez for my 15" MBP for college, and I love it. It's small enough that it fits almost anywhere the laptop would be itself. But it's rugged enough that I really don't mind throwing it anywhere.
     
  5. guitargoddsjm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    MA
    #5
    I think I have my mind set on the Tom Bihn. It's quite expensive compared to other cases, but I haven't heard a single bad thing about their products. Unfortunately, the two neutral colors they offer for the vertical brain cell (for the 15" mbp) don't ship until late august. Noooooooooooo!

    I think I'm going to order either the be.ez or STM from Amazon as I'm flying home in a couple of weeks and need something for that trip... My girlfriend really likes her be.ez case, and maybe I'll like the one I get enough to keep it. But right now it seems like the brain cell is the best option to help me keep my $2k+ investment in good shape for the next few years.
     
  6. elleana macrumors regular

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    Nov 30, 2009
    #6
    What about this? Pretty slim, but still well padded.
     
  7. RedRaven571 macrumors 65816

    RedRaven571

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  8. guitargoddsjm thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
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    #8
    Does the sleevecase offer significantly more protection than, say, a be.ez or incase sleeve? There's only so much padding you can put into a slim form factor...

    Plus at that price, I think I'd probably be happier with the extra protection.
     
  9. The ORly owl macrumors newbie

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    Dec 6, 2009
    #9


    I own one and it's really good, it may not be could-survive-a-direct-hit-by-every-Power-Ranger-in-existence, but it still offers great protection when inside of another bag. Plus it isn't too bulky like the Tom Bihn.
     
  10. Psyclism macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    #10
    Don't neglect looking at the STM Turtle (Medium). That's what I have and I love it. I use it to protect my 15" MBP from books and other items in my messenger bag. It's quite stiff on the outside, but has a velour(ish) interior that doesn't scratch. No zippers or other items to gouge your Mac as you take it in/out of the sleeve. The metal pins are well protected on the inside, so unless you decide to literally stand on one of the pins, it's not going to touch your computer. The only downside is that there is no handle nor are there provisions to add one later. The exterior surface is quite textured however, so carrying it around like a folio isn't a problem as there is plenty of grip to keep from dropping it.

    Now if you need something with a vertical orientation, then this won't work.
     
  11. hzamani macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    #11
    I bought a tom bihn vertical brain cell. I feel that I can take a crash landing on my bike and nothing would be wrong with my laptop.

    The padding is superb. Soft, firm, and cushioned at the same time. It fits in my jansport backpack too, allowing room for a book in the same zipper, while the other pouch is free for other things. Plus, you get some space to store papers/notebook + pencils/pens or your charger in the front.

    I don't think it was a waste of money considering the protection you get. Plus, if you only need your laptop one day, it's perfect.

    Note: I also considered Waterfield, but opted for the brain cell simply because I didn't have to pay extra for a closed seal and it has handles.
     
  12. murdercitydevil macrumors 68000

    murdercitydevil

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    california
    #12
    incase for me...does everything I need it to and is super thin.
     
  13. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    dallas, texas
    #13
    I'd get the Tom Bihn. That being said, I've had tons of luck with STM, not so much with booq.
     
  14. guitargoddsjm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 25, 2008
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    MA
    #14
    Why's that? What is the closing "mechanism" in that case? It seems like it uses tension/elastic to keep itself shut?

    Most likely, my main bag will be my North Face backpack (my backup is my Timbuk2 messenger)... So I'll need something that will work primarily as a vertical case/sleeve, but it should also be able to work horizontally without any major issues.

    Although the Brain Cell I'm considering is vertical, it seems like the top flap is padded well enough that I could put it horizontally in my messenger...?


    Yeah, I've looked at past threads looking at Tom Bihn stuff, and it seems like you're a fan. I would've ordered it already, but they're backordered until late august. I need a temporary solution for when I fly home, so I just placed an order for a be.ez sleeve on Amazon... But now with all these other suggestions, I'm still not 100% sold on the Brain Cell (maybe like 95% ;) )
     
  15. diablo2112 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #15
    I've been through a pile of sleeves. IMHO, the Tucano is the way to go. Inner protective flap prevents zipper rash. All the other sleeves - including those with the rolled pillow type liners - still let the zippers hit the edges of the MBP.
     
  16. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    Mar 1, 2010
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    New Jersey
    #16
    I recently picked up the Incase Canvas sleeve and it is perfect. Thicker and more weather resistant than the regular incase sleeve. The zippers never touch the laptop with this design. It costs $49 at the apple store. It was a tight fit at first but after a few days it broke in like a new pair of shoes and fits like a glove.
     
  17. guitargoddsjm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 25, 2008
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    MA
    #17
    From what I've seen, the Tucano sleeve is essentially the same thing as an Incase sleeve. I had an incase on my Blackbook, and I really liked it. It just didn't offer any structural support when I had it in my backpack with large/heavy textbooks and pushed the screen into the keyboard. I don't think the Tucano would help much with this.

    That looks pretty interesting... I think I'll head over to an apple store and check it out in person. But at the price point, I'm not sure if it'll win me over.



    BTW, there is a ridiculous number of cases/sleeves out there. It's overwhelming!
     
  18. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    Mar 1, 2010
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    New Jersey
    #18
    That's thge best way to do it, check it out in person. These preferences are very subjective. I think you will love the look and feel of the canvas version - and it does have a lip so the zippers don't scratch the aluminum. I do a lot of landscape photography, often by camping, and wanted something sturdy and resistant to weather.

    I did have the be.ez for my previous macbook and that was very impressed. It was a perfect fit and feel for the MB but not so much for the MBP, at least the 13" based on Amazon reviews.
     
  19. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 16, 2010
    #19
    What’s all this about?
     
  20. EzhnoWolf macrumors member

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    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    #20
    I have a Waterfield Sleeve Case with an added flap and I really love it. The case is made of really durable material and the bottom has a bit of extra padding. Very solid case all round. :)
     
  21. Psyclism macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    #21
    What I meant is that, due to the sleeve's horizontal orientation, using it in a vertical bag (ie backpack) would be less convenient as you'd have to remove the sleeve to get at the laptop. It'd still work, just not quite as optimally as a vertical sleeve.

    The STM is rigid and formed into a clamshell shape. The left and right sides have slits about 1/2 way down the side of the sleeve to allow the case to open up just enough to allow you to slide the laptop in, after which the case snaps shut around it. The bungees just keep the mouth from opening up in case you turn it upside down.
     
  22. elleana macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    #22
    Quoted for truth :)

    I recommended the waterfield sleeve case earlier but after thinking about it a bit and rereading your concerns with squashed textbooks and the like, I think Brain Cell would be your best bet. Its level of padding and protection is unrivalled, at the expense of a fair bit of bulk. But if you're okay with carrying the extra weight around then it should do a superb job of protecting your precious.
     
  23. guitargoddsjm thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Feb 25, 2008
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    MA
    #23
    Hmm... I think I'm going to go with the Brain Cell, but I'm curious as to how bulky it'll be. I don't usually put a ton in my bag when I go to class, although I may occasionally bring a (large) textbook or two if I have to study/read between classes. Every time I travel, however, it seems like my backpack is completely stuffed.
     
  24. AlphaDogg macrumors 68040

    AlphaDogg

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    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    #24
    I am a huge fan of brenthaven. They have a huge selection of cases/bags. They have a product that they call a sleeve, but it is in fact just a bag. It doesn't hurt to look into their products.
     
  25. hzamani macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    #25
    The whole reason why I bought my brain cell was because I knew there were going to be loose things in my backpack like books, pencils, and the like. I didn't want my mbp to get squished or scratched due to a thin sleeve.

    Trust me when i say that the braincell is heavily padded. It is also fairly light; they ship it in a box like double it's size and when you get it you'll be shocked at how light it actually is.

    If you have a jansport sort of bag, it'll fit, but you might be able to see the corners pushing against the lining from the outside.

    If I were you, I'd measure the height of my backpack (width is NOT an issue); and compare it with the specs given on the bihn site.
     

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