Waterfield Laptop Sleevecase

by PocketGoddess on May 16, 2005

I’ve had the privelege to use a Waterfield Sleevecase for the last couple of months, and it’s definitely the best laptop case I’ve ever used for a number of reasons. The Sleevecase is made of quality materials, durable, well-designed, and stylish without being too trendy.

Ordering

When ordering a Sleevecase, all you really need to know is the manufacturer and model of your laptop, since the Waterfield site has an extensive directory with measurements, screen size, and suggested Sleevecase sizes for each model. If you have any questions at all, you can call a toll free number or use the “Ask Gary” link to send your questions via email. I was unsure exactly what to order for my Fujitsu LifeBook, and Gary gave me excellent advice.
Once you determine what size Sleevecase you need, there are still a few questions to answer, because there are several options available. You can choose whether you want to carry your laptop in a horizontal or vertical orientation, and whether you want to add a flap to the top of your case for extra protection from dust and the elements.
The next two options are slightly more complicated– whether you want a carry strap and a “piggyback” (a cute name for a very practical accessory that holds all of your cables and adapters). If you want to add the piggyback option, you must also order the shoulder strap or you won’t have any way to attach the piggyback to your Sleevecase. If you don’t want either one, you’ll get a plain Sleevecase that simply holds your laptop.
If you order the shoulder strap, D-ring attachment points will be added to both sides of your bag so that you can carry it with the shoulder strap. The piggyback is a removeable accessory pouch that clips onto the shoulder strap D-rings when you need extra carrying capacity.

Daily Use

I’ve been using the Waterfield Sleevecase on a daily basis for a few months now, and I honestly can’t imagine how I ever lived without it. I typically use the #2 without flap or strap, though I sometimes use the #6 with flap, strap, and piggyback when I travel or have an off-campus meeting. I’ll describe each of the cases in turn so you can decide which one might work best for your needs.

#2 w/o Flap or Strap

Waterfield Sleevecase #2
This is my daily use case; it fits (rather tightly) in my Timbuk2 Metro or with more room inside the Waterfield VertiGo (which will be reviewed later this week) or a standard backpack. The case is made of ballistic nylon with a full neoprene “sleeve” on the inside. This dual-layer construction means that the interior of the case is completely seamless; there is absolutely nothing inside the case to snag or scratch your laptop. And the neoprene padding is nice and thick, providing good protection as well. The branding details on the case are nicely understated as well; the Waterfield logo graces the strap on the front of the case, and a small patch on the back states that the product is made in San Francisco and gives the phone number and web address (useful for telling people where they can get their own Sleevecase when they admire yours!)
Getting your laptop into the case is as simple as pulling up the Velcro strap and sliding it in. Since the interior is smooth my laptop just slides right in, and all I have to do to secure it is press down the strap. The Velcro pad on the strap is quite long, to accomodate different laptop thicknesses, and it features a small loop on the end to make it easier to grab.
I can get my laptop out just as easily, since all I have to do is pull up the strap and grap the spine of my laptop. The Waterfield site mentions that this case is designed for one-handed access, and they’re telling the truth. With my old case, I had to put it on the desk, unzip it, then pull out my laptop; with the Waterfield I can hold the case in one hand, open it, and retrieve my laptop with the other. It just couldn’t be any simpler.

#6 w/ Flap, Strap, & Piggyback

Waterfield Sleevecase #6 w/ flap, strap, and piggyback
If I’m on the road, I use the #6 with strap, flap, and piggyback. The #6 is a little large for my Fujitsu, but it still works quite well with some extra space on the top. The flap is lined with a very soft fabric and does a great job of protecting the ports on the spine of my laptop that the #2 leaves exposed. This makes perfect sense: this setup is designed to be carried on its own, while the #2 I described above is more typically used inside another bag.
The D-ring attachment points are firmly sewn to each side of the bag, and I get the impression that they aren’t going to come off for any reason. The hardware on the strap is all metal, for durability, and the strap clips easily onto the D-rings. I was disappointed at first that I couldn’t move the cushy shoulder pad where I wanted it, until I realized that the Waterfield way truly is better–the two sides of the strap are independently adjustable so that you can get a perfect fit, and this system avoids the annoyance of the shoulder pad constantly “creeping” away from where you put it. The strap can be lengthened enough to allow you to wear the Sleevecase across your body, like a messenger bag, or shortened to the point that the case can be dangled at full extension from your hand and not brush the ground.
D-ring attachment and back pocket
If you need to carry some extra gear, attach the piggyback option. This ingenious little case has a clip on each end that attaches to the D-Ring on the Sleevecase, allowing the piggyback to “ride” in front of the bag. It measures 11 1/2″ at the widest point, tapering slightly toward the bottom, and 7 1/2″ tall. Thickness depends on just how much you stuff into it. The piggyback is made of the same ballistic nylon as the Sleevecase, with black and grey accent piping along the sides and a flap over the zipper that provides both a clean look and protection from the elements. The interior lining is gold, so that you can easily see what’s inside.
I was able to pack in everything I need to take with me when I go on the road, including the AC adapter and cord, modem and Ethernet cables, a few CD-ROMs, and even my cell phone and other small essentials. For many people, the piggyback will provide all the room they need without having to resort to a separate purse or briefcase. Even better, Waterfield recently switched to a new design that adds a pocket on the back of each Sleevecase. Larger Sleevecases will have bigger pockets, of course, but even if you have a small laptop and can’t fit a file folder in lengthwise, it can always stick out the top in a pinch.

Conclusion

The Waterfield Sleevecase is the latest entry into the PocketGoddess “Perfect 10″ Hall of Fame, and for good reason. No other laptop case I’ve ever seen offers such quality, smart accessory options, and customizability as the Waterfield Sleevecase. No matter what size laptop you have, there’s a perfect fit available, and you can choose the options you need to create a perfect laptop carrying experience. And even though I’ve been using my Sleevecase on a daily basis for months, it still looks brand new; I think this is mainly due to the tightly-woven nylon exterior. If I notice any dust, it brushes right off without leaving a trace.
Prices are quite reasonable, starting at $38 and going up depending on what options you add (flap $15, strap $18, and piggyback $22). If you have a laptop, you owe it to yourself to try the Waterfield Sleevecase; you won’t be disappointed. For more information, great photos, customer testimonials and more, head on over to http://www.sfbags.com.
A Perfect 10!

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