Thought I’d toss this together for anyone who might be interested.
I recently picked up a 12″ MacBook to replace the position that my iPad has held these past couple years–that of my mobile computing rig. There’s about a million opinions on the New MacBook, from the complementary to the not-so complimentary.
I myself think it’s great for what I’m doing with it. In a nutshell, I think its shortfalls are well overblown, and the things it does do not only surpass my needs, but are often surprizing to me in good ways. How that’s for the TL;DR version?
My larger concern was how I was going to carry it around. The laptop is eminently portable. In fact I’d say that if you’re not traveling at least as far as the coffee shop with this thing on a regular basis, you’re doing it wrong. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt like taking a computer along with me wasn’t remotely cumbersome. If there’s one thing the pundits can’t complain about, it’s the portability of the thing.
I spent altogether too long researching ways to get this laptop from place to place. It’s made more difficult by the fact that it’s a new form factor, and most of the people who make cases and whatnot for Macs haven’t gotten around to creating any. Truthfully though, even the ones that have made it to market as of this writing don’t really do much for me. I wanted something classy, and all the classy ones are also brutally expensive. In a world where a simple sleeve can cost this much, well, I’m surely not going to fork that over.
I’ve been super happy with my STM bag where the iPad is concerned. The thing’s been bullet proof for years, and I like the form factor. I have a variation on this bag (couple generations older). Given that I like it so much, I’m tempted to grab the solution for the MacBook. I may yet go that route, except I found that the MacBook is actually small enough to fit in the iPad bag… sorta. It fits width-wise, but the top (or I guess technically the side) pokes up past the top of the bag. The flap still closes, but you can tell it’s not meant for that, and it loses whatever weather protection it offers to an iPad. Still, I wanted something classier for the new addition. Something leather.
Seems the solution was right under my nose. Earlier this year, I picked up this bag from Roots. I got it because I had my eye on for the iPad many moons ago, and it was a really sweet deal. I think I saved nearly 50% at the time, which is great. I’ve had another Roots messenger bag for years, and I love the thing. It’s a bit too big for what I typically carry these days though. I wanted smaller and less bulky.
When the MacBook finally entered my life, I was thrilled that it fit the bag perfectly. But, there was a problem. Not being designed specifically for Apple gear, the Roots bag contains a badge and magnetic clip on the inside of the bag that would scratch the hell out of the Mac if I put it in there. What I needed was a liner of some sort. Thing is, all the good ones added too much bulk to the works. Even the thinnest ones wouldn’t fit in the bag with the Mac inside. I was thinking of simply sewing my own sleeve with felt from the hobby store when I read about this case on David Sparks’ site.
I took a chance and ordered it, and lo and behold, I have the perfect, classy laptop bag. It’s so tiny! I can’t believe that I can carry this around and have pretty much my full computer workflow with me at all times. Now, bear in mind, you’re not going to be carrying a lot. But the bag fits my everyday carry without issue: Laptop, keys, iPhone, wallet, change purse. I love that the iPhone slides neatly into the back pouch for easier access. If it weren’t for all the non-electronics-friendly hardware on bag, I’d swear Roots inadvertently built the perfect MacBook bag.
But because nothing is entirely unicorns and roses, here’s the few cons I’ve noticed:
- The computer fits so snugly that when you’ve got the bag on, it’s pretty much a rigid slab. There’s no ‘drape’ to the bag, if that makes sense. It’s stuffed outwardly to every millimeter, and it looks that way. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it does seem reminiscent of 2D video games.
- The bag is small enough that you cannot get a standard letter sized sheet of paper into it flat. You’ll need to fold your paperwork if you want to bring it with you. If roots would have designed this bag to be just a little bigger–big enough to fit a folder of 8.5×11″ papers flat, it would be heavenly and would solve both this issue and the one above.
- The strap is thinner than most messenger bags. I imagine this bag was meant more as a women’s tote than a laptop bag, but I find it seems masculine enough (especially once I removed all the silly dangley leather bits, which was easy), and I’ve never been laughed at (that I’m aware of). Still, if you’re walking around for a day, you may find the strap less comfortable than a wider one.
Otherwise, this solution works for me. I’m totally digging the mobile writing rig. It’s a perfect complement to my desktop iMac.