Usually I do not travel without my Powerbook or MacBook Pro, but when I do I use a big backpack with a notepad, some tools, the laptop, and extra stuff I might need. However, it’s heavy, bit big, and doesn’t really look too professional. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great way to travel to the UK for example and not having to check in a big suit case with stuff. I travel light when I fly. Anyway, I was looking for a solution for national traveling. And a sleeve might be the solution.
While waiting for the product I have a few simple requirements, and a few expectations. I will also share my first impression and let you know if I think this is worth the purchase or not.
When I am looking for a case, sleeve or laptop bag I have to weight usability, convenience and how it looks, against price, performance, and durability. And I like to compare it against ‘what did we use 50+ years ago?’. I already have a backpack, so a laptop bag makes no sense as a replacement. A case is an option, but they’re usually hard and you leave the product in it, rather than being able to take it off as easily as taking out a laptop out of a MacBook Sleeve. Plus, with a sleeve you have the option to add cables, adapter and perhaps some papers.
My expectations are exactly that. Something that is smaller than a bag, but doesn’t have the downsides of a case. And is like a 50+ years ago office bag. A sleeve where you can put in your work, alongside additional papers, pencils and what not. What I found was this:
Hama Memory Foam MacBook Sleeve 15″ for 25 UK pounds
It’s 20 on gearzap, and I got it cheaper thanks to MobileFun, that said, after having received it: It would have been worth the full price. And I will tell you why in a minute, but first I will tell you my first impression and what I do not like about it.
Having received the product I was impressed with the quality. I was expecting the memory foam to be a gag, and I was expecting the zipper to be a potential scratching issue, or that it would have been poor quality material. You know how that is with third party accessories for expensive products. I can tell you that it’s not the case.
What I don’t like though is that in the 50+ years ago sleeve you’d have a little handle to hold your work. It is easy to pick up, put down, open like a (beach) shell – with this modern version that’s not the case. Yes, a laptop case does that, but .. with a sleeve the downside is picking it up and holding it. There is a few kilograms of hardware in there. And you don’t want to drop it. Having a hot Starbucks in your hand and ready to leave? You’d have to do some trickery to pick it up and hold it comfortably. A small slide-in handle you can pull out would solve that. Hey .. I use it only when I am traveling, right?
That said, this MacBook Sleeve is good quality, looks professional and sexy – something you will notice the moment you hold it. A picture does not do justice. The zipper turns out to be anti scratch and the memory foam is indeed a bit of a gag if you ask me. But it certainly will help break the fall if you drop it or put it down hard and it feels good in your hand.
There is enough space, to be honest, a bit too much freedom for the 15″ laptop to slide around. If you hold it at the top it might just slide down from between your fingers. A tighter fit would have been a bit nicer.
There is enough space for including a notepad, or some papers. Which is very nice to be honest. There’s also a zipper with enough space to put the adapter or a camera in. Making traveling with your phone, etc a bit easier. In this case, a tight fit wouldn’t have helped, so pretty pleased with that.
Personally what I would have liked to have seen is the zipper going open 100%, it would have allowed me to completely open it without removing the laptop from the sleeve – which would be handy for use in airplane, or at a meeting or cafe. Of course, it’s a minor issue; Taking it out of the sleeve and placing it on top of it is an easy solution to this.
Is it worth the money? Yes. Is it good quality? Yes. Is it a good replacement for the old fashioned office bag? No, not really. If it would have zipped open side to side, and had a handle at the top, then it would have been. Is it small enough, but big enough to include more than just the plain laptop? Yes.