When it comes to style, most laptop bags aim for either techie or chic. MacCase’s Premium Leather Flight Jacket, on the other hand, is designed to appeal to rugged types. As its name implies, the Flight Jacket’s weathered leather looks like it was stripped from a vintage bomber jacket—the bag’s stock leather finish is actually called Vintage—and the overall design similarly resembles a classic messenger bag. (If you’re not a fan of the weathered look, the Flight Jacket is also available in Black or Chocolate, both of which appear to be more traditional in appearance. The Flight Jacket is also available in sizes for the MacBook and MacBook Pro.)
The Flight Jacket is also unique in that it’s essentially a sleeve-style case, but it has storage and carrying options not found on most sleeves. So while it can carry more than just your laptop, it's still slim and compact—enough so that you could put it inside another bag.
Zegari’s Minimalist is a briefcase-style laptop bag meant to appeal to luxury bag lovers. Luxury usually translates to “high price”—in this case, a not-unreasonable-for-a-high-end-bag $285—but with the Minimalist, it also means a carefully considered, functional design.
This Minimalist is impeccably crafted from leather and a mysterious “innovative material” that looks vaguely like metallic leather. The bag is 14.5 inches wide, 12 inches tall, and 3.75 inches thick, and it incorporates only the most essential features and details. The bag’s petite size limits how much you can cram into it, but I consider that to be a clever back-saving feature more than a shortcoming.
Zegari has included a refreshingly good amount of laptop protection for a corporate-style case. The walls are rigid and the interior is heavily padded on all sides. While the bag fits the 15-inch MacBook Pro like a glove, a 13-inch MacBook or MacBook Air will also stay snugly in place, thanks to smart use of stretchy panels on the sides of the laptop compartment. As a bonus, one side of the bag is made of a breathable mesh material so a warm laptop can cool off in transit.
Totes are excellent everyday bags. Large and easily accessible, they’re ideal for everything from loading up on library books to shoplifting Cornish game hens. Clark & Mayfield capitalizes on the format’s wide appeal by taking a typical tote and tricking it out with some laptop-specific interior renovations. The result is the MacBook Pro-ready Metro Express Laptop Tote.
Available in three designs—black houndtooth, red plaid, and brown oval—the Metro is constructed from quality faux-leather and polyester. The bag looks and feels well made, and the trim is convincingly leather-like. One if its more appealing features is that it doesn’t have the appearance of a laptop-specific bag and can easily be used as a regular purse. The bag is 15 inches wide, 13 inches tall, and 5 inches deep, and weighs in at 2 pounds, 12 ounces when empty. It’s made for a 15-inch MacBook Pro; a MacBook or MacBook Air will fit, but will jiggle around inside.
If you spend a lot of time Web surfing on the couch—or on the patio, or in bed, or anywhere else where there’s no tabletop in front of you—you know that one of the biggest liabilities of laptop computing is a burned-out lap. In the past, I’ll confess to making ample use of plump living room pillows to block the considerable heat generated by my laptop, but that’s not the optimal methodology (especially since it actually made the laptop hotter—just not on my legs).
I have now reformed my ways thanks to Targus’s $50 Chill Mat for Mac. The Chill Mat, as its name implies, sits directly on your lap while your furnace of a laptop sits on top of it. The Mat weighs about 1.6 pounds and is constructed of a light piece of rigid-mesh plastic on the top (where the computer sits) and a flexible-mesh screen on the bottom (where it sits on your lap). It comes in a neutral color called lunar gray, which by itself is not appealing, but which looks nice with every Mac laptop available. Inside the Chill Mat’s two layers sit two USB-powered fans that run agreeably quietly. An on/off switch lets you control the fans, so you can still make use of the Mat if you choose not to run the fans. However, there’s no speed adjustment; the fans are either on or off.
When it comes to having a laptop backpack that provides loads of room for more than just a laptop—books, accessories, peripherals, and cables—Booq’s $135 Mamba Pack has a lot to offer. This roomy and colorful backpack features a dedicated laptop compartment that can accommodate 13- to 17-inch laptops, an expandable compartment large enough to hold a four-slice toaster, various mesh pockets for discs and gewgaws, a removable accessories pouch for cables, and a couple side zipper pockets that can hold a water bottle, business cards, and a couple iPods and iPhones.
Made of water-resistant polyester, the backpack includes the expected padded back (the area that sits against your backbone) as well as padded straps. (It rides up high enough that a belt strap is unnecessary.) And that padding makes it comfortable to wear. Less expected is the padding on the outer sections of the pack. I’ve been known to place delicate items in my backpacks’ outer pockets so having this extra bit of protection is welcome.
That said, the padding gives the Mamba Pack a distinctive shape—no one will mistake this pack for something you’d use for a long stroll in the mountains. This look, of course, is purely a matter of taste. I prefer backpacks that look like the day-packs of old, but you may have a more modern outlook.
Apple’s top selling Macs are laptops, but many of those have a semi-permanent home on a desk, like a desktop Mac. Logitech’s AudioHub is a compact, desktop speaker system for your laptop that aims to enhance your movie watching and music listening.
The AudioHub's main section, which hosts a 3-inch woofer, rests behind your laptop; a pair of 2-inch tweeters extend to peek from behind the edges of your laptop. Measuring 20-by-3.75-by-5.25 inches when the speakers are fully extended (17-inches wide when the speakers are not extended).
There’s no shortage of durable laptop bags—backpacks, messenger bags, briefcases, you name it—on the market. Unfortunately they’re not always, well, pretty. As one of Macworld’s resident dames, I volunteered to take some of the more feminine bags out for a spin with the various laptops we have here at Macworld HQ. Today I cover two of these “women’s” bags; one turned out to be a real head turner and the other a much-needed back saver.
Pocket Full of ‘Puter
The unfortunately named Pocket Full of ‘Puter ($198) is a kicky and colorful take on the simple shoulder bag. By far the most stylish of those I’ve been testing, it’s a young and appropriate look for students and sales reps alike. Measuring 14 by 12 by 4 inches on the outside, the case will hold your 15-inch MacBook Pro nicely. For a MacBook or MacBook Air, there’s the Half Pocket Full of ‘Puter ($149), which is just 13.6 by 9.5 by 2.8 inches. Both bags are made from a Teflon-coated felt material available in an array of stylish colors. They keep their shape thanks to a reinforced leather bottom and rigid edges, with slightly more malleable front and back walls; all sides provide a protective layer of foam. Each bag can be carried by the sturdy leather handle on top or the detachable, lightly-padded shoulder strap.