WaterField Designs Laptop Sleeve Case Review

by Reads (5,587)

Introduction

Versatility is an important characteristic to have, whether you are speaking about a person or a notebook sleeve.  If you are looking for a highly versatile sleeve, look to WaterField Designs’ SleeveCase.  Not only does it work as a sleeve that you can slip inside your bag, but can be customized to be a standalone case as well with the durability needed to be your everyday notebook case.  But be ready to pay a hefty sum for what you get.

Design

The SleeveCase is mainly composed of three materials.  The inside is made of shock-absorbing neoprene, covered by tough ballistic nylon.  The bottom has a lead indium trim, which has a checkered pattern to it, giving the sleeve a touch of style.  The outer materials seem highly water resistant.  After I ran it under my sink at full blast for approximately half a minute, I could not detect any moisture in the interior.


Horizontal Sleeve (view large image)

The basic sleeve comes with a Velcro strap that keeps the sleeve securely closed.  However, I feel as if having the strap could pose a bit of a problem.   Because the strap concentrates pressure where it is located, it could cause a bit of extra wear on the notebook on that specific point. However, this is just speculation.

The back of the sleeve has a pouch where you can put slim folders or papers.


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If you look at the pictures above, you will notice a black strip on the bottom of the notebook.  This is a pull tab, which helps you remove the notebook from the sleeve.  This is especially useful since the SleeveCase fits very snugly.  They have custom sizes for every notebook.  If they do not have your notebook in their database, you can send them information on your notebook and they will customize a sleeve to your specifications.


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The padding itself seems to be very good.  The case is almost 1 cm thick. 


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However, because of the padding the sleeve itself feels a bit heavy.  If you own a larger notebook (i.e. widescreen 15” or 17”), you will most likely be unable to squeeze this into the padded sleeve of a laptop backpack.  The sleeve will be too long, making it difficult to zip up your backpack.  It will fit into a standard backpack without a padded sleeve. 


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I do have one gripe with the way this case is made.  The rugged ballistic nylon is sewn into the inside of the sleeve.  Thus, your notebook ends up rubbing up against the rough seam and fabric.  Sometimes I can hear the soft scraping sound of the notebook rubbing up against the sleeve, and it sends chills up my back, knowing that my baby may be getting scratched up every time I take my notebook in and out of the sleeve.


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Customizable Options

What is great about the SleeveCase is that you can get it customized to your specifications.  One of the things customizable options that is actually free is the orientation.  The horizontal orientation (depicted above) is meant for messenger bags.  The vertical sleeve is better suited for backpacks.


Vertical Sleeve with flap and D-rings (view large image)


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The vertical sleeve in the picture also has two other customizable options.  It has the sleeve flap and the D-rings.  The sleeve flap would be my preferred option for the SleeveCase, as it completely covers the top, which would be beneficial in the case of some sort of spillage near the top of your bag/backpack.  Also, it doesn’t add the pressure the central Velcro strap might add.

The D-ring allows for the attachment of two additional accessories:  the shoulder strap and the “piggyback”.   The shoulder strap allows you to use the SleeveCase as an independent carrying case.  The piggyback is a small pouch that can hold your power adapter and other accessories.  Though not pictured, I was able to fit a large power supply and a small travel mouse with some room to spare.


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The Part Where I Crush Stuff

The point of having a laptop carrying case is to have something that can transport your notebook and protect it from bumps and occasionally drops.  So I wondered, does the SleeveCase have enough padding to provide protection against minor drops and bumps like a regular laptop case would?  In order to find an answer to my question, I devised a crude test.  Essentially, I taped 5 polystyrene test tubes inside a plastic bag (to reduce the mess) and dropped a ream of multi-purpose paper (500 pages) on the test tubes with and without the sleeve.  The drop height was approximately 3 feet.


Testing materials: test tubes and paper ream (view large image)

Without any protection, the test tubes were pretty damaged.


Test tube damage without sleeve protection (view large image)

On the other hand, when placed inside the SleeveCase, the test tubes were not damaged at all.  In fact, I dropped the ream of paper on it 3 times, and there still was no damage.


Test tubes with sleeve protection on the left and test tubes without any protection on the right (view large image)

 

Conclusion

The Waterfield SleeveCase is a great sleeve.  It exudes quality with its ballistic nylon covering and neoprene internals. I love the fact that I can just clip on a shoulder strap and convert it into a carrying case if I wanted.  Plus, not many sleeve manufacturers make custom fits for every notebook.  But of course, quality comes at a price.  If you are willing to cough up the dough, you will be highly pleased with your purchase.

Pros:

  • It is made to be durable
  • Every sleeve is custom fitted
  • You can customize the sleeve to your needs (e.g. vertical/horizontal orientation, use just as sleeve or use also as case)
  • It seemingly provides adequate padding to protect your notebook.

Cons:

  • I don’t like how the seam for the ballistic nylon is on the inside of the sleeve, exposing your notebook to rough fabric
  • It is a bit heavy.

 

Where to Buy

The Waterfield Design SleeveCase can be purchased and customized at SFBags.com

Cost varies based on sleeve size and other factors.


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