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Travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. Tom Bihn has been designing and making bags since 1972. The best materials and innovative construction.

Horizontal Brain Cell - Tom Bihn Laptop Bags

The Horizontal Brain Cell, like the Vertical Brain Cell, provides superior hard-sided protection for your laptop. It's available specific sizes designed for Apple laptops and multiple sizes designed to fit a wide variety of PC laptops. Use our Laptop Bag Fit Guide that lists the internal and external dimensions of each size of Brain Cell to determine which size of Brain Cell is the best fit for your laptop.

Inside the Horizontal Brain Cell, your laptop hangs suspended and cradled in a sling of 10 mm (3/8") thick soft foam padding inside a 4 mm hard corrugated-plastic shell that protects from the front, back, and bottom.

Below the padded sling, fixed to the bottom of the corrugated-plastic shell, is a 12 mm thick strip of memory foam (manufactured to our specifications in the USA). The memory foam acts as an extra layer of cushion as well as an effective shock absorber. The sides of the Horizontal Brain Cell are protected by 6 mm (1/4") of dense cross-linked closed-cell polyethylene foam. The case closes on the top, like a cereal box, with two padded flaps that seal with Aplix® strips (like Velcro®, only longer-lasting). You can shield your laptop even further: the Brain Cell is designed to clip securely inside our briefcases (Empire Builder, Zephyr), backpacks (Brain Bag, Smart Alec), travel bags (Western Flyer, Tri-Star), and messenger bags (Super Ego, Ego, ID), turning them into protective laptop bags. Note that not all sizes of Brain Cell fit inside all bags. Click here for a guide that lists which Brain Cell sizes fit in which bags.

The Brain Cell is available in sizes designed specifically for Apple laptops (Size 4Z = 15" MacBook Pro, Size 6X = 13" MacBook Air, Size 6Z = 13" MacBook Pro, Size 1 = 17" MacBook Pro) and PC laptops (please consult our Laptop Bag Fit Guide to determine the best size for your PC laptop).

The front of the Brain Cell has two open-top pockets made of heavy-weight stretch mesh designed to fit your power supply and other cables.

Strong webbing handles on the top allow you to carry the Brain Cell on its own or give you a good grip as you pull it out of your larger bag. However, you can carry the Brain Cell on your shoulder. On either side of the Brain Cell are triangle D rings to which you can clip your choice of the Absolute, Standard, or Simple Shoulder Strap. Each of the triangle D ring shoulder strap attachment points is reinforced with six rows of stitching for added security. You can also likely clip a shoulder strap not made by us to the triangle D rings, but make sure the snaphooks of your shoulder strap are as durable and strong as ours; some aren't, and that could mean the protection the Brain Cell offers your laptop could, unfortunately very suddenly, come in quite handy.

Note that in order to take full advantage of the Horizontal Brain Cell's suspension system, it must be carried in the horizontal, or "landscape," format. The laptop protection the Brain Cell provides is significantly decreased if you use the Horizontal Brain Cell vertically. If you require a protective laptop case to use in a vertical, or "portrait," format, take a look at our Vertical Brain Cell.


500 denier Cordura® exterior
Heavy-duty stretch mesh pockets
Aplix® hook and loop closure
Plush brushed tricot interior
.375" / 10 mm open-cell foam padding in sling
.25" / 6 mm closed-cell foam padding on sides
.5" / 12 mm memory foam padding on bottom
Corrugated polypropylene front, back, and bottom


Made in USA
100% finished seams


For the interior and exterior dimensions of each size of Horizontal Brain Cell, click here.

Videos and Customer Photos

How to clip a Brain Cell to your TOM BIHN bag.

View customer photos on Flickr.

External Reviews

As reviewed by IGN:
"The Brain Cell bags suspend their laptop cargo in an internal cradle of 8-mm [3/8", actually —Editor] soft foam within a shell of 4-mm hard corrugated plastic. The result is pretty serious protection that avoids annoying bulk, and we particularly like the suspension idea, as a straight fall from one's hand seems like the most common accidental dropping situation. Read the full review.

As reviewed by Burney's Legal Tech Reviews:
"I thoroughly enjoy using the Brain Cell on its own, and it works perfectly when I just need a small bag to take my laptop down to the local coffee shop. But the true design of the Brain Cell shines when you slip it inside one of the Tom Bihn bags that happily welcomes the Brain Cell, including the Empire Builder, the Brain Bag, the Smart Alec, or the ID. All of these bags feature small internal plastic clips that perfectly slide inside a strip of webbing found on the back of the Brain Cell. Those clips secure the Brain Cell providing an unbeatable combination of protection for your laptop. I've been using the Brain Cell inside my Empire Builder for quite a while now, and I never worry about my laptop getting damaged from the occasional bump, nudge, or drop. Plus when I'm traveling and just want to take my laptop to a meeting without lugging around my full briefcase, I simply unhook the Brain Cell from inside the Empire Builder, and I'm on my way." Read the full review.

Want to read more reviews? Here's our complete list of external bag reviews.

people who have the Horizontal Brain Cell say:

7+ Year Old Empire Builder. Like New.
"Another huge plus. My travel related hard drive failures have gone to nil since my laptops been in the Brain Cell." — posted by mrmajestic

Thank you for saving my MacBook Pro!
"My husband & I were in a terrifying auto wreck this weekend and the car rolled. We both had seatbelts on which saved our lives, but my ID Messenger was tossed around the car. Because Ive been using a Brain Cell with the ID for years I never even thought twice about it. That afternoon I pulled out my laptop to show the family some pictures Id been working on and their reactions made me realize that what Id taken for granted was actually something astonishing. It had honestly never occurred to me that my computer might NOT be ok! I think my family was as shocked that the computer worked as I would have been if it hadnt! LOL." — emailed by Sharon

Medium Cafe Bag & Brain Cell
"The brain cell has been absolutely wonderful to use, and it's served my MacBook very well. In one of my writing classes, a classmate had also just gotten a MacBook, and I showed her my brain cell and mentioned the Tom Bihn site. Within two weeks, she was sporting her own brain cell as well. =) One of the great things about the brain cell has been being able to use it with my existing messenger bags." — posted by socio

Read more customer reviews posted in our forums.

Post your review in our Forums, on our Facebook page, or email it to us.

Horizontal Brain Cell

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Add a Shoulder Strap:


Tom Bihn bags are made in the USA Always Made in U.S.A.

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Empire Builder
Empire Builder: $190.00
ID: $160.00
Super Ego
Super Ego: $180.00
Vertical Brain Cell
Vertical Brain Cell: $65.00
Western Flyer
Western Flyer: $230.00
Cache: $30.00
Tri-Star: $315.00