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Thread: Synapse Impressions - w/ 15" MacBook Pro!

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Synapse Impressions - w/ 15" MacBook Pro!

    Synapse Impressions - w/ 15" MacBook Pro!

    I got my new Navy Synapse yesterday and here are my first impressions. For some perspective, I am moderately big, 6 foot tall man.

    I have been carrying a Brain Bag everyday for almost 2 years and it has been great, but the bag is so big and the weight has just gotten to be too much (I have OCBD - Obsessive Compulsive Bag Disorder - if there is room left in the bag, I have to fill it). So I wanted something smaller that would force me to leave my 15" MacBook Pro at home and just carry only what I really needed. Well, the Synapse failed me in that goal, I can fit my 15" MacBook Pro in it . But otherwise it is everything I hoped it would be.

    The Navy color is gorgeous. I can't bring myself to buy a black bag, its just too boring for me. The Navy gives me my need for color, but is still appropriate for the workplace or other places where you don't want to be too flashy. Solar was not my first choice for the interior, but I think it turned out to be the best option. I would never want Steel, just too dark for me to see the contents of the bag. No Iberian option unfortunately. So, I had thought Ultraviolet would be best, but the only option with it is Black, and as I said, no way I could get a black bag. However, I got a couple UV pouches recently and I think maybe UV would be too dark for me too. So in the end I am really happy my Synapse has the Solar.

    The pockets of the Synapse are really well laid out. I especially love the bottom pocket, I can fit my Side Effect in there and keep it separate and easy to get to. In my Brain Bag, the Side Effect would be at the bottom of one of the huge compartments and it would end up with a lot of stuff piled on top of it.

    The side pockets are a little small for me, but its understandable on the bag this small overall. The pen slots are shallow and my pens stick out at the top a little much. I can also only fit mini organizer pouches comfortably. A small pouch might fit, but it would be a tight squeeze.

    The water bottle pocket is amazing. Revolutionary for me. I recently started carrying a Clear2Go water bottle everyday (which I highly recommend) and being able to put the bottle completely inside the Synapse, and right in the center of gravity, is going to make carrying the bottle with me much nicer.

    The small top pocket is nice too. I really like that it is a single piece of dyneema that forms a pouch with no seems on the bottom. Its a small detail, but it makes retrieving small items like coins easier.

    Finally, the main compartment. It is not too large, but that is the point of the Synapse. It is just large enough to get the job done. I immediately tried to fit my 15" MacBook Pro as soon as I got the bag. And just as I had heard, it does fit. I have the computer in a sleeve, which is not a Cache, but very similar. In fact, it is a little larger that the Cache (15.13"x11.19" vs 15"x10.4"), so I would feel confident that a 15" MacBook Pro in a Cache would fit. It is a little tight, you have to pull the back of the bag over the MacBook before you zip it shut, but its really not too bad. If I were TB, I would list the 15" MacBook Pro as fitting in this bag. I also was able to fit my iPad 1 in its Mareware EcoView case and a large organizer pouch with a folder of documents inside. There was a little room left at the top where I can fit the charger for the computer. The only negative is that with this much in the main compartment, I cannot fit my water bottle in the water bottle pocket. There is only room for flatter items left in that pocket.

    Overall, another great bag from TB. Maybe the best yet for what it is. I have really never seen another backpack so well laid out and executed. Here are some photos for you.


    The color is not too accurate, it is a little darker and deeper in real life.


    My 15" MacBook Pro in a sleeve, my iPad in a case, and a large organizer pouch in the main compartment.


    The contents of the main compartment laid out.
    TB in my house - Hunter Aeronaut | Indigo Brain Bag | Black/Steel/Red Ego | Steel/Wasabi ID | Steel/Crimson/Crimson Imago | Crimson/Steel/Steel Imago | Steel/Crimson Large Cafe | Olive Side Effect | Conifer Field Journal | more accessories than I like to admit

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    Registered User marbenais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe99 View Post
    I have been carrying a Brain Bag everyday for almost 2 years and it has been great, but the bag is so big and the weight has just gotten to be too much (I have OCBD - Obsessive Compulsive Bag Disorder - if there is room left in the bag, I have to fill it). So I wanted something smaller that would force me to leave my 15" MacBook Pro at home and just carry only what I really needed. Well, the Synapse failed me in that goal, I can fit my 15" MacBook Pro in it . But otherwise it is everything I hoped it would be.
    I must have OCBD, too! The Synapse has been amazing for my back & neck.

    The only negative is that with this much in the main compartment, I cannot fit my water bottle in the water bottle pocket. There is only room for flatter items left in that pocket.
    You might want to try putting the water bottle in that compartment first, then loading the rest of the stuff in the main compartment. Even when the Synapse has been packed to bursting, I've been able to wiggle a bottle (or two cans) in & out of the front pocket.
    I have : many pouches & wallets & 3D Cubes & CQPCs & Stuff Sacks & Shop Bags, plum & black (C) & black/UV & aubergine/UV (B) Side Effects, steel/UV Citizen Canine, black FJN, plum/wasabi SCB, Cork Little Swift, black/steel Co-Pilot, old plum/olive (C) & black/UV (D) LCB, plum/black (C) Swift, old plum/olive (C) Imago, old plum/wasabi Ruck's Sac, steel WF/TS PCB, plum/solar & black/UV (C) & steel/UV (D) Synapses, black/iberian Smart Alec, steel Brain Bag.

  3. #3
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your new Synapse! I think the Navy is a handsome color: I think that word suits the color better than beautiful. I like it a lot. Does the color in the bottom two photos look closer to what the bag looks like in real life? You made me laugh with your OCBD: think I have that, too. Maybe the Synapse I just ordered will help me conquer that: though looking at what you were able to fit in there without even working hard at it, maybe not.

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    The Navy is a wonderful color. I was torn between the Navy or Indigo when I ordered my Synapse but went with Indigo. They are both awesome colors.
    Synapse 25 (Steel Dyneema/UV), Organizer Pouches ( Dyneema, Cordura, Cork - various size & colors), FoJ Pouch, FoT Pouch, 2011 TB Mystery gift(Cork pouch), 2012 Mystery Gift (Forest/ Steel) Pocket Pouch, Sm Yarn Stuff Sack (UV), Small Shop Bag (Steel), Large Shop Bag (UV), Various Color Key Straps, Side Effect (Steel Dyneema/Wasabi)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ncb4 View Post
    Does the color in the bottom two photos look closer to what the bag looks like in real life?
    The bottom photos do come closer to real life, but still not exact. The camera is giving the fabric too much shimmer. It is not so reflective in real life.

    Quote Originally Posted by TXGirl View Post
    The Navy is a wonderful color. I was torn between the Navy or Indigo when I ordered my Synapse but went with Indigo. They are both awesome colors.
    I too was torn between Indigo and Navy. I don't regret the Navy at all, but I broke down a couple days ago and ordered a Co-Pilot in Indigo while they are still in stock.
    TB in my house - Hunter Aeronaut | Indigo Brain Bag | Black/Steel/Red Ego | Steel/Wasabi ID | Steel/Crimson/Crimson Imago | Crimson/Steel/Steel Imago | Steel/Crimson Large Cafe | Olive Side Effect | Conifer Field Journal | more accessories than I like to admit

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    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Count me in as another Indigo lover: that's the color I just ordered as well. But I was also drawn to the Navy, and considered it, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marbenais View Post
    You might want to try putting the water bottle in that compartment first, then loading the rest of the stuff in the main compartment. Even when the Synapse has been packed to bursting, I've been able to wiggle a bottle (or two cans) in & out of the front pocket.
    Thanks marbenais. I did try putting the water bottle in first and was able to fit it in.
    TB in my house - Hunter Aeronaut | Indigo Brain Bag | Black/Steel/Red Ego | Steel/Wasabi ID | Steel/Crimson/Crimson Imago | Crimson/Steel/Steel Imago | Steel/Crimson Large Cafe | Olive Side Effect | Conifer Field Journal | more accessories than I like to admit

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    I think this post seals the deal on me getting a Synapse. I wanted to get a backpack instead of a messenger bag to lug around my 15.4" MBP after destroying my shoulders on a Heathrow domestic to international terminal dash. Being only 5'2, this bag looked to be the best fit but then they didn't advertise that it could carry a standard sized laptop. Glad to see it works just fine.

  9. #9
    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Well, slap me silly. I know what's going straight to the top of my wish list now. Thanks for the pics; they were really helpful!

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    I bought the Synapse in Black/Steel in the early fall. I use it to commute by bus to work and back every day and have taken it on trips to NY City and Atlantic City. I carry my iPad in a InCase Travel Kit Plus (Travel Kit Plus for iPad by Incase) which fits nicely in the main compartment inside the inner sleeve. I also have a folding travel umbrella, a small organizer pouch (steel dyneema) containing first aid items, assorted paperwork other small items for the day all in the main pouch with room to spare. In the water bottle pocket is my Camelbak Better Bottle (CamelBak Better Bottle - 25 fl. oz. at REI.com) which slides in nicely. The small pocket to the right of the water bottle has my Android phone in the cell phone pocket and my sunglasses and interchangeable lenses in their case. The pocket to the left has my pens and pencils and some hand sanitizer. I use the small center pocket for my bus tickets and a rail pass but have also carried gum and lip blam in their with room still left. I rarely use the bottom pocket but plan to get a side effect for my camera and its accessories and let it move into the lower pocket space. I have already carried my gym clothes and accessories in the main compartment along with all of these items and still have some room left. On the trips, I carry fruit and food bars in the main compartment as well.
    S25 (French Blue), Brain Cell (size 5), Super Ego (Black/Black/Steel), Synapse (Black/Steel), Dyneema Organizer Pouch (Steel), Travel Tray (Steel), 2011 Mystery Gift (Cork), 2012 Mystery Gift (Navy/Nordic), Organizer Wallet (Navy), Kit (Steel), 3D Clear Organizer Cube (Steel), Mesh Ballistic Organizer Pouch (Med.), 2013 Mystery Gift (Parapack Grey)

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    I'm looking for a laptop backpack for my petite wife and I was interested to hear your 15" MBP fit. That's what she has. But I want to clarify something. It looks like the sleeve you have it in does not extend all the way around the laptop, and that the top of the laptop is exposed right up against the top of the bag. Am I seeing that correctly? If so, then if you dropped the bag upside down, or if something fell on top of the bag, the computer would have no protection other than the thin material of the bag itself, right?

    I don't think I would be comfortable with that lack of protection. At this point I'm thinking the Smart Alec may be her better choice. Just trying to sort it all out.


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