ID Messenger Bag - initial impressions
I received my first Tom Bihn bag yesterday as a self-ordered birthday present from my wife, and I have to say I am impressed. I ordered the black/black/steel, along with a size 5 brain cell for my Acer Aspire One 11/6" netbook.
The bag certainly is well made. Very substantial stitching and fabric, top quality zippers and buckles, and the Absolute shoulder strap lives up to its billing as super-comfortable. I can tell I'm going to have this bag for a VERY long time !
I transferred the contents of my backpack into the ID with no troubles at all. The pockets are nicely laid out, and I love the O-ring clips for key rings, and the 'light on a lanyard' that I also ordered. I can tell I will be shopping for one or two accessories - either the snake charmer, or one of the other organizer bags to keep all of the little stuff in its place.
All in all I was very impressed with the quantity of stuff that fits into the ID.
The bag looks great, empty or full, and lays nicely when on either one shoulder, or carried messenger-bag style. Overall I'm very impressed and quite satisfied.
The Brain Cell is also fantastic. I was a little dubious about laying out that kind of money for a laptop protector, but I'm very happy that I did. The way that it clips into the ID bag is very clever, and the Brain Cell seems like it could protect my laptop from just about anything.
A few very minor nits:
The zipper pocket on the flap of the bag seems to be a little too close to the edge for my taste - I would have liked another inch or so of room in that pocket as it's so handy to access, but a little small for some gadgets or a boarding pass, etc.
Another is with the Guardian dual function light. I could not for the life of me figure out how to switch it from strobe mode to always-on. I called, and the very nice customer service person who answered told me I just needed to unscrew the cover and flip the battery. Simple enough, but a little instruction sheet or something would have been helpful. You might want to toss a piece of paper with that information into the bag when shipping the lights. I love the light though - I got the white, and it's great for finding stuff inside the bag in a dim room.
One other suggestion - my laptop doesn't come up with a recommended Brain Cell size in the bag fitting application on the web site. It recommends other sleeves, but not a Brain Cell. I found a forum post that indicated the size 5 would work, and indeed it fits perfectly, so I would suggest linking the Acer Aspire One to the Size 5 Brain Cell in the Laptop Sizing Guide.
Overall very, very impressed. I fly about 75,000 miles a year for work, so I will report back with some 'field tests' as I put it through its paces.
I would recommend this bag to anyone looking for a stylish yet professional looking laptop/gadget bag.
Now to look forward to the photography kit - that is almost certainly going to lead to my next Christmas gift suggestion for TB pieces #2 and 3 :)
Thanks to all of the people who have posted reviews and comments about the ID bag in the forums. I was really agonizing over which bag to get, and the posts and general fun attitude of the people on the forums convinced me that Tom Bihn was the way to go !