A brief (?) review of the Founder's Briefcase
My wife was kind enough to have gotten me a navy Founder's Briefcase for Christmas. Unfortunately, we were out of the country and she couldn't order it until the notice that demand was higher than expected. But in typical TB style, even though the status said backorder until mid-January, it actually arrived on 12/27. That was before I had actually returned to work anyway. So thanks to them for delivering well before the projection!
I mostly wanted this bag for my personal laptop and gadgets--rather than for using for work stuff--but if I end up using it for work as well, then that's a bonus. Overall I am very pleased with the bag, and I will definitely see how I like it for work in addition to my expected personal use. Here are my thoughts on a few things that might be helpful to others:
1) General structure/padding: Both main side panels have structure and padding from what feels like 1/8" thick foam sheets. It is not just the laptop side with outer padding. The bag can actually stand up entirely on its own when empty and even with some stuff loaded in it--like a laptop! Uneven loads might lead to tipping over.
2) Navy parapack/coyote brown: I do really like this combination. As I'd said in the other threads about the parapack, I'm a sucker for blue bags, and this color and fabric are a good one. The coyote brown with the navy does make for a very nice classic look similar to the old Orvis/LL Bean/etc. briefcases. I'm sure the FB looks great in other colors too, but I'm glad my wife picked navy. It's professional enough to fit in all but the snootiest formal situations, but because of the coyote brown it has good character.
3) The laptop pocket: For those who can't tell from the photos, the padded area for the laptop is designed like the Cache. Really more like half of a Cache. As I said in #1, the outside panel has foam padding. My personal laptop is a 15" MacBookPro Retina, and the padded compartment in the FB is clearly designed for that size of laptop. It fits perfectly and is easy to get in and out. My work laptop is an older 13.3" Dell. It's definitely thicker than the MacBook, but is shorter and narrower by a good bit. It fits just fine. The extra thickness might cause the laptop compartment to bulge a little, but because of the smaller other dimensions, it isn't really noticeable unless you're really trying, and it doesn't change the functionality of the bag at all.
4) Packing wedge: I have not tried clothing or other loose items in the packing wedge yet, but I did use it to contain about a 2" thick stack of letter-size documents. It worked perfectly for that. Legal will also fit but probably not a 2" stack of legal. 2" of A1 should be fine. With that plus my work laptop, the bag was not bulging at all.
5) Mesh pockets: The MacBook's power adapter--with just the prongs, not the cable extension--fit perfectly in the middle compartment, and my mouse fit perfectly in one of the two side compartments. It's a fairly typical size "gaming" mouse with a long cable, not a mini travel mouse, so most standard mice will probably fit. I did not try my Dell power adapter because it normally stays home, and I just didn't think to experiment with it. I'm a bit worried that it's dimensions will be a problem in the mesh pockets. The middle pocket is pretty square, and the Dell adapter is anything but. My guess is that if it fits, it will only be with the AC-side cable disconnected and possibly stowed in a separate pocket.
6) Outer pockets: The top one fits an iPhone 5s (or 5) with a fairly slim case. I can all but guarantee that a case like an Otterbox would NOT fit. It did fit my wife's HTC One VX (which is a 4" screen, I think). It will not fit a Samsung Note. It might fit something like a Samsung Galaxy 3, but not with a large case. The lower outer pocket has an o-ring. I'm not sure what I'll use that pocket for though. It's a little taller than other pocket, but it's flat, so stuffing a full keyring doesn't really work.
7) Zipper pulls: They very nicely provided enough for all zippers in both coyote and red. I ended up doing coyote on the exterior zippers and red on the inner ones, including the packing wedge. The red stood out a little too much on the exterior, IMO. I'm sure there will be plenty of people who prefer the red all around, and plenty who prefer the coyote everywhere.
I thought about taking a couple pictures, but honestly, I couldn't think of anything that wasn't already well-represented by the photos on the product page or the various blog entries about the bag.