Vertical Brain Cell for MacBook Pro 15.4
First and foremost, Tom Bihn's exceptional customer support made me feel like I was buying this bag from a family member. I can't stress enough how important this was for me. Anyone can make a quality product, but treating customers like people is what makes a company truly great.
Now, down to brass tacks. I bought the Brain Cell with one thing in mind - protecting my investment. I'm by no means a rich man, so when I spend three grand on a notebook, I'm going to do whatever I can to keep it safe. After an exhausting search on countless review sites and forums, it was clear to me that the Brain Cell was leading the pack in notebook sleeves.
The stiff corrugated plastic inserts and the internal foam sling combine to give this case a rugged, yet extremely lightweight feel. Sliding your hand inside the case to feel the cushy 8mm foam immediately dispels your fears of scratching the notebook's exterior. On the outside, the tough 500 denier Cordura shell feels (and IS) extremely resilient. I've only had mine a month and it's already weathered some sharp corners and edges without leaving a mark.
The real beauty of this bag however is in the internal foam sling design. It works like the shock absorber on a car absorbing the impact of drops and falls with the bottom layer of plastic while keeping the notebook safely suspended inside.
The stretchy mesh front pockets are also quite handy; they expand to accommodate much more than you think at first. I bought this sleeve to use inside my existing backpack (a skate pack I bought years ago more for form than function) so it's nice to be able to keep my power adapter and mouse from rattling around at the bottom.
I have only two qualms with this bag and I can assure you, they are minuscule. First, the smaller external mesh pocket looks like it's made to fit a mouse but it turned out to be just a little too small. Instead, I've taken to squeezing mine into the main mesh pocket and storing the MacBook remote in the smaller one.
The second is with the top closure. The Aplix (read: Velcro) strips are quite loud when opening and closing. Pulling out your notebook in a meeting is akin to bringing a bag of chips into a movie theater. It is however a secure closure that won't scratch the notebook when removing it, and I can't think of a more effective way to work it.
All-in-all, this bag is a Godsend. Thank you Tom Bihn (Darcy especially) for making a top-notch case for my second brain.