Just got my Black-Iberian Cadet today and I like it so far. There are a few design niggles that I have upon first impression but they are minor compared to all the things right with this classic laptop bag.
With the synapse on the left and Super Ego on the right
A size comparison to the iPad and the interior of the front pocket
It is also small enough to easily fit into the main pocket of the Super Ego
I can fit everything I carry daily in the Synapse in the Cadet. I'll be using it for a while to see if it works as a commuter bag for me as well as the Synapse does.
As to the few niggles (not problems), here goes:
1. Inside the front flap the Ultrasuede and ballistic backing is showing where the other thirds of the flap are backed in dyneema, yet the middle third looks unfinished with the non seam taped stitching as well as the brown from the Ultrasuede.
2. The front, bottom and back are padded of the main pocket but the sides are not. I knew this going into the purchase but I hit the sides of my bag more on things than the back. It appears that the foam could have been extended up the sides to offer more protection to the pocket. ( I know most folks will have all fragile items in padded sleeves in this pocket)
3. The stock zipper pulls on the front pocket are small and the zippers are stiff. This makes it difficult to open the pocket combined with a sharp complex curve to the zipper. I am going to add extended pulls to these for sure (the cord zipper pulls are linked in the description, they should be a drop down option on the order form). The zippers pulls being metal cause a bit of jangling and noise but the extenders I am adding will silence that.
That being said the Standard Tom Bihn build quality is amazing. The ballistic nylon is a rich black and not flat or inconsistent. I do love me some dyneema and the grid pattern is straight and matched throughout.
What does strike me after loading it up is the lack of pockets coming from the Synapse. I have gone back to a more organizer pouch based approach that I use with the Super Ego even though the Super ego has more pockets than the Cadet.
The Cadet is a great middle ground when it comes to carrying my 14-15" laptops. The Super Ego drowns them and I can't get a 15" laptop into the Synapse.
Thanks for getting the bag to me so fast, I was very surprised to have a shipping notification later the same day I ordered!
Bravo Tom Bihn and crew, I really think you have a winner on your hands.
(Sorry about the marginal photo quality, compressed iphone photo's are ugly it seems. I'll try and recreate and post better ones in brighter light with a real camera. I was in a hurry to share my thoughts :) )