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  1. #1
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    Synapse questions

    My curiosity about the Synapse stems from the possibility I may someday buy one for my mother. Here are my questions:



    Is the Synapse going to take center-stage on the Tom Bihn homepage soon?

    Have Annex Clips been purposefully omitted from the Synapse, or will a customer be able to order them to go with a Brain Cell?

    During earlier discussion of the Synapse, it was revealed that a Synapse prototype was taken on a hike in Alaska while carrying a 15-inch MacBook Pro. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this.) Will the final version be able to carry a 15-inch laptop computer, and, if so, in which sleeves?

    From the Synapse web-page: "Beneath the opening for the bottle pocket is another small zippered pocket: just deep enough for your keys and Swiss Army knife. One o-ring is in this pocket, and attached to it is the included 8" Key Strap." Is there enough room in this compartment for an Organizer Pouch to be attached to the included Key Strap?

    Does the water bottle pocket on the Synapse have an o-ring? (If not, it should for those who may wish to use this pocket for Organizer Pouches instead.)

  2. #2
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    Hi,
    I haven't seen more of this bag than has appeared in the forum discussions, but I can take a shot at answering your questions.
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    My curiosity about the Synapse stems from the possibility I may someday buy one for my mother. Here are my questions:


    Is the Synapse going to take center-stage on the Tom Bihn homepage soon?
    Darcy mentioned that the official announcement will be next Tuesday, so the Synapse probably will be highlighted -- especially since some of use have been waiting for over 2 years for this back to be released.

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Have Annex Clips been purposefully omitted from the Synapse, or will a customer be able to order them to go with a Brain Cell?
    The Synapse isn't primarily a laptop bag; it's a daypack that can hold a smaller-sized laptop. Hence, on the Synapse product page there are only options for ordering a Cache soft sleeve sized for a 13" computer like the MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air, or for a netbook. There isn't enough room for a hard case like a Brain Cell with annex clips. A good description is the one Mike D. gave in another thread, based on an open house visit:
    Quote Originally Posted by BigMikeD. View Post
    I was lucky enough to get some "alone" time with the Synapse today due to an alignment of the planets and a small twist of fate that put me in need of a Braincell for my wife's new laptop (HP dv3t), getting the new 2XXLT size Braincell for my own computer (HP HDX18t), and a small pug sneaking onto the elevator and taking a tour of the seventh floor just before I arrived at the store... 10 minutes early.

    While Tom and the ever gracious and extremely helpful Darcy were distracted by locating and securing all the canine delinquents (well, Ichiro appeared to be chillin' but you could tell he was daring the pug to get into mischief) I was able to thoroughly examine and assess the Synapse. While I found it wasn't suitable for my wife's use, I was really impressed with it as a day/hiking pack.

    First off, it is small. I sat it next to my Brainbag and it barely came up to the top compression straps. It's even shorter than the Buzz. However, the arrangement of the pockets and internal space is really well done. The only thing I didn't see was a mesh outside pocket for wet umbrellas, but that's getting really nitpicky and I don't want to imply that as a defect in the design. The bag is small, but that is deceptive as it provides you with plenty of room for:
    • a small (~13") laptop in a soft sleeve
    • a short-handled umbrella
    • a water bottle
    • a microwavable 24 oz. lunch container
    • lightweight windbreaker
    • possibly a small pocket book
    • room for keys, pens, mp3 player, and a cell phone
    I know this because I crammed all them in there while Tom and Darcy were distracted by the dogs and other customers. It was remarkably easy to load and unload it: I got everything I listed out of my Brain Bag, into the Synapse, and back out in 3 minutes tops. With practice I could probably cut that down to 60 seconds.

    Unfortunately, my wife also carries her large purse* in her backpack as she commutes to and from work. That last bit of added luggage ruled out the Synapse for her personally, but the backpack itself is pretty awesome. If I had a small laptop rather than this gorgeous beast of mine, I could easily see myself using a Synapse exclusively, both for daily use and swapping out contents for a day hike or a river run. I liked it so much, I spent 20 minutes trying to justify owing one when I already have 2 cases, 3 duffels and a Brainbag. All in all I think Tom has created an truly excellent back pack that is sized and arranged perfectly for people who want all their modern accoutrement without including the clutter. *looks pointedly at wife*

    PS: I intentionally left the camera in the car so I wouldn't be tempted.

    *(don't ask... some women just have to have their purse on hand AT ALL TIMES... I gave up trying to understand it years ago because whenever I asked all got was mutterings about the "zombie apocalypse")
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    During earlier discussion of the Synapse, it was revealed that a Synapse prototype was taken on a hike in Alaska while carrying a 15-inch MacBook Pro. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this.) Will the final version be able to carry a 15-inch laptop computer, and, if so, in which sleeves?
    See the above posted contents. As I recall, the comment that the 15-inch MacBook Pro fit into the prototype was also mentioned in the same context as the fact that this just fit in, but was not part of the recommended design. I think you're talking about the difference in length of about 12.9" for the 13" MacBooks and 14.3" for the 15" MacBook Pro (based on looking up the laptop case option dimensions). Darcy posted:
    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    Volume: total 19 liters (1160 cu.in.)

    Front pockets only (all four combined - too small to measure separately by the ASTM standard): 6 liters (360 cu.in.)

    Main compartment only: 13 liters (800 cu.in.)

    Over-all external measures:
    390mm (15.3") tall
    280mm (11") wide
    200mm (7.9") thick
    Since the external height is 15.3" and there is a pocket below, I think a 15" MacBook Pro would have to be angled to fit into the compartment. The best indication that this is not the designed carry mode is the fact that they do not offer to sell you a Cache for this size laptop. (Although, they did modify the Brain Cell fit list of the Western flyer based on my query about the the Size 6T -- but in that case the difference in dimension between that case and another supported case was about half an inch, and seemed marginally within the external specs.)

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    From the Synapse web-page: "Beneath the opening for the bottle pocket is another small zippered pocket: just deep enough for your keys and Swiss Army knife. One o-ring is in this pocket, and attached to it is the included 8" Key Strap." Is there enough room in this compartment for an Organizer Pouch to be attached to the included Key Strap?

    Does the water bottle pocket on the Synapse have an o-ring? (If not, it should for those who may wish to use this pocket for Organizer Pouches instead.)
    Yes, on the question of whether there is room for organizer pouches to be attached to the key strap. Don't know whether the top center pocket (that can be used for a water bottle) has an O-ring.

    Maverick may be able to answer your questions more fully since he has a version of this bag already in hand.

    m.

  3. #3
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    i was able to place a 15" macbook pro by itself into the synapse. this is the previous design of the macbook pro, not the unibody design. there wasn't much wiggle room width wise, but a couple of inches free lengthwise - see attached picture. i'll let you know how it fits with the cache.

    while you can squeeze a mini organizer pouch or tom bihn organizer wallet into the pocket meant for keys and a swiss army knife/multitool, it would be a tight squeeze.

    there isn't an o-ring inside of the pocket designed to hold a water bottle. understand that that does not prevent you from placing organizer pouches inside of that pocket. i use that pocket to carry my leica d-lux 4 inside of a small cork organizer pouch, in fact.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4
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    Hi maverick,
    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    i was able to place a 15" macbook pro by itself into the synapse. this is the previous design of the macbook pro, not the unibody design. there wasn't much wiggle room width wise, but a couple of inches free lengthwise - see attached picture. i'll let you know how it fits with the cache.

    while you can squeeze a mini organizer pouch or tom bihn organizer wallet into the pocket meant for keys and a swiss army knife/multitool, it would be a tight squeeze.

    there isn't an o-ring inside of the pocket designed to hold a water bottle. understand that that does not prevent you from placing organizer pouches inside of that pocket. i use that pocket to carry my leica d-lux 4 inside of a small cork organizer pouch, in fact.
    Thanks for the reply. As for the Cache, I'm going to be ordering one for my 13" MacBook (not unibody -- the 2008 model just before this debuted). My guess is that if you want to carry your 15" MacBook Pro in the Synapse, you'd be able to do this with the Tucano Second Skin.
    • Tucano Second Skin Micofiber folder dimensions for the 13" MacBook:
      12.7 x 8.92 x1.08 inches (or 325 x 227 x 27.5 mm)
    • Size 6 Cache (for MacBook 13", MacBook 13" White 2009, 13" Unibody MacBook, and 13" Unibody MacBook Pro) interior dimensions:
      12.9 9.0 1.1 inches (327 228 29 mm) and exterior dimensions:
      13.5 9.6 1.8 inches (342 243 45 mm)
    • Tucano Second Skin Microfiber folder dimensions for the 15.4" MacBook Pro:
      14.1 x 9.6 x 1.0 inches (357 x 243 x 25.9 mm)
    • Size 4Z Cache (for MacBook Pro 15.4", 15.4" Unibody MacBook Pro, Powerbook G4 15" AL, and Powerbook G4 15" Ti) interior dimensions:
      14.3 9.8 0.9 inches (364 249 24 mm) and exterior dimensions:
      15.0 10.4 1.8 inches (380 265 46 mm)

    The issue is that each Cache has to be designed to accommodate a range of products, so the difference between the actual dimension of your 15.4" MacBook Pro and the interior size of its Cache is slightly greater than in the case of my 13" MacBook (0.8 inches for your 15.4" MacBook Pro, 0.68 inches for my 13" MacBook; this is only approximate, but I believe you have an extra 0.1 inch in width). The Cache is also thicker due to the quarter inch foam, which gives more protection, but also makes the fit in the Synapse more problematic. I'd guess that with the Tucano Second Skin, with just the neoprene and microfiber, your exterior width with the sleeve on would be more like 10.1 inches, making this a feasible carry.

    I ended up using a Tucano Second Skin instead of a size 5 Soft Cell for my 12" G4 Powerbook because I found the Soft Cell a bit loose for the PowerBook. (It was snatched up by someone who had the slightly larger 12" iBook that was a more exact match, so I never had to return it ). This link to a translated review shows the model of the Microfiber Tucano Second Skin Folder for the 15.4" MacBook Pro. You can see from the images that there's a little extra padding at the sides and on the bottom that makes it comfortable to grip the laptop. I've also been using the version for the 13" MacBook with my Imago, but that's not a daily use configuration. I probably wouldn't have been so ready to adopt this if I hadn't been able to see the cases and buy them locally, which is no longer true for me. I think you can still order these cases through the Apple online store, or place orders through Tucano USA or their main site in Italy.

    moriond

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    i was able to place a 15" macbook pro by itself into the synapse. this is the previous design of the macbook pro, not the unibody design. there wasn't much wiggle room width wise, but a couple of inches free lengthwise - see attached picture.
    *gasp!*

    excited again.

  6. #6
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    hi moriond,

    that test was actually just to see how the 15" macbook pro would fit. i just carry my 13" macbook around now. the 15" stays put.

    but the tucano second skin would be a good option for those who have a 15" macbook pro and want to carry it in the synapse!

    Quote Originally Posted by moriond View Post
    Hi maverick,


    Thanks for the reply. As for the Cache, I'm going to be ordering one for my 13" MacBook (not unibody -- the 2008 model just before this debuted). My guess is that if you want to carry your 15" MacBook Pro in the Synapse, you'd be able to do this with the Tucano Second Skin.
    • Tucano Second Skin Micofiber folder dimensions for the 13" MacBook:
      12.7 x 8.92 x1.08 inches (or 325 x 227 x 27.5 mm)
    • Size 6 Cache (for MacBook 13", MacBook 13" White 2009, 13" Unibody MacBook, and 13" Unibody MacBook Pro) interior dimensions:
      12.9 9.0 1.1 inches (327 228 29 mm) and exterior dimensions:
      13.5 9.6 1.8 inches (342 243 45 mm)
    • Tucano Second Skin Microfiber folder dimensions for the 15.4" MacBook Pro:
      14.1 x 9.6 x 1.0 inches (357 x 243 x 25.9 mm)
    • Size 4Z Cache (for MacBook Pro 15.4", 15.4" Unibody MacBook Pro, Powerbook G4 15" AL, and Powerbook G4 15" Ti) interior dimensions:
      14.3 9.8 0.9 inches (364 249 24 mm) and exterior dimensions:
      15.0 10.4 1.8 inches (380 265 46 mm)

    The issue is that each Cache has to be designed to accommodate a range of products, so the difference between the actual dimension of your 15.4" MacBook Pro and the interior size of its Cache is slightly greater than in the case of my 13" MacBook (0.8 inches for your 15.4" MacBook Pro, 0.68 inches for my 13" MacBook; this is only approximate, but I believe you have an extra 0.1 inch in width). The Cache is also thicker due to the quarter inch foam, which gives more protection, but also makes the fit in the Synapse more problematic. I'd guess that with the Tucano Second Skin, with just the neoprene and microfiber, your exterior width with the sleeve on would be more like 10.1 inches, making this a feasible carry.

    I ended up using a Tucano Second Skin instead of a size 5 Soft Cell for my 12" G4 Powerbook because I found the Soft Cell a bit loose for the PowerBook. (It was snatched up by someone who had the slightly larger 12" iBook that was a more exact match, so I never had to return it ). This link to a translated review shows the model of the Microfiber Tucano Second Skin Folder for the 15.4" MacBook Pro. You can see from the images that there's a little extra padding at the sides and on the bottom that makes it comfortable to grip the laptop. I've also been using the version for the 13" MacBook with my Imago, but that's not a daily use configuration. I probably wouldn't have been so ready to adopt this if I hadn't been able to see the cases and buy them locally, which is no longer true for me. I think you can still order these cases through the Apple online store, or place orders through Tucano USA or their main site in Italy.

    moriond

  7. #7
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    Fascinating. I can't wait to see the Maverick Movie Production of "Debut of the Synapse". I'll bet it's as good as "Smart as an Alec" was.

    Has anyone ever done a Brain Bag video?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Has anyone ever done a Brain Bag video?
    there is a great video of the brain bag on youtube.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick View Post
    there is a great video of the brain bag on youtube.
    Indeed, Mtnman, that was one of the linked videos in my reply to your question about more "maverick style videos" and information about other bags in this recent post (yesterday).

    moriond


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