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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    13

    Is there a comparison table?

    One problem I have with Tom Bihn is that the choices are overwhelming . I've been thinking about getting a backpack that can hold a laptop, and it took me forever to finally narrow down my choices to the Brain Cell or Smart Alec or Synapse, or maybe all 3

    Maybe it exists and I haven't found it, but I thought it would be most helpful if we had a way to quickly compare many bags at once in a table format, instead of having to flip through various product pages. If you know roughly what you want, it wouldn't so bad to pick one, but when you have trouble deciding like I have, it is quite time-consuming to go through so many pages and links, so I ended up making a little comparison table for myself.

    One example of a useful guide would be like this for Garmin GPS models: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=134. Each model has a short description, and if you select it and hit the "Compare" button, it builds a more detailed feature comparison table for you.

    Another example is this camera side-by-side comparison tool by DPReview: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sidebyside.asp. It would seem that it's hard to summarize and compare so many different types of cameras from the most basic point-and-shoot to the most advanced DSLRs, but they found a way to make it work.

    The table I made for myself with TB products had the following categories: type (messenger, laptop, etc), carry-on compatibility (yes or no), checkpoint friendly (yes or no), volume, dimensions (fully expanded, number of top-accessible pockets, number of side pockets, mesh netting (yes or no), laptop capable (yes or no), laptop cell compatibility (horizontal/vertical and size), etc

    Do you think it's possible to add such a feature to the site? Thanks for your consideration.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    425
    Hi, ifse.

    Yes, such a table would be extremely useful. Someone did put together a spreadsheet comparing sizes, and someone used an offsite visualizer program to show this information—maybe a forum member can post the links? However, this was a while ago, so they wouldn't be up to date, and don't include all the other information you seek.

    Meanwhile, the most immediate consideration is your laptop size; for example, the Synapse can't take a 17-inch computer.

    After that, what else do you need to carry, and how big are you? When my circumstances changed, I no longer needed to carry so much every day and downsized from a Smart Alec to a Large Cafe Bag; when the Synapse arrives (tomorrow!), that will become my regular bag. The Brain Cell can't take much beyond the computer. Also, my Smart Alec was handy when my routine included going to work, the greenmarket, and dance class, but I find it too large for just runninng errands around the neighborhood; I call it "the jetpack." My plan now is to carry the Synapse with a Small Shop Bag tucked inside a pocket. How much do you plan to carry every day?

    One more factor: Do you mostly walk or drive? If you have a car, weight and size might not be so important.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    St Petersburg Florida
    Posts
    285
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    2,731
    Great table, really really informative.

    Would you mind adding the Ristretto for Netbooks and a column that shows the maximum size laptop fitting in each laptop compatible bag.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    13
    Thank you everyone. I love this site. Ask and you shall get

    I am leaning strongly toward the Synapse. I like the many pockets in the front and on the sides. I do drive and can carry heavy loads, but am looking for a smallish backpack because most of the time I don't bring a lot with me (this is all relatively speaking - TB users tend to have a warped sense of what is "not a lot" )

    Just a laptop and charger, a few books, a light jacket, water bottle and miscellaneous devices (small camera, GPS, phone, mouse), maybe a few granola bars. My main hesitation is that the laptop is a Dell 14", and although it should fit, it's at the higher end of the recommended range.

    One question: The Synapse product page shows that it can use a Cache sleeve size 6 and size 6X. What is size 6X? I couldn't find dimensions anywhere. And how do I specify horizontal or vertical when I place the order?

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    425
    Hi, ifse.

    The laptop fit list at http://fit.tombihn.com/TB0350.html gives specs for the 6 and 6Z; the drop-down menus for the Synapse and Cache list "6Z." "6X" may be a typo.

    More confusion: Different pages give different information on the matter of horizontal/vertical.

    It sounds as if a call to customer service is in order.

    "Just a laptop and charger, a few books, a light jacket, water bottle and miscellaneous devices (small camera, GPS, phone, mouse), maybe a few granola bars." Just!

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    13
    LOL. Yes, "just." I'm not talking about a Walmart backpack here

    You are right. I should check with customer service. I'm using dimensions since my laptop model is not listed.


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