Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    4

    Which laptop bag: ID vs. Zephyr vs. Empire Builder

    I'm a big Tom Bihn fan... I have a Med. Cafe bag Sm. Cafe Bag, Imago, and Smart Alec w/a Brain Cell...

    heh I just realized how much moolah that has cost me over the years... but it's definitely been worth it

    So I'm in the market for a new laptop bag for work, so of course I want another TB. The Smart Alec isn't professional enough for my office, and the Imago is too small for my 15.4" laptop...

    So I'm trying to decide (sight unseen) between a ID, Zephyr, or Empire Builder... on my daily slog I'll have the laptop in a Brain Cell or Cache, a Franklin Covey classic size binder (9.4" by 7.6"), portable hard drive, wallet, cell phone, and assorted pens and other such stuff. I'd also like to have enough room to put in several folders, clipboard, and possibly a book if I need to.

    I know this will all fit in the Empire Builder, but I'm thinking it's a bit overkill for what I need. I'm also only 5'4" with a medium build, so I don't want to look like I'm overpowered by my bag.

    I'm kinda leaning toward an ID, but I'm not sure it will be big enough. I think the Zephyr would work also, but if the ID is big enough then I think I'd rather go that way.

    Can anyone offer any advice? I'm most concerned about my Franklin Covey Planner taking up so much space in the ID (it's not that wide or long but it's pretty thick) that once the laptop is in play, there won't be much room for anything else.

    Thanks so much

    Lynda

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    2,150
    hi lynda!

    welcome to the forum!

    i think that the id may be a tight fit for what you're describing, specially, as you mentioned also, because of the thick binder.

    which 15.4" laptop do you have? i'm concerned that if it may be a little wide for the zephyr. what brain cell size are you using?

    if the laptop fits in the zephyr, i think everything else you describe will fit nicely in the zephyr as well. otherwise, the empire builder will suit your purposes.

    another option you may want to consider, which looks quite professional, is the checkpoint flyer briefcase. it will hold all you describe very nicely.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    913
    One question to ask yourself is how you intend to carry your new briefcase.

    Will you carry it all the time by the handle alone? (I believe all three of your candidates have poron-filled grip handles topside.) If you intend to use a shoulder strap, all three will accept either a Standard or Absolute shoulder strap. If, however, you intend to carry the briefcase on your back while riding a bicycle, you will probably want to use the QAM Strap, which Maverick presented in an excellent video of the ID not to long ago. (NOTE: of your three candidates, only the ID will accept a QAM Strap.)
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    4
    thanks for the quick replies

    Maverick...
    I actually don't have my laptop yet... it's shipping today and my IT guy promises me I'll have it by Friday... so I'm just planning ahead at the moment

    I already have a huge vertical Brain Cell for my Smart Alec for my 17" laptop, but I know this this won't work in my new briefcase... But I'm not too worried about bumps and scratches on the commute to work, so for my new 15.4" laptop I'll probably just buy a Cache..

    Thanks for your thoughts about the ID... I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I think I'm leaning now more towards the Zephyr..

    MtnMn...

    I'll be usually carrying it on my shoulder, so the regular strap should be fine. But I did buy a QAM strap for my Imago, so it's around the house somewhere. I found the QAM very handy for traveling when I needed to have my hands free but the Imago to be very secure...

  5. #5
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    2,150
    Quote Originally Posted by Leeenda View Post
    I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I think I'm leaning now more towards the Zephyr..
    hi lynda,

    tom bihn has a very friendly buying policy - you could order both the zephyr and id and try them out (in your home, not outside, just like you would a pair of shoes). keep the one you prefer, and send back the other.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    4
    That's good, but then I have to pay for shipping...

    Unless someone knows if it will fit into one of those small USPS flat rate boxes...

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    4

    the point is kinda moot :(

    Hmmm... I queried IT and I'm getting a Dell Latitude 5510... which only fits in either the Empire Builder, Super Ego, or the Tri-Star...

    So I guess the Empire Builder it is...

  8. #8
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    The far west
    Posts
    4,249
    Quote Originally Posted by Leeenda View Post
    Unless someone knows if it will fit into one of those small USPS flat rate boxes...
    I'm afraid not. We recommend you ship back returns or exchanges in the box they originally arrived in. If a bag is stuffed into a box that's too small for it, it can actually permanently damage the bag.
    U.S. / Canada 1-800-729-9607 / Other countries: +1-206-652-4123
    Siquid mantica non capit, domi relinquendum est.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    19
    I'm in the same boat, actually - my new laptop (when it arrives - anxiously awaiting it from Apple) fits in a Brain Cell that only fits in the Empire Builder or the Super Ego.

    I was actually considering a Super Ego in fairly conservative colors, because I don't want something that looks -too- conservative, but I think I've set on the Empire Builder. Since it's out of stock right now, I've just ordered the Brain Cell, a shoulder strap and a few other accessories (which shipped very quickly - thanks, everyone at Tom Bihn! Can't wait for it to arrive!)

    Does anyone know if the Empire Builder will be available in any other colors in the near future - i.e., before the end of the year? I'd like something with a bright interior and some sort of color on the outside, but it looks like the only color options right now are:

    • Black/Black/Steel
    • Black/Black/Wasabi
    • Black/Steel/Steel

    Even a Black/Steel/Wasabi combo would be great, but the Black/Black/Wasabi seems a bit too bland on the outside for what I'm looking for. Does anyone have the steel lining? I like the wasabi lining because from what I've read, it makes it really easy to find things inside. Is the steel that big of a difference from a black interior?

    Thanks!

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    913
    Well, I have the Super Ego and I love it.

    Here's a photo thread after I purchased my briefcase last Fall, almost a year ago.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Well, I have the Super Ego and I love it.

    Here's a photo thread after I purchased my briefcase last Fall, almost a year ago.
    I came across that thread in my searching, actually! It looks like from one of your original threads, you were debating between, among other things, the Empire Builder and the Super Ego at some point? Are you still glad you selected the Super Ego? I'm a bit worried that the Super Ego might not appear professional enough to carry into some client meetings (I own a software development company, so I don't have to worry about it not looking professional enough around the office, at least!)?

    Although now I'm thinking...I've already ordered a Brain Cell for my 17" MacBook Pro (it's arriving tomorrow!) so for meetings with conservative clients, I could probably carry everything I need in the Brain Cell - basically, my laptop in the Brain Cell, and any files/notes/etc. in the mesh on the front of the Brain Cell. Since it's a black colored Brain Cell, it should look professional enough, I think?

    So...I'm stuck between the Super Ego and the Empire Builder!! Any help/suggestions?

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    913
    For my purposes, I'm satisfied with the SuperEgo.

    It's a matter of trade-offs. For me, the Empire Builder and Zephyr offer those neat suspended file-folder thingies for papers. I would love to have something like that.

    But my experience with the Horizontal Freudian Slip and the largest version of the Clear Organizer Pouch has been very positive.

    I don't know what kind of interactions and settings you encounter with the people you do business with. Sometimes appearances can be an issue ("it's the clothes that make the man"), but I really feel that if your client is judging you on the appearance of your briefcase, and they bother to talk to you about it, you can just say "It's a Tom Bihn. Made in U.S.A. It's very versatile and durable and I'm very satisfied with it." Some people might think someone who spends over $150 for a briefcase is crazy, just like they might think spending extra money to buy a MacBook Pro over a Dell Inspiron is extravagent. From where I sit, if they're putting that much weight on judging you by the style of the briefcase you carry and not on what you have to say/offer in your meeting, it may be time for you to make a judgement of the prospective client's attitudes and priorities, not the other way around.

    If you're concerned about lugging around something in a business setting that might look too loud, perhaps the best thing to focus on would be color choices, like going all-black. Again, for me, you keep your fingers off my indigo/black/steel Super Ego!
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    For my purposes, I'm satisfied with the SuperEgo.

    It's a matter of trade-offs. For me, the Empire Builder and Zephyr offer those neat suspended file-folder thingies for papers. I would love to have something like that.

    But my experience with the Horizontal Freudian Slip and the largest version of the Clear Organizer Pouch has been very positive.

    I don't know what kind of interactions and settings you encounter with the people you do business with. Sometimes appearances can be an issue ("it's the clothes that make the man"), but I really feel that if your client is judging you on the appearance of your briefcase, and they bother to talk to you about it, you can just say "It's a Tom Bihn. Made in U.S.A. It's very versatile and durable and I'm very satisfied with it." Some people might think someone who spends over $150 for a briefcase is crazy, just like they might think spending extra money to buy a MacBook Pro over a Dell Inspiron is extravagent. From where I sit, if they're putting that much weight on judging you by the style of the briefcase you carry and not on what you have to say/offer in your meeting, it may be time for you to make a judgement of the prospective client's attitudes and priorities, not the other way around.

    If you're concerned about lugging around something in a business setting that might look too loud, perhaps the best thing to focus on would be color choices, like going all-black. Again, for me, you keep your fingers off my indigo/black/steel Super Ego!
    Good thoughts all around - so it sounds like you're pretty satisfied with your choice! And now I'm leaning more towards the Super Ego - it's closer to the form-factor that I'm currently carrying (although I am worried about the size - it sounds -huge- judging from all the compartments, how much it can carry, etc.!) and you're right - if clients are judging me based on the bag I'm carrying, well, not only are they people I don't want to work with, I'm probably not making a good enough impression!

    Ahh, I like the indigo/black/steel combo! But, the options right now on the Super Ego are: Black/Crimson/Steel, Black/Steel/Wasabi and Black/Black/Steel. I wish there was an indigo/blue option still! The crimson is a bit too bright for me, so it's Black/Steel or Black/Black for me. I can't decide if I should go with the Black/Black and get an indigo or other distinctive strip, or if I should go with the Black/Steel - I like the idea of the Wasabi interior on both the Empire Builder and the Super Ego, actually, to make it easier to find things in the bag. You have the steel interior/lining - is it bright enough, as opposed to the typical black interior, to find small things, etc.?

    Thanks for your help and insight!

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in the Hills
    Posts
    913
    Another consideration for me was cost. By going the Super Ego route, I was able to get an extra-large briefcase with the Standard Shoulder Strap; this does not rule out buying other straps later. The Empire Builder is an impressive briefcase, but it sells at full price without a shoulder strap. So the EB costs significantly more than the Super Ego.

    This helped me make my decision, at least.
    Owner of: Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by MtnMan View Post
    Another consideration for me was cost. By going the Super Ego route, I was able to get an extra-large briefcase with the Standard Shoulder Strap; this does not rule out buying other straps later. The Empire Builder is an impressive briefcase, but it sells at full price without a shoulder strap. So the EB costs significantly more than the Super Ego.

    This helped me make my decision, at least.
    Ahh - see, I had assumed that you had to buy a strap with all the bags (oops!), so I bought an Absolute Shoulder Strap with my Brain Cell that's arriving today. I'm thinking about picking up the Q-AM strap, though, if I do buy the Super Ego.

    Do you like the steel interior? One of the first reviews I saw of a Bihn bag had the wasabi interior and I think I've gotten stuck on that concept.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0