Need Advice on Labtop/Briefcase options
I am a recent purchaser of a tri-star (+ some related accessories) but at the time I decided to hold off on briefcase/laptop holders for a few reasons. I now realize that I can't truly one bag it without going the whole way and buying some more stuff.... which is fun for me and good for Tom ;)
Problem is I am a little stuck on where my interests meet the products. Their are so many different briefcase models that I am a little lost and would love some real world experience on how some of this stuff integrates. I currently have a nice labtop backpack which has been great so far, but it's very big and doesn't fit in my tri-star which ruins my 1 bag method of travel (not too mention both are backpacks, so it forces me to carry the tri-star).
The most simple solution is to buy nothing, I know my laptop will fit in the middle of my tristar - but of course then their is no protection (which is a deal killer in and of itself) but also then I would have nothing on my trips to actually put my labtop in when going to the customer sites.
I should preface this by saying I currently have a very large and heavy 17" Dell desktop. I expect (hope) that soonish I will have a mac book pro in addition, which I plan on travelling with... so I will probably delay any purchase until I know for sure I am getting that from my office - but ideally it would be cool if whatever I end up with could support both (not necessarily at the same time though)....
My next instinct was to get a brain-cell. I have two issues with this and maybe someone can put these fears to rest?:
1) Given the tri-star is meant to be carried or backpack worn - which is best, horizontal or vertical? Seems to me you have to know your preferred method ahead of time and I'm not sure I do.... also even if i picked vertical because I usually plan on wearing it on my back, would that then render the 60$ (70$ with shipping) braincell useless if I ever got a regular horizontal type briefcase? Basically, regardless of which one is picked, is it still secure when clipped in the 'other' mode?
2) It might protect the device well, but doesnt seem to do much more then that, and it concerns me it wont be enough of a briefcase to actually keep all the other nick-nacks that one usually throws in there... like power supplies, mouse, usb drives, maybe some paper, pens, etc.... This is leading me to think I need a real briefcase.
So now i'm perusing the briefcase page of this site and i'm totally drowning in options. There are so many bags that seem so similiar, some are clearly the same just different sizes, but some seem so similiar its hard to tell the functional difference... Here is where I really need some advice:
Is it safe to say the following is true or false?
Zephyr is just a smaller empire builder with the same type of organization options, just less volume.
Cadet is smaller still and doesn't have any option for a brain cell to fit inside of it.
Co-pilot is too small for any labtop.
Now where I am a bit more confused is the messenger bags on the same page...
What is the purpose of ID, EGO (or Super Ego) compared to the briefcase bags? I'm not sure I get the difference... seems like they can carry a labtop as well... so it just a style issue of if you like the 'front flap' look, or is there a bigger functional difference?
Finally, there are the Ristrettoes and caches (clearly not a bag - but alot cheaper) If a bag + cache is safe enough, then maybe this is a way to save some money vs. brain cell?
If you've read this far, thanks.... Finally, let me just list some of the requirements I feel will fit my needs and maybe some of you guys that have a lot more experience could help out with a ranking or comments:
1) Must fit in the middle component of the tristar - or I can't one bag it.
1a) As travel friendly as possible (security checkpoints, etc).
2) Must fit at least a 15" mac book pro
2a) Would be nice if it could fit a 17" labtop too, even if maybe no brain cell was used and/or 2 caches needed to be bought.
3) Must be usable as a customer facing bag for non-formal bizness meetings. (I'm not a suit and tie guy, just a techie)
4) When not travelling, would be very cool to be a EDC to and from the office type bag.
5) Would like some organizational type properties.
6) If a brain cell is purchased - which type vertical or horizontal. I like this idea for the options....
6a) If i know i wont need a bunch of other stuff, I could just take the braincell to a site or back and forth from home.
6b) The main bag could fit a braincell and the tricell could fit either, so i would have a few options of how/what I needed depending on trip... would be ideal.
Thanks for any and all advice!
ps. Love the tri-star so far, though oddly, havent travelled nearly as much since i got it ;).