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  1. #1
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    Question New MacBook and Brain Cell

    Darcy or anyone else who may know -

    I just got a new Macbook (aluminum) and I have found that it tends to be a tiny bit loose in the sleeve (Waterfield) I was using with my older (white) Macbook which fit perfectly. Amazing what a difference a 1/10 inch will make. Because the sleeve is now just a little loose, I am looking at alternatives. Will I run into the same issue with the Brain Cell for the Macbook? Thanks.

  2. #2
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    Hmm, I would guess that you wouldn't run into the same problem with the Brain Cell. The Brain Cell is sized so perfectly for the 13" MacBook that it's a bit of a snug fit, plus the way the Brain Cell is constructed - compared to a sleeve - leaves less move-around room, IMO. How about this: order a Size 6 Brain Cell and try it (making sure to post the results!) and if you don't like the fit, we'll send you a prepaid return service label and also refund your initial shipping cost.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  3. #3
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    An offer that's hard to turn down. I'll give it a try. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Brain Cell and New MacBook- The trial

    Per Darcy's suggestion I ordered a size 6 brain cell for my new MacBook to see if the brain cell fits better than an old sleeve I had for a white Macbook. The brain cell arrived today and I tried it out immediately. I wish I could report that that fit was splendid and that any concerns I have are alleviated. I don't think I can do that, however.

    The MacBook slides right into the Brain Cell. If I let go, it would thunk on the bottom. It really is a bit looser than I would prefer. When the computer was safely closed up in the Brain Cell and I gave the cell a little shake, I could feel the laptop slide back and forth as well as side to side. I opened the top of the brain cell and turned it upside down, and the MacBook slide right out with no hesitation - into my waiting hand. Had the brain cell been tipped over accidentally with the top open, the notebook would have ended up somewhere out of the bag. For "fun" I put the brain cell with the MacBook in it into my ID, left the top open on bothe the brain cell and the ID, set the ID on the floor, and let the ID fall over as it would normally do, the MAcBook slide right out of the bag. Admittedly, this sort of thing is extremely unlikely to happen in my real life as I try to be extra careful when dealing with my electronics but.... There is enough room between the laptop and the brain cell to all a new pad of post-it notes to slip in with no extra force applied. There is just a tiny bit of space (probably insignificant) on the ends (less than 1/16 in).

    Having said all this, the Brain Cell is no worse than the sleeve I was using re: fit, and probably a whole lot safer because of it's overall construction. I suspect (hope!) if I were to drop my ID with the Brain Cell and MacBook inside, nothing would be damaged but I would like to see a fit that was a bit more snug.

    Any plans for a size 6z Brain Cell? I'll continue to use the Brain Cell for a few days before I decide about keeping it. It'll be protected inside the ID.

  5. #5
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    Just received the size 6X Brain cell to try with the new aluminum MacBook. (The regular size 6 was a bit large.) The 6X is a much better fit. The MacBook slips in with just a hint of resistance and slides out the same way. It does not slide out when the bag is tipped over. The laptop does not "rattle around" inside the Brain Cell as it did in the other bag. I should note that the Brain Cell is maybe 1/16" short for the MacBook - when you close the top, the bottom flap does not lay flat, but rests on the edge of the laptop. The top flap must be press into the top flap. I think there is more than enough protection for the computer and I doubt the little bit of extra pressure on the edge of the machine will be problematic. All in all the size 6X is a better choice for the new MacBook.

  6. #6
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Thanks for being a tester

    I'm about to order the new Macbook aluminum, and I was concerned about the fit of the Brain Cell. This may be because my beloved Powerbook 12 AL was just damaged when the messenger bag I was carrying it in, with a padded laptop sleeve sewn inside, slipped out of my hands at the airport. It didn't fall far, or hard, and it landed on carpeting, but that was still enough to ding the case and detach the DC card inside the computer. ;-( [And no, it was not a Tom Bihn bag I was using at the time! That will teach me.]

    I am now over-cautious about what kind of bag I will carry my new laptop in. I do have a Ristretto in which the the aluminum Macbook will fit, but there are times that I need more room in the bag to carry other items. I've got an ID for that, but I would need a Brain Cell inside. So I just wanted to thank you for being willing to test the two sizes of Brain Cell to see which works best for the AL Macbook.

    Darcy, are there any plans to make a new size for the AL-MB, or should I order the size 6x?

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    We've concluded that the Size 6X is in fact the best size for the 13" AL-MB. We don't have plans to make a new size at this time - the difference between a new size and the 6X is so miniscule that it would be kindof silly.

    Note that you can adjust the sling in the 6X so that your MacBook rests lower in the bag, or you can just wait a month or two - as your laptop "breaks the bag in" to conform the Brain Cell foam to itself, it will become easier to close the top flap.
    Current Carry: Skookum Dog Citizen Canine prototype, Founder's Briefcase (every day carry), Small Cafe Bag (every day carry), Shop Bags (groceries, extra random stuff), Aeronaut 45 (travel), Synapse 19 (day hikes), Smart Alec (longer day hikes), Skookum Dog Road Duffel (Medium) (travel), Clear Organizer Wallet, Travel Stuff Sacks, Organizer Cubes

  8. #8
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    Talking

    Being the lazy sort that I am, I think I will let the laptop do the work!!

  9. #9
    Registered User ncb4's Avatar
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    Smile 6X Brain Cell fits my AL-Macbook beautifully

    Just a follow-up for others with the new 13-inch aluminum Macbooks. Heeding the wisdom of both rabergnc and Darcy, I ordered a 6X Brain Cell for my new Macbook. The Brain Cell arrived yesterday, and I think the AL-Macbook is a perfect, snug, safe fit. (I also love the Cayenne color: a nice burnt orange.) I did notice that the Velcro top takes some care to be sure that you've closed it completely and securely. I'm not sure if that's because the Macbook is a teensy bit (like a sixteenth of an inch) deeper than the internal dimensions of the bag or not, because I noticed the same thing with the Brain Cell I have for my MacBookPro. I've always thought that the issue with the top wasn't a problem, necessarily, but a feature: due to the padding in the two top flaps which add additional protection. In any case, Darcy says the internal sling will break in over time, and the top will then lie flatter when closed. It works beautifully for me the way it is now, so I am very happy.

    I also love how compact the "footprint" of the 6X Brain Cell is. I was worried about adding too much bulk to my slender AL-Macbook with a case that was protective enough for it, but this Brain Cell is comparatively slim. I really notice the difference when I insert my two different Brain Cells in my ID Bag. The Brain Cell for the Pro (which I think is a size 5), takes up a great deal of the space in the ID's main compartment. By contrast, there is much more room to spare when I insert the size 6X Brain Cell. So now I can stuff it with even more things! When I get a chance, I'll take photos of the ID with the two different Brain Cells inside to show how it looks.

    Thanks!

  10. #10
    Registered User peregrina's Avatar
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    I'd be interested to hear more about this as I'm currently thinking of finally upgrading my beloved 12" Powerbook for an AL Macbook. If I do get the new laptop, I'd want to get a bag and sleeve for it (personally, I tend more towards the soft cases - has anybody used one of those with the new AL Macbooks?). As for the bag, I'm torn between a smart alec, an imago or an ID...
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID

  11. #11
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    I have one of the AL MacBooks (13"). It's a wonderful machine! It's lighter and slimmer than any Mac I have worked with except for the MacBook Air - maybe someday when I have a bunch of extra $ lying around...

    I am using the Brain Cell 6X with the Macbook and it has "relaxed" over time such that the fit is nice and snug but not too tight. I use the Brain Cell in my ID (along with a horizontal Freudian slip and a number of TB pouches). It all fits nicely with lots of room for bunches of other things - files, books, snacks, cell phone, cables, power brick for the laptop, etc. It's a great combination.

    If you plan to use a sleeve - Waterfield Designs (sfbags.com) makes great sleeves - I happen to have one (without the flap) for the AL MacBook which is a perfect fit (PM me for more information if you like). I have found that with the ID, I prefer using the Brain Cell as it offers a bit more protection - and I like the color - Cayenne. I have a bag fetish and tend to switch bags now and then. Truthfully - the ID has proven to be the most flexible and useful bag I have used for quite some time, especially as I am not a backpack kind of guy - heaven knows I tried to use backpacks - even TB ones!!

  12. #12
    Registered User peregrina's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    hi rabergnc,

    Thanks for the feedback. I might be getting my macbook tomorrow! Do you have any pictures of the ID with the Brain cell inside? I just wondered how bulky it is inside the bag... Is the Brail cell fixed inside?

    I might have to wait on the brain cell though as adding an ID, a freudian slip, absolute strap and brain cell to the cost of the macbook might make the whole thing a bit too expensive for me right now.

    Another question: how easy is it to simply pull out the laptop having the bag across your chest without removing the brain cell from the bag? Is it too snug for that?
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID

  13. #13
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    I will try to get a picture uploaded later on. The Brain Cell will occupy about half of the space in the main compartment. This leaves plenty of room for lots of other things - typically I will have a couple of 1 inch thick files, a Freudian slip, maybe a Kindle and power bricks as well as a couple of TB pouches with stuff in them. There is more room in the front parts of the bag. The Brain Cell can be secured in the ID with specially designed clips that come with the bag but it does not have to be clipped it. Removing the laptop from the Brain Cell while wearing the ID is easy - not too snug at all. (Having the Brain Cell clipped in makes this a lot easier - if it is not clipped in, then the Brain Cell might come out if you move too quickly.) The more difficult part is opening the messenger flap.

  14. #14
    Registered User peregrina's Avatar
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    I'm getting so excited about ordering some TB bags that I had to write about it on my blog today...

    http://guerson.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/bags-bags-bags/
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID

  15. #15
    Registered User peregrina's Avatar
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    I'm typing on my new macbook and have just ordered the ID bag! yay! can't wait... can't afford the brain cell quite yet; soft sleeves will have to do for now.
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID


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