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Reviewing laptop bags is an exercise in subjectivity. The truth is, if you really want to know if a particular bag is going to work for your personal style, needs, and mobile predilections, you need to try it yourself, stuffing your own Mac portable and other gear into the bag to see how it fares over a few weeks of full-time schlep duty. Whether a bag is right for you depends on your laptop model, your own height and physique, how much you need to tote besides the computer, and whether you’ll carry it mostly on foot or in transit.
But since few stores have a liberal enough return policy to allow such protracted try-before-you-commit-forever periods, reviews such as this and user reviews posted on bag makers’ own sites (wink, wink) are about all you have to go on before dropping cash on a new bag or case for your valuable digital cargo.
Take the Toffee Slim bag, for example. We could tell after carrying a MacBook, our wallet, an iPhone, and a paperback book in it for two weeks straight that as much as we wanted to love the Slim for its sophisticated styling and its, well, slimness, it just wouldn’t work as an everyday laptop tote. It’s just too skinny. We’ve long agreed with the overarching wisdom of vertical-loading laptop bags, but the Slim’s vertical orientation—which made loading our MacBook into and out of the stylish black pebble-grain leather bag fast and painless—doesn’t make up for the undeniable fact that it just can’t carry much besides the ’Book itself. The padded compartment that holds the ’Book offers a cushy ride as you schlep your laptop to and fro, and the adjustable shoulder strap and spongy shoulder pad offer a fair bit of flexibility to adjust for a user’s physical build.
But the bag costs a lot more than we’d pay for a middle-of-the road leather purse or wallet, let alone a laptop bag. At its best, the Slim is a fashion accessory that can hold a MacBook and a few other key bits. At its worst, it’s an overpriced but well-made laptop sleeve with a long strap on it.
Toffee makes beautiful cases, bags, and sleeves for Mac laptops and other Apple mobile gear. The Slim is no exception, but it’s just too skinny for its—or your—own good.
REQUIREMENTS: 13-inch MacBook
Made of high-quality leather. Vertical orientation makes for easy loading.
Expensive. If you have a lot to carry, its slimness becomes a liability. Not available for 15-inch MacBook Pros.