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Summary:

All right, I admit I am addicted to finding the perfect case for my gear.  It’s a driving force that I’m helpless to fight, the desire to find the one case in the universe that fits both my gear and my needs exactly.  I recently reviewed […]

Cimg0882All right, I admit I am addicted to finding the perfect case for my gear.  It’s a driving force that I’m helpless to fight, the desire to find the one case in the universe that fits both my gear and my needs exactly.  I recently reviewed the Fujitsu Tablet PC Bump Case for the P1610 and while I initially thought it would fit my needs perfectly the wheels soon began to come off the cart.  First of all, the P1610 didn’t fit well in the laptop pocket of the Booq bag while nestled in the Bump Case.  The case with device inside was just too thick and I began to fear I would damage the screen, which is totally unprotected in the Bump Case, which was strike number two against it.  Lastly, the P1610 is very difficult to remove from the case when I need to go into laptop configuration, and putting it back in is just as difficult.  Plus it catches on the PC Card eject button which I am afraid will eventually break off altogether.

The more I thought about a replacement the more I began to realize that what I needed was some sort of sleeve for the P1610 that would make it easy for me to carry around, especially indoors, and that would still fit inside the Booq bag for longer trips.  My quest would still be ongoing if I didn’t have the good fortune to overhear two people at the CES talking about gear bags.  One of them said "I hear the Waterfield bags are nice."  I don’t know who these people were but since I had never heard of Waterfield bags before earlier this week I decided to check them out.  I just received the Waterfield SleeveCase that fits the P1610 perfectly.  Is this my perfect bag?  Read on and see…

Cimg0880I was impressed from the very start with the Waterfield web site, where I found they make all sorts of gear bags and messenger bags.  Based on my determination that a sleeve is what I was looking for, something that would fit only the P1610 to stay small, thin and light, it didn’t take me long to focus in on the Waterfield SleeveCases.  Waterfield apparently makes these things in a near custom fashion, and they produce the sleeves in many different sizes to fit just about any notebook or Tablet PC in production.  They have a helpful size matrix that lets you home in on the perfect size to order based on your particular device, and I was happy to see not one but two different sleeves that fit the P1510, which is the exact same size as the P1610.  The two different sleeves fit either the standard 3 cell battery or the extended 6 cell, so I went with the latter as it would fit both my batteries.

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The order process was a breeze and where I found that Waterfield offers some custom options for the SleeveCase.  The first option was a cover flap, similar to those found on messenger bags, that has a long Velcro closure.  I figured the flap would offer better protection from the elements so I ordered that option.  I do a lot of running around in the rain and this would help keep my precious nice and dry.  The second option I was confronted with was whether to add a strap to the case.  Since I envisioned sometimes using just the SleeveCase alone I went with a strap, and added the suspension strap option.  This strap is wider and more comfortable than the thin standard strap and has a grippy bottom to keep it from sliding off the shoulder.  It also comes with metal D-rings to attach the strap to the case.  The last option in the order process was unexpected and as it turns out quite welcome.  For just $22 you can add a piggyback case that attaches to the same D-rings as the strap.  The piggyback case was very intriguing and since I was ordering the strap with the D-rings I threw that in as well.  I am very glad I ordered that option for reasons I’ll elaborate later in the review.

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Just a couple of days after placing the order my Waterfield SleeveCase arrived this morning and I have to tell you the quality of the craftsmanship is outstanding.  The case is constructed of durable ballistic nylon, the inside pocket is soft velvety material to keep the gear protected from scratches.  I would have no qualms putting Miyagi in the case with the screen out in Tablet PC mode.  The Velcro closure on the flap (which I’m glad I opted to get) is easy to open and close.  You see SF Cases’ (maker of the Waterfield line) attention to usability everywhere on the SleeveCase.  There is a slanted flat pocket on the back of the case to put things that you need fast access to, and there is a loop at the bottom front of the case you can put your finger in to grip the case to make it easier to take the device out of the sleeve.  This is very handy and a very thoughtful design.

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The case is just as thin and light as I’d hoped and will make the perfect way to carry just the P1610 from one meeting to another.  It looks professional and trendy and will easily stand up to daily wear and tear.  The strap is very comfortable and is easy to attach and detach when necessary.  I am also happy how easily it fits into the Booq bag when I need to carry my whole kit with me yet still have the ability to grab just Miyagi and head off to a meeting.

Cimg0894The piggyback case is the most interesting part of the whole kit I received.  It clips onto the back of the case (see picture above) and provides a gear pocket for putting loose things into that I might need to carry with me.  There is a flap that covers the heavyduty zipper on the piggyback which is designed to carry items while still sitting flat against the SleeveCase.  There are two pockets on the inside of the piggyback made entirely of the velvety material.  It’s a very simple yet clever design and I am amazed at how much I can fit in the piggyback.  It will just fit my BatteryGeek Portable Power Station, which is surprising as the PPS is quite long.  I don’t anticipate carrying the PPS with the SleeveCase but it’s nice to know I could if I needed to do so.  What I am carrying in it is a Bluetooth mouse, EV-DO PC Card, Zune, and my earbuds for the Zune.  I’ve also put my business card holder in there along with the extra Fujitsu battery and I can’t imagine a smaller and thinner solution for carrying so much essential gear.

Obviously I haven’t field tested it yet, after all I just received it but I am shortly heading out and will be carrying just the SleeveCase with piggyback with me.  I don’t think I’ll have any problems with it, it is a very simple case that is obviously designed to do what it does without getting in my way.  I like that.  The Waterfield SleeveCase cost me $73 with all the options you can get but the sleeve alone is just $38.  Check them out and see what might fit your needs.  I am impressed with the attention to detail with the order process, and the handwritten thanks on the transmittal that came with the case tells me these are good folks to deal with.

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  1. Simon Coulthurst Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    Couldn’t agree more James.

    Own several different sizes of the sleeve case (purchase a new one every time I get a new laptop of a different size) and currently use one that my Lenovo X60s fits perfectly.

    I tend to slip the laptop, inside the sleeve, into a central compartment in my briefcase when travelling too or from work as I carry so much extra stuff. However, around the home all I use is the sleeve. Have had this one for over a year now and it looks as new as the day I got it.

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  2. How is it you find all the best things and just reading the review makes me want to get one? :)

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  3. I have used various sized sleeve-cases for about 4 or 5 computers now and each one of them has been perfect! (easily outliving the computers inside BTW) The convenience of slipping a computer w/ sleeve into whatever bag I am carrying that day is one less thing to worry about. Personally, I don’t order the flap or pouch since the sleeve typically resides in a larger case. Well worth the $$ IMO. Fast order turn around is a nice bonus.

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  4. I am really beginning to hate your ass, James! You keep pointing out new ways that I should spend money!! That wallet on their site looks great. So does that VertiGo case. And, oh, look at that Gear Pouch!

    Damn you!

    This is a major Disturbing Mike Cane Act violation!

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  5. MathProfJohnson Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    Hi James- I too am always on the lookout for the best device and case for it. I looked at the Waterfield cases, but hadn’t made up my mind. For my p1510d I just couldn’t find a sleeve that fit snug since the 10 inch cases are too big. How tight is the fit and does this easily fit into another messenger bag?

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  6. James, you dawg you. I couldn’t agree more. I use my Waterfield sleeve in their Cargo bag (http://www.sfbags.com/products/cargo/cargo.htm). I love it. If you buy both together they give you a little discount and throw in a nice organized pouch for your cables, etc.

    I agree that the quality is amazing and the personal touch makes it nice to do business with them. I get most of my digi-gear from there.

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  7. James great review, especially with the pics.

    Quick question: presumably the case fits nice and snug with the extended 6 cell battery, since you opted for that size. But how well does the case fit with the standard 3 cell battery, since you’d think they’d be some room for potentially damaging movement inside?

    Btw, neen loving the site the past few months!

    Cheers!

    Toby, from London England

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  8. James, the Waterfield sleeve does look nice, but I think you missed out. :-) You mentioned in your previous review of the bump case, you should check out the convertible case that Fujitsu sells for the P1610. It does everything the bump case does and it protects the screen and allows the unit to be used in convertible mode. We use them at work and I have to admit, Fujitsu really seemed to think of everything with it. It won’t hold anything other than the tablet. But then again, it wasn’t designed to.

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  9. James,

    Great blog, btw. Question. I have the P1610 convertible case. Do you think the piggyback case would work ok with that? Have you tried it with your bump case? Does it look too bulky?

    deli-x

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  10. deli x, I dot think it would work very well, it would be highly unstable.

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  11. I must have missed this post as I didn’t realize You had stopped using the Fujitsu bump case. Can you comment on heat issues you may or may not have experienced? That is one of the reasons I use the bump case. Of course, I am in slate mode 95+ percent of the time.

    Steve

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  12. Is the piggyback case large enough to hold a 6-cell battery and an AC power supply?

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  13. nomo, it holds the AC adapter and 6-cell battery for the P1620 fine.

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