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 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…
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.