Waterfield Designs SleeveCase
When I purchased my Sony VAIO Z recently, I knew I was going to have to find a suitable case for it. In the past, I’ve typically gone with the manufacturer branded matching case because they’re usually readily available at product launch and they are designed specifically for the device.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of sleeve cases (also known as slip cases) especially for ultraportable notebooks. The reason why I like them is that they essentially allow you to turn any bag into a notebook bag (even if that bag already has a notebook compartment). This is important to me because I don’t like bags or backpacks that scream “hey, I’m a laptop bag.”
When it comes to sleeve cases, Sony has historically provided few choices in the United States market especially when compared to Japan. Because of this, I always had my eye on alternative sleeve case options. Based on some recommendations and my own research, I decided to look at Waterfield Designs @ SFBags.com.
Almost everyone I spoke with raved about the quality and durability of the Waterfield sleeve cases and I was equally impressed. The only problem was that all of my existing notebooks already had sleeve cases and I couldn’t justify buying extra ones even though I wanted one really badly.
Therefore, I promised myself that my on next new notebook purchase I would get a Waterfield SleeveCase to protect it.
So, what’s so special about the Waterfield Designs SleeveCase? Plenty.
These sleeve cases are built with high-grade neoprene on the inside and wrapped in a ballistic nylon shell. They also comes in a dizzying array of configuration options and over 40 sizes. Generally speaking, they have a sleeve for almost any notebook out there and you can configure it any way you want.
The first option is choosing your size. Waterfield Designs has a convenient sizing chart available to help you narrow down your choices based on manufacturer and model. They provide measurements as well so you can find a perfect match. In addition, they ask you to provide details for your device just so that they can double check that your order matches your device.
The second option is orientation. You can select if you want to slide your notebook in vertically or horizontally. Depending on the bag you will be using, the orientation will determine how easy/hard it is to get your notebook out. If you’re a backpack user you might opt for the vertical orientation while messenger bag users might opt for the horizontal orientation.
The third option is a full flap. By default, the sleeve case is open on one end with a thick strap in the center that secures your device using a high-grade Velcro. The flap option gives you full coverage and a complete seal.
The fourth option is a shoulder strap. Actually, there’s a bunch of different mini-options here. You have the choice of simply adding D-rings (used to connect the strap), adding the D-ring + adjustable strap or adding the D-ring + suspension strap (adjustable strap with comfort grip).
Finally, the fifth option is a piggyback. The piggyback, available only in conjunction with the fourth option, adds an accessory pouch that connects to the same D-rings as the strap. This essentially turns the SleeveCase into its own bag which is perfect for quick trips to your local coffee shop.
My SleeveCase Experience
Although I originally just wanted a SleeveCase with a flap, I decided that I simply had to try out a fully decked out model so that I could have the option of using it without putting it in another bag.
Because the VAIO Z was so new, I wasn’t sure which model to get at first. A quick e-mail to Gary at Waterfield Designs recommended the 13-1 size; however, that ended up being about 1/2” too tall when used in a horizontal orientation. I contacted them about this and they provided service that simply blew me away. With the help of Tanja, one of the employees there, we were able to come up with a perfect solution that fits the VAIO Z.
I ended up with the following configuration.
• SleeveCase 25-17 Size
• Horizontal Orientation
• Ballistic Flap
• D-rings + Suspension Strap
• Piggyback Option
I was initially torn on the orientation since I planned to use the sleeve case in both a messenger and backpack. Ultimately, I went with the horizontal since I felt that gave me the most flexibility in terms of my usage. I should note that the 13-1 Size is suitable for vertical orientation.
Although I had been told that products from Waterfield Designs were well-made, it was even more apparent when I first unpacked my SleeveCase. Upon close inspection, you can really see the care that’s been put into the design of the product and the attention to detail. I inspected every inch and didn’t see any loose threads or stitching.
Giving it a good squeeze reveals a case that is soft and thin but not too thin. The outer shell is made up of a high quality ballistic nylon, which is a synthetic fabric that’s most commonly used in luggage and other applications where durable fabric is needed. Some of the qualities of ballistic nylon are that it’s resistant to abrasion and tearing.
Just for fun, I poured some water onto the case with my laptop in it. Oh yes, water resistant! I left it there for about 5 minutes and after I wiped it up with a napkin. I then wiped my hand over the spots that had water and felt no dampness. Very nice.
At the bottom of the SleeveCase, there’s a loop. The purpose of the loop is so that you can more easily remove your notebook. You stick your finger in the loop and use your other hand to pull out the notebook. Brilliant. Of course, you can still remove it with one hand but it’s a nice thoughtful touch.
The inside of the SleeveCase is a nice soft neoprene. The 25-17 model fits my VAIO Z perfectly with the soft inside protecting the entire notebook. No scratching your notebook here. The piggyback option also utilizes the same materials.
There’s a slim pocket on the backside of the SleeveCase where you store more stuff. It’s wide enough for a manila folder or a notebook. It’s just tall enough for an 8.5” x 11” sized documents.
The suspension strap option is very comfortable and the pad doesn’t move once it’s on your shoulder thanks to the rubbery grip on the bottom. The top is made up of soft, shark skin leather.
The D-rings, hooks and other hardware are all heavy duty and time will tell about the durability. As of right now, there’s nothing that leads me to believe that it won’t last long.
The piggyback option is actually surprisingly spacious. There’s enough room for my AC Adapter (which isn’t exactly small), my camera, my cell phone, my headphones, several cables, Bluetooth headset, and some pens. It’s perfect for quick trips or those times you don’t need to bring a full bag.
Overall, I’m quite satisfied with the Waterfield Designs SleeveCase. Not only does it protect my investment, but it’s also stylish, well-designed, well-made, and configurable. It’s not just a sleeve case but it’s also a bag in itself (when configured so). The piggyback option allows me to organize and take my gear with me in another bag or with the SleeveCase itself.
Sony VAIO Z owners looking for an alternative sleeve case should definitely look into this case. In terms of sizing, I recommend contacting the friendly staff at Waterfield Designs if you’re not sure about which size to get. They should have the finalized sizing up very soon.