A good computer bag can help protect a valuable piece of equipment like notebooks and tablets. It also has to look good and feel comfortable while one carriesÂ the bag and its contents around. WaterField Designs understands this, which made it easy to jump at a chance to try out their newest computer bag: the WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase.
This bag isn’t cheap at $249 for the smaller version that holds up to a thin 13-inch machine and $279 for one that can house bigger computers, up to 17 inches. To make the briefcaseÂ worth the price, it needs to excel in three areas. First, it has to protect all the gear in the bag. Next, it needs to last for years even if the owner uses it in some extreme settings. Finally, a bag of this caliber mustÂ look good. People willing to pay over two-hundred dollars will have particular tastes.Â How does the WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase measure up in these three areas?
WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase Video Review
Now here’s the demo video from WaterField Designs.
WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase Look and Design
The WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase carries with it the typical high quality ballistic nylon that we’re used to seeing from this company. The Bolt BriefcaseÂ includes the black ballistic nylon and three colors of leather accents around the sides, bottom, on the handles and the shoulder strap. They also make one with waxed canvas and the same threeÂ leather accentÂ colors for a total of six combinations in each of the two bag sizes.
On the inside there’s a spacious compartment made of soft gold cloth. TheÂ larger compartmentÂ in the center will hold a thicker computer, or some books and other accessories. It’s even gotÂ room for a change of clothes if you’re not a big person like me.
On one side of the large inner compartment we find two pockets half the widthÂ of the inner compartment. They’re great for headphones, a computer mouse, or other smaller accessories. The other side of the inner compartment holds another pocket that runs the length of the inner compartment. It’s a great fit for a thinnerÂ computer, like the Dell Chromebook 11 seen in the image, a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or a MacBook Air. I’m sure any ultrabook, Chromebook or large tablet would fit.
The bag’s inner compartment zips closed with metal zippers that come with leather tassels, making themÂ easy to grasp.
On each side of the WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase we get some external pockets to carry even more gear. One side offers a wide pocket without any covering making it easy to quickly slide some folders or thin books in and out. There’s a strap on the outsideÂ of that pocket that’s meant to slide over the long handle of a rolling suitcase that one wheels through anÂ airport or on the way to a hotel room.
The other side holds three more pockets. Two pockets include magnetic clasps that keepsÂ them shut while the third pocket zips closed and runs the length of the bag. A flap hides the zipper making it a great place to protectÂ a tablet or other electronics duringÂ bad weather. These outerÂ pockets will hold plenty of items. The owner can cram moreÂ gear than one would normally fit into a bag this compact.
The flap over the zippered pocket on one side makes it easier to slip things outÂ quickly. Since the other large outer pocket doesn’t include a zipper or clasp, I put my Nexus 9 tablet inÂ it, and thanks to the slick nylon material, it easily slide out while the bag satÂ on its side on my car’s back seat. Be careful how you store the bag in similar situations so valuable items don’t slip out and break.
WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase Durability
We’ve reviewed many WaterField Designs bags and cases and they always last, still looking good even after years of continual use. In fact, as the distressed leather ages, it gains character and looks even better than when it comes new.
The stitching doesn’t come undoneÂ and the bags don’t come apart. Everything holds up well to abuse and cleans up well when it gets dirty.
The handlesÂ on top won’t detach and the metal hooks holding the shoulder straps don’t come unfastened. Based on experience, it wouldÂ surprised me if one of these bags fell apart within the first few years of ownership. Buy with confidence that you’re getting what you paid for.
WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase Recommendation
Some people prefer sleeve cases or backpacks, but people who prefer a moreÂ business-like briefcase design should take a look at the WaterField Designs Bolt Briefcase. As noted above, the smaller bag costsÂ $249 and fits computers up to something like a 13-inch MacBook Air. For $279 get theÂ larger bag, which fits a 17-inch laptop. It’s easily the best briefcase-style bag I’ve used. It includes plenty of storage space, looks great in all of its designs and will last. The computer, tablet and accessories housed inside should stay protected while carrying this bag even in some snow or rain. Obviously, I love this bag and think you will too.