If you recently got your MacBook Pro with Retina display(tm) – which we will call rMBP here, you’ve probably been searching for a good bag to go with it.
Not many bags exist that were made exactly for the rMBP, however, any regular MBP 15 bag will fit it. The trick was to find one that fit the non Retina MBP as tightly as possible and to use that.
SFBags, Tom Binh etc all have stuff available, but I don’t dig the look of nylon and other “nice leathers” available at SFBags. I also don’t dig having to use a separate sleeve for my laptop. When I want to take it out, I don’t want to mess around. I also prefer to not pay $300 for a bag. Insert stuff about being too cheap to “properly protect your investment that you paid so much for blah blah”.
Here’s a quick review of the Thule Attaché 15 for iPad and Macbook Pro. Pictures are at the end.
The exterior is only available in black urethane. It feels a bit rubbery to the touch (duh), and can certainly remind me of the Thule gear for cars. The big silver logo on it is a bit too much for my taste but it’s not too extreme to make me hate it. It comes with a basic shoulder strap.
It is shaped slightly wider at the bottom than at the top (think Macbook Air wedge style), which helps to fit more stuff at the bottom of it without making it look bulky.
In my opinion, the looks are very well suited to using it at work or in a more formal environment as well as in a casual one. As it’s black, it fits anywhere.
The zipper is water resistant, as is the rest of the exterior. I wouldn’t throw it in a pool but I certainly won’t feel stressed next time I’m caught in the rain with my laptop. However, these special zippers with the rubberized cover are a bit harder to close than regular ones. No big deal but it takes a bit of getting used to. The urethane on it also seems to gather dust quite easily, as you can see in the pictures. However, it is easy to clean with a damp cloth.
It’s a relatively minimalist bag, but as the name implies, it’s made for a Macbook Pro AND an iPad.
You can easily fit a Macbook, an iPad with a Smart Cover (other thin covers should work but the thick “book-cover-like” ones will not), a Magic Mouse, a Thunderbolt Ethernet adapter (because Wi-Fi is for babies) and a power adapter, with a bit of room to spare.
With all of that stuff in, you can easily close it without creating a bulge and without having any item applying pressure to the computer’s screen or iPad, which could cause issues with LCD displays.
The rMBP is almost flush with the bottom of the case. A standard MBP must fit a bit tighter, but it is almost impossible to know that this bag wasn’t made exclusively for the rMBP. Thule says you can use the laptop in the bag, however I found this to be a bit weird, as you have to remove it from the bag and put it back in over the strap to do this. It’s also blocking the rMBP’s air circulation slots, so I wouldn’t recommend doing this for more than a few minutes to look something up.
This bag is available for $80. I ordered mine from Apple and got it within 24hours. I have yet to find anything that comes close to it in terms of convenience, size and quality, and if you are looking for a minimalist rMBP bag, this is definitely the one that offers the most bang for your buck.
There is a limited warranty of 25 years on it, which doesn’t mean much except that maybe the whole thing will last longer than my laptop, which would be good enough for me!