Four years ago, when I still had my old TiBook G4, I reviewed a laptop briefcase from a Seattle company called Tom Bihn at TomBihn.com. It was the Empire Builder. I loved that briefcase, it went to the office with me everyday and still looks new. There were no rips, tears, or broken zippers. The handles were still padded and in one piece. How can a briefcase be worth $160.00 you ask? Just take a look at my 4 year old Tom Bihn Empire Builder.
That brings us to today. I just purchased a new 13 inch MacBook Pro and was interested in what had changed in the laptop/briefcase market over the last 4 years. So I got in touch with Tom Bihn and decided to try the Checkpoint Flyer briefcase.
The Checkpoint Flyer Briefcase is the result of an intensive, five-month design challenge presented by the TSA(Transportation Security Administration): design a laptop bag that offers airport security x-ray screeners a clear view of the laptop while it is still inside of the laptop bag. Previously, the TSA required that all passengers traveling with a laptop computer must remove their laptop from their bag and place it in a bin for screening. To help streamline the security process and better protect your laptop, the TSA sought bags that offer a clear and unobstructed image of the laptop when undergoing X-ray screening, yet are still protective.
The new Checkpoint Flyer bag meets the TSA requirements for x-ray screening, allowing you to keep your laptop in your bag when you send it through the x-ray machine. It also provides more protection for your laptop than a simple padded sleeve would. You can also expect to find tons of pockets, compartments and dividers to keep everything organized.
The Checkpoint Flyer laptop case is available in four sizes to fit all Mac and a wide range of PC laptops. It’s what houses and protects your laptop in our Checkpoint Flyer briefcase. The laptop case clips securely to the Checkpoint Flyer briefcase, but it is removable. One Checkpoint Flyer Laptop Case comes with the Checkpoint Flyer briefcase: at the time you purchase the Checkpoint Flyer briefcase, you choose the size of Checkpoint Flyer laptop case that you need for your laptop. It’s great for those of you who buy a new laptop every year or two – if your new laptop is a different size than your old laptop, you won’t need to buy a whole new Checkpoint Flyer – just a new Checkpoint Flyer Laptop Case.
I could spend the next page rattling off the specifications of the Checkpoint Flyer, but it’s just as easy for you to head over to TomBihn.com and check it out for yourself. Needless to say, it’s an impressive piece of luggage. But that’s not all, if you need a laptop briefcase that does more, you can easily purchase add-ons for the Checkpoint Flyer, or any other of their briefcases that will turn this simple, solid briefcase into a super briefcase.
For example, The Freudian Slip is an insert that gives you eleven extra pockets to provide total organization of your files and accessories. It comes as a Horizontal or Vertical model. One side of the Horizontal Freudian Slip features two pockets with an asymmetrical design, each capable of fitting up to .5″ thick of files or papers. The other side of the Horizontal Freudian Slip has two zippered pockets lined with lightweight Dyneema ripstop fabric. One pocket is 8″ x 3.5″ and the other is 5″ x 4″: both can fit a wide range of accessories, from pens to cables to power supplies. Both pockets zip shut with a YKK #5 coil zipper with plastic sliders, which are less likely to scratch sensitive electronic gizmos. Below the zippered pockets are a series of open-top organizer pockets: one business card pocket, four pen pockets, one cell phone/PDA/iPod-sized pocket, and one larger pocket perfect for many power supplies. A handy loop on the top of the Horizontal Freudian Slip makes it easy to pull out of your bag, and also allows you to hang the slip on the door knob of your office or hotel, allowing you to use the Horizontal Freudian Slip as work-in organization.
If that doesn’t do the trick, you can add some organizer pouches, shoulder straps, or a snake charmer cable bag to turn your briefcase into some very special and more importantly, functional. Get over to the Web site and take a look at all the gear Tom Bihn has to offer. And remember, the old saying that you get what you pay for is never more true then when it comes to Tom Bihn. Years from now it will be very clear to you.