THE BRAIN CELL ? Suspending Laptop Damage
The real technology and very important part of a Tom Bihn bag is the Brain Cell, a laptop sleeve that works with the bag to provide the ultimate in protection. Colored to match your bag, the Brain Cell has 8mm thick soft foam wrapped around a 4mm thick, hard plastic that together suspends the laptop from the bottom of the Brain Cell. With sides made up of cross-linked closed-cell polyethylene foam, there is nothing that is going to damage the computer inside except running over it with a car.
The top opens very simply with two flaps that close with Aplix strips, just like Velcro but longer lasting. Inside you will see a very soft surface on which your laptop has contact with, so no worries about scratches. As I said, inside the foam is a hard plastic that is probably hard enough to protect your laptop from someone hitting it with a sharp object, such as a pen or scissors. When you put a laptop inside the Brain Cell, it is very snug and feels secure on account that they sell them in almost any size, so just make sure to indicate which one you need.
There are two handles that, just like on the outside bag, feel very tough and sturdy. There is also a webbing pocket that can hold things such as wireless cards or a mouse. There are, just as on the bag, the 6 rows of stitching for the D rings here that allow you to attach a shoulder strap. So if you choose to just carry the laptop without the bag you can still sling it over your shoulder. Tom Bihn provided the Terra Grip strap which is their super-no-slip strap. It’s made from soy-based polymer materials that make it soft and flexible even at -40 degrees and is U.V. stabilized (meaning no fading or cracking).
It is not too comfortable and I personally did not like it for day to day use as I am not clumsy, but I will say that even spinning around in my living room didn?t get that damn thing to slip off so it does what it says.
On thing that bothered me about the Brain Cell is that since it suspends the laptop to prevent damage, if you turn the Brain Cell on its side, it will not work for protection. You have to order a separate, vertical version of the Brain Cell if you are going to use it in a backpack. You have to keep the Brain Cell in the orientation of the type you ordered to get the protection that you seek.
After carrying the bag around for about two weeks now, I can say I love it. The Super Ego has become my new bag, going to the office, to a friend?s house, to the local coffee shop, it is with me. The Brain Cell product is an ingenious way, despite drawbacks, to protect your laptop and seems to prevent damage altogether. And Tom Bihn managed to do all this, while keeping it stylish and trendy.
+Quality feeling in the product
+Brain Cell is changeable, removable, and extremely protective
+Doesn?t slosh around and carries well
+Lots of options in terms of styling (straps, strips, colors)
-Hard to use internal snaps when attaching Brain Cell
-Brain Cell does not work in both orientations
-The Super Ego is a very large bag, too big for small women to easily carry
-Terra Strap could feel better if wider