I love Waterfield products and am always positively inclined toward them from the start. After using the Waterfield Syde for MacBook Pro for the past weeks, I’m happy to say that the company that makes some of my favorite bags has continued to do just that. The Syde is a fantastic bag for those who are looking to travel light.
The Syde is a bit different from most laptop bags I have reviewed. It isn’t quite a full-featured bag, but it is much more than just a sleeve. It is, I would argue, a cross between a sleeve and a bag. Think of it as the progeny of the two that would result if a laptop bag and a protective sleeve spent a passionate weekend together.
The Syde comes in your choice of black ballistic nylon or waxed canvas on the outside and high-grade neoprene on the inside. The use of neoprene helps provide a good degree of shock absorption for your pricey computer without adding much bulk or weight. The leather pocket on the outside (we will come back to that shortly), and the handles are made from high-quality, full-grain leather. As is always the case with Waterfield products, all of the various pieces come together with precise stitching and the kind of quality workmanship those of us who are fans of Waterfield products have come to expect.
Waterfield refers to the Syde as “Your new Mobile Home Office“ and goes on to describe it this way:
The first thing you’ll notice about the Syde is the gorgeous, impossible-to-resist leather front pocket. This well-designed attachment stores accessories while the solidly-built sleeve keeps the MacBook with Touch Bar well-protected. Designed for mobile professionals, the Syde is a streamlined, lightweight carry that fits in any business setting.
The Syde is specifically designed to fit each different MacBook. The version for the 12″ MacBook measures 11.75″ x 8.75″ x 1″-3″ and weighs 1.25 lbs. The version for the 13″ MacBook Pro Touch Bar measures 13″ x 9.25″ x 1″-3″ and weighs 1.45 lbs. (This is the version I have for review), and it works fine with both my 13” MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar and, on most days, my 9.7” iPad Pro with the Apple Smart Keyboard Cover. The version for the 15″ MacBook Pro Touch Bar measures 14.75″ x 10.5″ x 1″-3″ and weighs 1.65 lbs. And Waterfield just released a version designed for the Microsoft Surface Book.
As usual, the bags are all designs by Waterfield and made by their sewing team in San Francisco.
Let’s take a walk around the Syde so I can give you an idea why I am so taken with this bag and, on most days, am choosing to use it to carry my gear.
The basic part of the bag is best understood as a quality horizontal Waterfield sleeve. My review sample is made from canvas and, as mentioned, is lined with neoprene to protect the laptop or iPad,
Leather handles are securely sewn into both sides of the sleeve and let you easily, and securely carry it.
It is very comfortable to carry!
On each side of the sleeve is a D-Ring secured by leather sewn securely enough that there isn’t the slightest chance they will come loose.
Whether you carry the Syde by the handles of using the D-Rings along with the included suspension strap, you can feel confident your computer or tablet will be safe. That’s the level of quality Waterfield bakes into their products.
The canvas at the opening of the sleeve is folded over and securely sewn. This gives the sleeve a finished look but serves another purpose as well. Inside the fold, Waterfield has ingeniously hidden strong magnets. This allows the opening of the sleeve to automatically close and stay closed until you decide you want to pull the contents out.
The interior of the sleeve on my review sample is designed to hold my 13” MacBook Pro protected by a Speck shell but has enough room for some additional items so long as they are thin. I certainly would not, however, call the space “generous” however. If you are looking to carry a lot, then this may not be the Waterfield product for you.
On the back side of the sleeve is a thin, open pocket that is ideal for a few papers or other similarly thin items.
Because there is no mechanism for securely closing the pocket, it is best to not put anything valuable here.
Thus far I have been referring to the Waterfield Syde as a sleeve. There is a reason for this, but it is not entirely accurate. You see, what separates the Syde from other horizontal Waterfield sleeves is the pouch or pocket sewn into the front side of the Syde. (The side of the Syde… get it??) Made from leather, it creates a fairly generous space for carrying additional items along with your computer or tablet.
A matching leather flap folds on top of the opening and securely shuts with a strong magnetic strap. The rear part of this space is the exterior of the sleeve portion of the Syde. That means in the case of my review sample it is waxed canvas but for those who choose the ballistic nylon version, it would be this material. (Notice how the leather flap has been gaining character as I use it? I love the way it looks now that it is a bit worn in!)
Some pockets are sewn inside of the Syde pouch and can hold a few pens and if you choose, a phone. Instead of placing my phone in the larger of these interior pockets I keep the Nomad PowerPack battery, I review a short time ago along with the Nomad three-in-one cable I reviewed at the same time. That means I always have an external battery and cable for keeping my phone and tablet charged on the go.
- Custom-fit for the NEW! 13”, 15” MacBook Pro Touch Bar and the 12″ MacBook
- Silent, magnetic closure
- Attached leather pocket for accessories
- Comfortable leather handles
- Includes Suspension Strap
- Bottom loop for easy pull-out
- Rear back pocket for need-to-access-quickly documents
It is the addition of this pouch that sets the Waterfield Syde apart and turns this sleeve into a sleeve-bag hybrid. The combination of spaces is enough to protect your laptop or tablet and carry an assortment of other small items without weighing yourself down with a bulky bag filled with things you don’t need. This bag is for the minimalist who can’t afford to go too terribly minimal but still wants to keep things light. For me, it strikes the right balance most days. And, on days when I need to bring more with me, I simply pull out one of my other Waterfield bags. (Did I mention I love their products?) The Syde has an MSRP of $159 regardless of the size or materials you choose. Check it out here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Well constructed from top quality materials; Handles are secure and comfortable to hold; D-Rings are secure on each side and the Syde ships with a Suspension Strap; Neoprene interior of the sleeve protects your main device; Syde pocket offers space enough to carry essential items
What Needs Improvement: Nothing