Waterfield’s MacBook Outback Solo holds just enough to keep you productive. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
I’ll admit it — I’ve got a thing for these waxed canvas and leather bags from Waterfield. I’ve ended up using the impeccably designed Staad backpack and the classy Nintendo 3DS case long after my reviews of them were published. These bags and cases from the San Francisco design collective are warm, inviting and just get better with age and use.
Let’s face it, though: Sometimes you only want to carry your laptop and a couple of accessories, and that’s it. Waterfield’s latest design, the MacBook Outback Solo, is a minimalist sleeve made of the same strong canvas material and rich, thick, buttery-smooth leather as the other bags in the line. It can be paired with a carrying strap that turns the sleeve into a messenger bag. While our very own Charlie Sorrel called the iPad version of this bag a man-purse, I’m thinking of this more as a shoulder-saving device — the fewer things I end up having to carry, the better.
Castello Davarg’s leather York case offers sharp looks. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
I’ve tried a lot of cases for my Mac notebooks over the years, from a dorky aluminum briefcase for my white “icebook” iBook through cheap, zip-up neoprene sleeves and on to bulky, custom-fitted, shock-absorbing monsters. But the elegant, simple and beautiful Castello Davarg York, cut from a single piece of leather, is the only one that makes any sense for my MacBook Air.
Like the MacBook Air inside, you can’t help but finger and fiddle with the York case. It’s cut from 5-ounce, full-grain leather that’s folded and then hand-stitched along two sides before finishing the edges and … well, that’s almost it. The case has no fastening or closure, and lacks a lining or padded interior, but it is shaped perfectly to fit the MacBook Air. (I tested the 13-inch size, but it also comes for the 11-incher.) It even has a little cutout on the top edge that mimics the one found on the lid of the MacBook itself.
I don’t really like using iPad cases; I tend to put one on just before I hand my device over to my kids, and then it comes off again as soon as they’re done. One of the best things about the iPad mini is its form factor, but that’s lost when you slap on a big, bulky case.
COTE by BUKcase Category: Sleeve Works With: iPad mini Price: $133
But although I like my iPad to be naked when I use it, I need some protection when I’m on the go and carrying it around. That’s when I’m most likely to drop it — and when it’s most susceptible to getting scratched up in the bottom of my bag.
The CAZLET from KYNEZ is an iPhone wallet case like no other. It’s the only one I know of that provides military-grade protection for your beloved smartphone, and it’s one of the few that allows you to use your device — and almost all of its features and functions — without having to open the wallet up.
CAZLET by KYNEZ Category: Wallet case Works With: iPhone 5 & iPhone 5s Price: $65
CAZLET’s design leaves your iPhone’s display exposed yet protected, so as soon as you pull it out of your pocket, your device is ready to be used. It’s made from gorgeous leather sourced from boutique tanneries in France and Southern Germany, and it boasts some nifty features you don’t normally get with smartphone wallet cases — including dedicated pockets for a spare nanoSIM and SIM eject tool.
KYNEZ also offers a number of add-ons that you can buy separately, including a coin pocket, a card band, a hand strap, and an ID sleeve. The wallet itself comes with a $65 price tag, which I think is very reasonable. Let me tell you why.
Not everyone has a fancy computer backpack or messenger bag. Some folks just have non-techie backpacks, bags, or luggage, and they’re perfectly fine with that.
13-inch Macbook Sleeve by Mujjo Category: Macbook Cases Works With: Macbook Pro, Macbook Air 13-inch Price: $69
However, most of those folks would benefit from a sleeve or two to cover and protect their precious technology. And, if you’re going to go that route, you might as well go all the way and get something that’s special.
The Mujjo Low-Key Macbook Sleeve is angling for just that “all the way” look and feel.
Pad&Quill is at it again, this time with a low-profile rear-shell style case for the iPhone 5/S. While calling anything from Brian Holmes’s P&Q “minimal” would be a stretch, the Traveler Case gets pretty close. It is also gorgeous to look at, and would surely be just as lovely for the hands. It looks like the kind of case you couldn’t stop fingering.
Mujjo’s new “Understated & Low-Key” case collection is out, and if you like slick and simple leather sleeves for your devices then you’re in luck. I have my eye on two pieces: the Slim Fit iPhone 5s Wallet and the Slim Fit iPad Air Sleeve , both in tan.
iPhone wallet cases are traditionally cases first and wallets second; their focus is on protecting your iPhone, and then a few pockets are added for carrying your cards and cash. But the Danny P Pocket Book for iPhone 5 and 5s is a little different.
Pocket Book by Danny P Category: Wallet Case Works With: iPhone 5 & 5s Price: $129
Made from the finest Italian leather, it’s essentially a traditional wallet that has space for your iPhone, so you don’t need to make any compromises to use it. You can continue to carry as many cards as you want — there are 8 card slots in total with two additional sleeves for business cards, receipts, and anything else you might want to stuff in there — and there’s more space for bills than most of us will ever need.
The Pocket Book is available in cognac — a beautiful tan color with blue internals — and it’s priced at $129. As iPhone wallets go, it’s pretty darn good.
Smooth Leather Sleeve by Joli Originals Category: Cases Works With: iPad Price: $87 as tested
The biggest surprise about the Joli Originals iPad sleeve is how much I like it. I use my iPad just about as much as I use my iPhone, (which is a lot). Maybe more. And for this reason I prefer a case which I can flip open and get to the screen as soon as possible. In short, I have no time for iPad sleeves. And yet the Joli sleeve won me over.
If you’re shopping for a new iPhone wallet case, you’ll be hard pushed to find one as suave and as strongly-built as the Fulki Pocket for iPhone 5 and 5s. Handmade from thick, belt-grade Italian leather, it’s the kind of case that’ll still be looking good and going strong long after the iPhone you slip into it has died out.
Pocket by Fulki Category: Cases Works With: iPhone 5 & 5s Price: €85
The Fulki Pocket is designed to provide your iPhone with protection from scratches, scrapes, and bumps at almost every angle. It also has a small pocket that’ll carry your credit card or some cash, and the v-shaped cutout in its top edge will allow you to grip your iPhone with your thumb and forefinger when you’re pulling it out of the case.
The Fulki Pocket is available in tan, coffee, and cognac colors, and it’s priced at €85 ($116). It’s pretty pricey, but it’s worth it.