It is no big secret that I am a fan of the thinkTankPhoto Retrospective bags. I have a Retro 20 which I use as an all-round camera bag and a Retro 50 for when I need to carry all the camera gear that I own. For a while the Retro 50 was repurposed as a laptop bag for work. Under the threat of a fate worse than death for non-disclosure - (such as permanent deprivation from coffee), I was given a Retrospective Laptop Case 15L to road test weeks before the official launch.
"The new alternative to conventional and boring laptop cases for carrying expensive technical devices discreetly was inspired by the popularity of TTP's Retrospective canvas shoulder bag series. The retro look remixes the "old-school" with "new-school" to achieve a visually simple but highly functional laptop cases."
Having two Pinestone versions of the Retro for my camera gear, I happily accepted the offer of the Slate Blue laptop case. On first glance, the laptop version of the Retrospective looks just like the rest of the line. It is a little svelter than the camera version, but what stands out immediately is the smooth back-panel designed to reduce wear and tear on your clothes as you walk around with it slung over the shoulder.
My needs for a work laptop bag are pretty basic. I only ask for good quality build, discreet, fits my laptop, carry everything I will throw at it within reason, comfortable to lug around and look good. I don't ask for much no. Just a reliable bag that will happy swallow everything I need it to carry. So how does the TTP Retrospective Laptop Case 15L go?
There is no better way to test a bag than to use it as my primary, and that is exactly what I did whilst hiding it in plain sight. On an average day it will hold my 15" laptop, power brick, a water bottle, Moleskine, scribble pad, pens, loyalty cards, plethora of USB drives, wallet, keys.
On one crazy weekend, it managed to hold all of the following with room left for some small items:
* Jamie's Italian water bottle from Bath, UK
* 4 x Binded documents totalling 378 pages
* 1 x manila folder with 10 pages
* Maui Jim sunglasses case
* 1 x 2.5" portable WD HDD
* 1 x business card holder
* 1 x men's wallet
* 1 x coin purse
* 2 x chamfer bolts for a bed head
* 1 x Galaxy Nexus phone
* 1 x HP laptop power brick
* 1 x HP laptop power cable
* 1 x USB cable
* 1 x Logitech mouse
* 1 x Lyreco A5 notepad
* 1 x Moleskine A5 notebook
* 2 x pens
* 4 x loyalty cards
* 3 x USB drives
* 1 x keys
* 1 x HP Elitebook 8460p
* 1 x CD-ROM
When I rocked up on-site and set myself up for a long stretch of work, it feels like Doraemon's pocket with endless amounts of stuff coming out of the bag. All my equipment and paperwork are easily accessible and more importantly, after a long day working, it was just as easy to pack everything back into the bag neatly and quickly.
As with all my TTP bags, this one features premium quality YKK® RC Fuse zippers, metal hardware, leather accents, and a cushioned and padded nonslip shoulder strap that can be positioned for all-day comfort. The rear pocket is designed to hold a tablet and the main compartment easily fits file folders, books, binders or any other paperwork. The Retrospective Laptop Cases are treated with a water resistant coating, and as double protection from the elements, comes included with a seam-sealed rain cover just like the standard edition of the Retrospective series.
For a bag custom built as a laptop case, I was surprised that there is no secure compartment to hold USB drives. Given how easy it is to lose these things, a small zippered compartment would be just the thing.
In a similar vein, an addition key tether would be handy as I attach my keys via a TTP Red Whip to the tether and right now it is competing against the rain cover.
Pine Stone & Blue Slate Exterior: All fabric exterior treated for durable water resistance, plus fabric underside has a polyurethane coating for extra water resistance, sand-washed 100% cotton canvas, antique nickel-plated metal hardware, premium quality YKK® RC Fuse zippers, polyspun webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread
Pine Stone & Blue Slate Exterior Interior: 210D silver-toned nylon, 2x polyurethane coated nylon 210T seam-sealed taffeta rain cover, 3-ply bonded nylon thread
Black Exterior: All fabric exterior treated with durable water resistance, plus fabric underside has a polyurethane coating for extra water resistance, 1100D polyspun, antique nickel-plated metal hardware, premium quality YKK® RC Fuse zippers, nylon webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread
Black Interior: 210D silver-toned nylon, 2x polyurethane coated nylon 210T seam-sealed taffeta rain cover, 3-ply bonded nylon thread
* External Dimensions: 37 x 29 x 7 cm (WxHxD) (14.6" x 11.4" x 2.8")
* Laptop Compartment: 33 x 24 x 3 cm (WxHxD) (13" x 9.4" x 1.2")
* iPad Compartment: 25 x 20 cm (WxH) (9.8" x 7.9")
* Weight: 1.1 kg (2.4 lbs)
* External Dimensions: 41 x 31 x 7 cm (WxHxD) (16.1" x 12.2" x 2.8")
* Laptop Compartment: 38 x 28 x 4 cm (WxHxD) (15" x 11" x 1.6")
* iPad Compartment: 30 x 23 cm (WxH) (11.8" x 9")
* Weight: 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs)
I think thinkTankPhoto is on a winner with the Retrospective Laptop thinkTankPhoto Shop. The design, quality and functionality, combined with the highly competitive price points of Retrospective 13L at USD$149.75 and Retrospective 15L at USD$159.75 makes it very compelling against some of the other popular brands at almost at double the price point. Treat yourself to a Christmas gift, this one is a keeper.
DigitalReviews would like to thank thinkTankPhoto for their on-going support.