When the My 2nd Brain 15 introduced, I immediately contacted my friend Brian at Think Tank Photo. The press release detailed the 15" Apple MacBook fitting in the case, but I'm not Mac-based. I needed to know if my slim Dell XPS 15 would fit. Brian said that it would indeed fit and asked if I wanted to try it out. Well yeah!
What caught my attention was the My 2nd Brain's classy, impress-the-client styling mixed with the minimal-but-very-useful storage provisions in a case with a footprint only slightly larger than a notebook sleeve.
I am currently using a Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 when traveling as it lets me add a significant amount of photo gear to my carry-on bags. But for local business and travel where I am not as concerned about the compactness of my overall kit, the Urban Disguise 60 is more case than I need. Sean is currently enjoying use of my Think Tank Photo Airport Check In, but even this case is larger than I often need. The My Brain 2 looked just right for my compact laptop transportation.
Before I continue the review, let's take a look at what Think Tank Photo has to say about the My Brain 2:
From Think Tank Photo
"This slim, soft case fits a 15” MacBook Pro + any iPad® + iPhone® in individual padded pockets. Additional dedicated pockets provide easy access to power adapters and memory cards, down to the tiniest items, so don't sweat the small stuff."
"It's made of tough, soft water-resistant fabrics and metal hardware that complement the Apple aesthetic. Slide an iPad into the zippered padded pocket that also has an organizer for pens and more. Keep an iPhone in the top pocket with a pouch for earbuds or a Bluetooth headset. Unzip the main compartment to organize and secure adapters and small items in clear zippered pockets. Stow documents in the rear pouch. Even the removable padded shoulder strap has a clip for full-size headphones — all in a case that's only 2.6” thick."
Fits 15” Macbook Pro® + any iPad + iPhone, power supply w/ AC cable, portable drives, network cables, USB hub and connection cable, earbuds, monitor adapters, memory cards, pens, business cards, and other small items.
|Exterior Dimensions:||10.2” W x 14.8” H x 2.6” D||(26 x 37.5 x 6.5cm)|
|iPad pocket:||8.3” W x 11" H x 0.8” D||(21 x 28 x 2cm)|
|Laptop compartment:||9.8" W x 14.3" H x 1.4" D||(25 x 36.3 x 3.5cm)|
|Weight w/ all accessories:||1.5 lbs||(0.7 kg)|
Exterior: Durable water-resistant fabric, plus fabric underside has a polyurethane coating for superior water-resistance. YKK® RC Fuse zippers, nickel-plated metal hardware with brushed aluminum finish, 420D velocity nylon and 600D brushed Polyester, dual-cross buckle, herringbone webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.
Interior: 210D silver-toned nylon lined, Nylex lined iPhone and iPad pockets, clear mesh pockets, 150D hexa mesh pockets, closed-cell antilon foam, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.
Walk Through – And It's Not Just for Apple
Even with the press release greatly emphasizing the designed-for-Apple features of this case, I could easily see through the smoke to envision my Windows-based computer-carrying needs being solved. Upon arrival of the case, I learned that my 14.6 x 0.9 x 9.8" (37.1 x 2.3 x 24.9cm) slim 15.6" Dell laptop fits perfectly. If I leave my small Logitech Unifying receiver plugged in, I can *just* get the zipper closed. The laptop pocket in the case is closed via a single padded YKK zipper that extends about 4" down each both sides of the case. Access to the computer is not expansive, but adequate. There is no risk to the computer falling out due to a failed zipper.
With my most important need solved, I moved on to inspect the rest the case.
Outside of the computer section is a Velcro-closed slot/pocket that measures 10 x 13" (25.4 x 30.5cm). The Velcro is positioned 1" (2.54cm), at its lowest, inside this section. Do not plan to put anything much thicker than papers in this pocket.
The case's largest storage section is in the main section adjacent to the laptop compartment. Double padded YKK zippers extending 11" (27.9cm) down each side of the case open to reveal this section comprised of a pair of large zipper-closed pockets on one side (shown above) and four elastic-closed mesh pouches on the other (shown below). What you store in these pockets can vary greatly, but a power supply, cords, portable hard drives, memory cards and batteries fit well. Gear can also be stowed in the bottom of this section outside of a pocket. There is no concern of the loose gear falling out because the sides of the lid are gusseted and allow opening no more than 6".
On the front of the case is a soft-lined phone pocket. The pocket measures 3.8 x 10" (9.6 x 25.4cm), but access is limited by the 7" (17.8cm) zipper. My iPhone 5 easily fits. Nice is that it is easy to quickly access a phone (or other item) stored here. A 3.5 x 4" (8.9 x 10.2cm) elastic-closed mesh pouch is located in this pocket. While the pocket is designed to hold ear buds, you can store anything small here.
Below and in front of the phone pocket is a large 10 x 12" (25.4 x 30.5cm) single-zippered pocket. The back of this pocket has a number of organizer storage areas for pens, business cards, etc. along with a tethered key keeper. The front has a soft-lined pouch designed to hold a iPad or similar tablet computer up to 9 x 10" (22.9 x 25.4cm) in size. A 6 x 9" (15.2 x 22.8cm) paper notepad holder nicely fits in this section of the case if a tablet is not being stowed here.
There is a surprisingly large amount of storage available in this little case. But, know that it is not hard to overfill the various sections. If you store too much in the main storage area, it is going to be hard to get much into the iPad section. And if you keep pens and too many other things in the iPad storage area, it becomes harder to store a tablet in addition.
Basically, with dimensions only slightly larger than a computer sleeve, the My 2nd Brain 15 provides a huge upgrade in functionality over such a sleeve. Even with my laptop loaded, I can fit the entire My 2nd Brain 15 into my Urban Disguise 60 V2.0's designed-for-17" computer storage slot.
The quality of this product is very high. From the fabric both inside and outside to the zippers to the padding, standard Think Tank Photo quality is exhibited in the My 2nd Brain.
The design of this bag is such that the laptop is positioned vertically when the handle or shoulder strap is in use. I've been carrying laptops in cases since laptops were first introduced. Well, maybe since the second laptop as the Compaq Portable, my first laptop, was self-cased. Out of all of those cases, this is the first case I've used that carries the laptop in vertical orientation and I notice the difference. But I haven't found a good reason for the change to matter. It is simply a change.
While I can't say having a "2nd Brain" has given me better multitasking skills via parallel brain processing capability, I can say that my brain is happier having this case available. I've now had the My 2nd Brain on a couple of vehicle-based trips and expect it to accompany me on many more. This case is not going to replace my larger travel case (the Urban Disguise 60 V2.0), but it has taken over most of my other more-compact needs.
It is a Family
While I'm talking about the Black My 2nd Brain 15 here, there is a 2nd brain sized to (likely) fit your computing storage needs and the choice of Black, Harbor Blue or Mist Green color is yours to make.
Bringing you this site is my full time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan