I have a couple of different bags that I use as my laptop bag. One of them has a built-in, cushioned, zippered sleeve to hold my MacBook Air; my laptop is safe from scratches in there. The other bag only has a laptop “divider” panel that’s open at the bottom and top, and my laptop is vulnerable to scratches from pens, keys, or anything else in the bag. I wanted a laptop sleeve to use with that particular bag, but I wanted something sleek and minimal. I didn’t need a bunch of pockets to carry accessories on the sleeve, because I already had everything stashed in the bigger bag. The BX2 Sleeve looked exactly like what I needed to protect my MacBook Air, and luckily, Brenthaven had an BX2 Sleeve sized for an 11″ MacBook Air. Luckily, Brenthaven agreed to send a BX2 sleeve to The Gadgeteer for review.
The BX2 sleeves are available to fit all current sizes of MacBooks, including the Retinas and the Airs. The sleeves are available in black or white. (I thought the white sleeve would be easier to photograph than the black. Foolish me! ;) )
The exterior is made of polyurethane leather, and the white case has some areas accented with light gray dots. Stitching is even and straight, with no loose threads. The top of the bag closes with a plastic zipper. I like plastic zippers in my gear bags, because I feel they are less likely to scratch my devices.
The front (see the lead photo) has a Secure-Grip Handle sewn at the bottom. You just slip your hand through this handle for a secure grip on the bag when carrying it on its own. The Brenthaven name is embossed in gray near the top, the Brenthaven mountains logo is embossed in gray on the handle, and the BX2 logo is embossed at the bottom corner.
The back and front are mostly matte polyurethane, but the back has a shiny insert at the bottom.
The BX2 sleeve measures 13.125″ wide x 9.25″ tall x 1″ thick. It weighs about a half pound.
You can see that the bottom corners are exaggerated. This shape helps protect the corners of the laptop if you should drop it. All four corners have some dense, heavy foam padding inserts for extra cushioning against drops.
In the above photo, you can see a silver-colored metal open ring that fits through a ribbon loop on the back of the BX2 sleeve. I suppose you could use this clip to secure the sleeve to the strap of a bigger bag. The opening is rather large, and there’s no way to close it. I’d be afraid the case would drop off if I used this ring to secure it to another bag. I’d also be afraid a keyring would drop off this ring, too. I’m not sure what it’s for.
My 11″ MacBook Air just fits inside the BX2 sleeve. It’s so snug that I’m thinking about cutting out the product labels that are sewn inside, because the laptop seems to snag on them as I try to insert it into the tight-fitting sleeve. The zipper moves easily around laptop without making contact with the metal body. The sleeve has such a snug fit that you might not be able to use it if you have a hard-shell case on your 11″ Air, and you might even have to remove some of those nano-sized USB dongles that are intended to be left plugged in at all times to allow the zipper to close easily.
Here you can see my daughter holding the BX2 sleeve. Her hand is through the Secure-Grip Handle, which gives you a good grip on the somewhat slippery sleeve. It’s a good way to have a secure handle without having to add D-rings to the bag so you can clip on a wrist or shoulder strap. It blends in so well with the front design that you don’t even notice it is a handle with your first glance. And it certainly doesn’t have that feminine feel that wrist straps have, so men shouldn’t object to this handle, even if they don’t use it.
I like the Brenthaven BX2 Sleeve for my 11″ MacBook Air. It’s so form-fitted and sleek (with no exterior pockets) that it fits into the laptop compartment of my Jack Georges bag. It gives my Air the protection from scratching that the Jack Georges bag doesn’t, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room or add a lot of weight to the bag. The Secure-Grip Handle is great for giving me a secure grip when I want to just carry my laptop without taking along the bigger bag. The Air isn’t a lot bigger or heavier with the BX2 sleeve on, but it’s certainly easier to keep a secure grip on when it’s in the sleeve. The padded interior and extra padding in the corners makes the Air just a bit safer in case I do manage to drop it, too.