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Review: Tom Bihn Soft Cell - Notebook Sleeve

I am always on the lookout for safe ways to transport my Macintosh computer. Currently, I am still using my iBook as my main portable, and while I don't take it with me as much as I used to , when I do, I want it to be safe.

tom bihn soft cell

I have tried several laptop sleeves over the last year, and generally speaking, they all perform about the same. The main differences are thickness, fabric, padding, color selection, and physical orientation. While not revolutionary in design, the Tom Bihn Soft Cell makes a nice addition to your bag or briefcase.

The Shell:

Most sleeves I have found, are Vertical in orientation, and my Tom Bihn Soft Cell is no different. The fabric is a 500 Denier Cordura, and the interior is a super-soft brushed nylon. The inside is very soft to the touch, and more impressive, it will help keep your notebook scratch free. The Denier Cordura material feels great, but failed one of my tests... it picks up dog hair like crazy. I have a yellow labrador, and she sheds everywhere. You could really see the yellow hairs on this black Soft Cell. Not a deal breaker though, I could easily remove them with my trusty lint roller (a must have with a yellow lab). The top of the case is sealed with three distinct round patches of velcro that are sewn into the case. This is great because it is unlikely that the velcro is going to come loose. I've seen bags that have velcro strips, that go all the way to the edges, and then the velcro starts to peel away over time. One more bonus feature of not using a full strip of velcro is that you gain some silence. You are opening 3 small circles of velcro, instead of one big long strip. Have you ever come in late to a meeting or class, only to be stared at while opening your sleeve? I have.. it's not pretty. As always, the Tom Bihn stitching is impeccable, but should it ever fail, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.


If you are using a vertical backpack, you can simply open the top of the case and slip your notebook in and out, without even taking out the sleeve. There is a quarter inch of foam padding, but not so much that makes this sleeve feel big and bulky. It is sleek in design, and the all black makes it work with just about any bag color scheme.


Not only can you get the Soft Cell in a variety of sizes, but it is also available in a horizontal format. The Tom Bihn site has an easy to use sizing utility to ensure you get the proper fit for your notebook.

tom bihn horizontal soft cell

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, it looks as though the sleeves are only available in black. My preference would be to have them available in at least 4 or 5 colors, but that is just nit-picky on my part.