Need we say much? WaterField, the San Franciscan artisan bag maker is always on top of the game producing some of our most favorite sleeves and gear bags. WaterField has recently introduced the CitySlicker, and we think it's the 'Inspector Gadget' of hybrid sleeve cases. The CitySlicker is designed to be compact and capable of carrying enough of what you actually need to carry along with you in a 19th century, elegant style with 21st century protection. Catch our comprehensive review down below!
As with just about all of WaterField's sleeves and gear bags, the CitySlicker can be customized with different add-on options, colors and comes in three different sizes, all of which were tailored to precisely fit Apple's 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air as well as the new 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. We just so happen to have the CitySlicker designed to fit the 13-inch MacBook Air for this review, but we would imagine that each and every capacity will be no different no matter the size. You'll be looking at spending $129 if you've got an 11-inch MacBook Air, $139 if you've got a 13-inch MacBook Air and $149 if you've got a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, respectively.
Like we mentioned earlier, the CitySlicker can be customized to have an optional leather handle for an additional $10. We think it's a no brainer to add a handle as it really makes a world of a difference in the way you carry around your MacBook with you. It's a heck of a lot more comfortable to carry the CitySlicker by its handle than it is to tuck it under your armpit like a handle-less sleeve of misery. In fact, we think WaterField should have just included a handle in the first place instead of charging extra for it. That said, $10 isn't very much and apparently not everyone's a fan of carry-handles. You'll look and feel like you're on the set of Mad Men though. Of course being that the handle is made out of dual-layered leather, it's stiff when brand new so it does take some breaking-in until it becomes really comfortable to use.
Other optional add-ons include D-rings and a shoulder strap attachment if you'd rather put that weight on your shoulder. It'll cost you upwards of $22.
In many ways the CitySlicker is essentially a revamped SleeveCase designed to have extra storage compartments secretly hidden behind that gorgeous leather flap making it a more practical sleeve case. The CitySlicker is one of the more protective sleeve cases we reviewed. But before we go over what makes it so protective, that leather flap is the first thing you notice about the CitySlicker. It literally dominates the entire sleeve case. The flap is held down by two metal button snaps on either end which are just so enjoyable to use.
WaterField does it right when it uses leather, it picks the highest quality pieces of leather and it certainly shows in the CitySlicker. That leather flap is thick, and I mean really thick with plenty of leather to go around. We think there's a whole cow in here, definitely not suitable if you work at PETA. It's stitched very nicely and has two layers of leather, a black interior and your choice of four different naturally tanned leather colors for the exterior. We've got the Chocolate flavored leather. The distressed leather intentionally scratches and scuffs very easily, taking on that rough wear look over time and will only look better the more you use the CitySlicker. Overall, the quality of craftsmanship here is simply impeccable. Stitching is done right, the leather is top notch and smells amazing and the fit and finish is ridiculously perfect.
Taking a quick look at what's behind the CitySlicker, we see a zippered mesh compartment designed to store a magazine or two. But magazines aren't all that it can store as we found out. The 13-inch and 15-inch CitySlicker sleeve case will have no trouble at all storing your iPad 2 or iPad 3rd Gen with or without a slim case on very snuggly. And that's even when you've fully loaded it with your Mac and accompanied accessories.
Opening up the leather flap will reveal a total of four mesh pockets which are all easily accessible. There are two medium sized pockets good for keeping in a pair on in-ear headphones or an external hard drive and smartphone, a larger sized pocket that's big enough to store your Mac's power adapter but will end up slightly bulging the leather flap, and a small side pocket suitable for keeping in a few pens. Space is limited yes, but on the plus side you end up with a much more compact form of carry that's not too heavy to lug around all day. And if all you're seeking is a sleeve case that has some extra storage capacity for small essentials, this is a great way of going about it. In case you haven't noticed, the only WaterField logo that's visible is hidden behind the leather flap putting the word 'slick' in CitySlicker.
When it comes to protection, the CitySlicker has much to offer. The interior laptop compartment is lined with soft microfiber and lots of padding. Between the MacBook and the outer exterior are three layers of protection including impact resistant plastic stiffeners, padded neoprene that'll do a great job absorbing shock and a padded liner. The front exterior has a durable black nylon material and the bottom is extra padded with neoprene to absorb that extra impact when setting the sleeve case upright on the floor. The amount of padding is amazing and you can feel it right away when you first hold the CitySlicker as it's pretty hefty by itself.
The MacBook Air slides into the CitySlicker top side first. Once inside, the fit is so perfect and snug that even if you don't bother snapping the leather flap closed, your MacBook Air won't slide out all that easily without you pulling it out. Just in case it rains when you're traveling, that leather flap does a very good job completely covering and sealing the MacBook compartment so that it'll be really hard for water to seep in. Naturally, the leather is a great material that repels water.
WaterField has rarely disappointed us. The CitySlicker is yet another example of how brilliant and well put together a laptop case get be. We can highly recommend the CitySlicker to anyone looking for a quality compact leather sleeve case that will offer outstanding protection, essential accessory carry power in a classic briefcase-like elegant style that'll make you grow some extra facial hair. The CitySlicker with a handle makes carrying around the MacBook Air even with an iPad added, something you'd be looking forward to.