WaterField Racer-X MacBook Case Review

by Reads (10,205)

by Gerald Edgecomb

WaterField Designs is located in San Francisco where, according to WaterField, “rent is high, labor is expensive and competition is intense.” That really explains WaterField’s outlook, they won’t settle for second best just because it is easier or cheaper. All of their bags are made in San Francisco, so you won’t find mass production or overseas labor here. Their high standards result in a well-built, high quality bag, but it comes at a price. Ranging from $169 to $189 USD the Racer-X is not the cheapest bag on the market, but quality and durability are not free, and WaterField attempts to make sure you get what you pay for by listening to users and designing bags that meet their demands. The Racer-X comes in four sizes to accommodate various Apple portables including the MacBook and MacBook Pro plus the older Powerbook and iBook. It is available in black with several trim colors including blue, black, brown, green, red, and silver, and comes with your choice of a single mountain bike grip or two leather handles.


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Build and Design

WaterField prides themselves on custom designs with the user in mind, and with the Racer-X that philosophy shows. The Racer-X is high-end in and out; you won’t find any cheap parts on this bag. The shell is made of ballistic nylon, and is held together with high quality stitching, giving the bag a sturdy feeling. My model came with a single mountain bike-style handle, but there is a choice for two leather handles if the single handle is not your preference.


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WaterField includes a removable Suspension Shoulder Strap with every Racer-X, which has a rubber pad stitched in the center of the strap, and uses industrial-grade metal to attach it to the bag. The Racer-X has two zippered compartments, one with a plush, padded lining reinforced with a impact-resistant plastic insert that encases the MacBook Pro and another for holding documents and notebooks with smaller pockets for pens and accessories. It also has an additional pocket on the front and back for slipping in things like magazines or papers. Also on the back pocket is a zipper located at the bottom of the bag so it can slip over the handle of a larger, wheeled suitcase.


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In Use

All of this attention to detail becomes apparent when using the Racer-X. Sliding the notebook into the reinforced padded sleeve gives the satisfied feeling that it is well protected against anything that may come your way. Unfortunately, that padding comes at a price: space. The second main pocket will hold a large notebook at most, which will be a problem for students who were hoping to carry books. The pockets in the second section are roomy. I dislike little pockets that no human being can get their hand in, and the good news is you will not find those here. The pockets are a generous size and easy to get things in and out of.


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The shock-absorbing strap is comfortable for walking around, but as with all shoulder bags, my shoulder still fatigues on longer trips across campus. I found that WaterField’s strap was no better or worse than any other I have used. However, the hardware used to connect it to the bag is second to none, and unlike other bags with plastic hardware, I have no fear of it breaking over time.


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Conclusion

Overall, I really enjoy using the Racer-X. WaterField has tried to build a bag that will stand up to the demands of a heavy user, and they have succeeded. The Racer-X is a top of the line bag, and unfortunately with that comes a top of the line price. At $169 to $189, depending on size, it is not a bag for the budget conscious, but for those need a bag that has a high build quality and can withstand the rigors of heavy use, the Racer-X is a great choice.

Pros

  • Excellent notebook protection
  • High build quality
  • Simple design
  • Several trim color choices

Cons

  • No room for large books
  • Not for the budget conscious


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