Gaming on a laptop is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in thrilling virtual worlds while enjoying the benefits of portability and versatility. Whether you’re cozied up in your favorite coffee shop, chilling with friends at a gaming party, or studying at the local botanical garden (as shown in my photos here), a gaming laptop lets you take your gaming adventures on the road. No more feeling tied down to a stationary gaming setup—laptop gaming lets you explore virtual realms wherever your heart desires.
When it comes to travel, my MacBook Pro is an absolute must-have. It’s not just a productivity powerhouse for tasks like checking emails, lesson planning and composing music – it also doubles as my personal gaming haven when I need a break. Some consider it an extension of the Steam Deck, bringing the immense library of games to their portable productivity device.
To that end, it is important to consider cases for our laptops. My MacBook Pro is easily the most expensive device I use for gaming, and it never leaves the house uncased. In the following review, I will be taking a look at the WaterField Designs Folio Horizontal Laptop Sleeve for the 16″ MacBook Pro.
LOOKS AND QUALITY
Waterfield truly excels in the realm of aesthetics, consistently delivering products of the utmost quality. Each item they create is a testament to their commitment to excellence, utilizing premium materials and showcasing impeccable craftsmanship. The moment you lay your hands on one of their cases, you immediately recognize its exceptional value. While it is true that their products come at a higher price compared to those found in local retail stores, when you take into account the value of safeguarding a potential $3,000+ laptop and the longevity of laptop usage, the investment becomes unquestionably justified.
These cases just get better with time! WaterField uses a waxed canvas or ballistic nylon, which provides years and years of sturdy protection. They pair this with full grain leather which, once it develops a patina, will become darker, smoother, more comfortable to hold, and in my opinion, more attractive. My experience with WaterField goes back a decade, with my first purchase – a CitySlicker case for my Nintendo 3DS. Since then, I have picked up a Vita CitySlicker, a Nintendo Switch CitySlicker, and a Vita limited-rerelease CitySlicker. I can safely say that these cases become even better as they age.
FRONT LEATHER POUCH
The chocolate leather accent serves a dual purpose as a front pocket, offering a single deep pocket along with five inner pockets. The outermost pockets on both sides provide a perfect fit for an iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple Magic Mouse / AirPods, or even an external hard drive. The clever design of the leather main pocket effectively conceals these items from nosy neighbors, ensuring the security of your belongings. Positioned in the center are three pen-size pockets, adding to the organization of the folio.
One of my favorite places to rest my case is on the front passenger seat of my car. Here, I have easy access to my phone, wallet, and writing utensils.
When the main pouch doesn’t contain a laptop, accessing the front pocket and its inner pockets is effortless. However, when a laptop is inserted, they become a bit snug. Nevertheless, even with my relatively large hands, I found no difficulty in accessing the entire leather pocket area. I imagine this would be a bit more difficult if I had ordered the Vertical configuration.
Opposite the leather pocket is a feature found on many WaterField products – a large mesh pouch with a zipper enclosure. The mesh is very stretchy, allowing for storage of bulky items, such as a charging cable and brick or a full-size mouse. I find the best use of it is to hold my Apple Magic Keyboard or extra cables that I might need.
The mesh pouch features a WaterField-branded YKK zipper, which means the zipper mechanism will hold up nicely over the years. YKK adopts the self-locking puller technology in their zippers, which makes it easy to pull and lock without slipping.
The prettiest case in the world isn’t worth buying if it doesn’t keep your laptop safe and secure. Fortunately, this case is up for the job. The WaterField Folio Sleeve is lined with a 4mm shock-absorbing neoprene padding, which creates a slick, cushioned area for your laptop. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that is resistant to water, oil, and heat, making it a good insulator. It’s commonly found in wetsuits, phone cases, mouse pads, and even winter coats. The outer neoprene padding makes it very easy to move your laptop in and out of the case, while at the same time providing a fair amount of protection against bumps.
The stitching and design of the Folio Sleeve’s corners provide additional protection. The corners of my MacBook are rounded, while the corners of this sleeve are squared off. This, combined with WaterField’s heavy stitching provide additional shock protection on the corners of your laptop, which I imagine is where the majority of impacts happens on cases. Again, there is extra peace of mind when you stow your laptop in this sleeve.
The standout feature in terms of protection is one you might not expect. Every laptop case I’ve seen uses a zipper to open and close the main compartment, which means every time you take your laptop out or put it in, it runs the risk of coming into contact with the zipper teeth, scratching your laptop exterior. Rather than follow this trend, the Folio Sleeve stitches two magnetic strips into the main compartment flap. This allows you to open the main compartment silently with one finger, by starting in one corner and simply sliding across. More importantly, it allows you to insert and remove your laptop without it contacting anything metal. This might not be a big deal for some people, but I really like my devices to look new as long as possible, and this case will definitely help in that regard.
Whenever I’m browsing for potential cases or accessories, I always find myself asking one of two questions: “Who was this meant for?” or “What would I use this?” This case is very minimalistic, in that you have room for your laptop, a few things in the leather pocket, and something slightly bulkier in the mesh pocket. For 90% of what I do with my laptop, that’s enough. If you just need a tasteful, protective case to move your laptop from work to home, from your office to the boardroom, or to a hotel for a weekend trip, this case is perfect. If you want an distinguished folio that looks like no other laptop case on the market while providing peace of mind, buy this case. To buy the Folio Sleeve and to see other WaterField products, check out their website.