I am getting ready to order an Empire Builder. My plan is to order a Brain Cell and Ultimate strap as well. But I'm a little worried about the Brain Cell because I'm so used to using a neoprene cover for my laptop.
I recognize the extra protection of the Brain Cell, and I think that I will appreciate occassionally using the Brain Cell on its own for times I just want my laptop and a few files. But the thing that I like about neoprene sleeves is that I use them as sort of "laptop placemats." That is, when I take my laptop out of it's sleeve, I simply place the laptop on top of the sleeve.
This provides some extra protection against minor spills or a dirty/dusty/wet table. Having the laptop on the sleeve also allows me to keep my laptop on my lap for extended periods without it getting too hot and burning my legs.
I am currently using an IBM ThinkPad T23 with a simple Case Logic zippered neoprene sleeve inside of a laptop messenger bag. I am getting a ThinkPad T43, which has a bigger screen, so my current neoprene sleeve will not fit. If I was to go the neoprene route again, I'd get a Soft Cell and use it like I've been using my current sleeve.
What kind of protection would a Soft Cell inside of an Empire Builder provide?
Like I said, I think the Brain Cell would offer significantly more protection when travelling with the laptop is in it's case (Empire Builder), but I'm a little worried about taking the laptop out of the Brain Cell and being naked! I guess I've been using the sleeve for so long I have come to take it for granted.
Anyone else go through this (switching from using a neoprene sleeve)?
Is the Brain Cell suitable for using as a placemat of sorts? Could you set a laptop on top of the Brain Cell - would it perch there safely? What about on your lap? Does anyone here do this? I'm guessing the Brain Cell a bit bulky for this, but who knows?
I know I'm probably thinking way too much about this, but the idea of using a laptop without some kind of cushion/protection/heat absorber seems foreign to me. I wonder if I could use just one piece of neoprene (like a big mouse pad cut to size) as a layer. Wonder if that would fit with the laptop in a Brain Cell?
Anyway.. thanks for listening... I'm as excited about getting a new bag as I am about getting a new laptop. what a dork....