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So disappointed.... Brain Cells no longer available

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    #16
    Plus one here for disappointed. I, too, discovered Tom Bihn because of the Brain Cell, originally for a 15" Titanium PowerBook G4, and bought the Brain Bag to go with it. Switched to a vertical BC during the years of the 17" MacBook Pros. Lean times came, forcing me to delay a laptop upgrade by a couple of years; and when I finally did upgrade to a 2015 15" Retina MBP, I felt I had to play cheap with the case, and just squeezed it into the old Brain Cell I still had, even if it did bend the 6mm padded sides outward in order to fit.

    Recently, toward the end of a very grueling international move, my Brain Bag slipped my tired grip and fell a few feet onto pavement, including that expensive MBP. The corner of the lid took a hit, and the ill-fitting Brain Cell saved the day… mostly. The damage was only cosmetic, just a few, hardly-noticable millimeters of blunting on the rounded aluminum corner. An optimist might say that the neoprene suspension prevented worse from happening. A pessimist might say the too-tight fit left the corners extra vulnerable, sticking out beyond the corrugated plastic shell, where the (Cache-quality) foam alone failed to absorb the whole impact and left a mark. I see either argument as being in favor of the (correct-sized) Brain Cell, with the added layers of protection that provides over a mere Cache.

    Now I'm looking to buy a proper-fitting sleeve, and I'm shocked and saddened to see that the Brain Cell is no longer an option. Maybe it hasn't kept up with the times… no rails, not security checkpoint friendly, not so many Bihn bags will accommodate it inside…? But that superior protection is what drew me to Tom Bihn, and seeing it discontinued is honestly making me consider what's beyond Tom Bihn.

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      #17
      I know this is an old post, but are there any updates on a new Brain Cell? I've been waiting for years...
      There are only 3 kinds of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who can't.

      Proud Owner of: Aeronaut, Empire Builder, PC Flyer, Tri-Star, 3 Absolute shoulder straps, 2 Freudian slips, Braincell, and many various pouches and packing cubes...

      Comment


        #18
        Originally posted by mruseless View Post
        I know this is an old post, but are there any updates on a new Brain Cell? I've been waiting for years...
        I haven't heard anything, but we can tag Darcy for more info.

        I know that they show up on eBay frequently.
        I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

        Comment


          #19
          Originally posted by mruseless View Post
          I know this is an old post, but are there any updates on a new Brain Cell? I've been waiting for years...
          I'm afraid they are gone for good.

          I'm one of those who found their way to Tom Bihn via the Brain Cell/Smart Alec combination. At that point I had a damaged MacBookPro which had been bent in my Backpack due to overpacking and was looking for a more save and at the same time practical solution.

          I bought the Brain Cell and the Smart Alec and never regretted it.
          I used and am still using a brain cell successfully with all my MacBook models and it has saved them during several falls where I for instance landed on my back and had groceries (hard things like cans and glass bottles) packed in front of the Brain Cell.

          I do have long commutes using public transportation and I transport my very expensive Laptop only in a Brain Cell. Since they were retired and I was not able to buy one for my 13" MacBook Air (I had only 15" models before) I use my 15" size 4Z Brain Cell with a 13" cache stuffed inside, which works fine.

          BTW, you can use a Size 4Z Brain Cell in a Synapse 25 by clipping it to the two O-Rings on the back side with double carabiners. It also keeps the backpack upright without needing an internal frame. I did do that for several years.

          The best combination however is with the Annex Clips in the Smart Alec, which is why I returned to that Backpack model.

          It's a shame the Brain Cells got retired. A cache offers not the same protection by far.

          There are some old models sold at eBay from time to time.


          Comment


            #20
            That's too bad. I've used my Brain Cell (don't remember the exact size, but it's for a 13" Macbook Pro) for many different computers. I was really hoping to buy another one to go with a new 16" Macbook Pro but looks like I'll have to find another vendor. I don't understand why they would discontinue it permanently, unless of course it didn't sell well. Hard to believe considering the incredible protection it provides.

            I wonder if they are aware the web page for the Brain Cell still states that it's being redesigned? The language they use is a little slippery, could mean they aren't bringing it back, and it's been years so I think you are correct.
            Last edited by mruseless; 11-14-2021, 11:06 AM.
            There are only 3 kinds of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who can't.

            Proud Owner of: Aeronaut, Empire Builder, PC Flyer, Tri-Star, 3 Absolute shoulder straps, 2 Freudian slips, Braincell, and many various pouches and packing cubes...

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by mruseless View Post
              ...I wonder if they are aware the web page for the Brain Cell still states that it's being redesigned? The language they use is a little slippery, could mean they aren't bringing it back, and it's been years so I think you are correct.
              I don't know. Maybe oversight or wanting to keep options open.

              All the hard shell sleeves with good protection I found when I looked some time ago were to bulky and had a zipper all around. None could be kept in the bag and opened on top to get your laptop out.
              I'm alright with my old Brain Cell for the moment but let me know if you find a good alternative.


              Comment


                #22
                Originally posted by mruseless View Post
                I know this is an old post, but are there any updates on a new Brain Cell? I've been waiting for years...
                Originally posted by Kanne View Post

                I'm afraid they are gone for good.

                I'm one of those who found their way to Tom Bihn via the Brain Cell/Smart Alec combination. At that point I had a damaged MacBookPro which had been bent in my Backpack due to overpacking and was looking for a more save and at the same time practical solution.

                I bought the Brain Cell and the Smart Alec and never regretted it.
                I used and am still using a brain cell successfully with all my MacBook models and it has saved them during several falls where I for instance landed on my back and had groceries (hard things like cans and glass bottles) packed in front of the Brain Cell.

                I do have long commutes using public transportation and I transport my very expensive Laptop only in a Brain Cell. Since they were retired and I was not able to buy one for my 13" MacBook Air (I had only 15" models before) I use my 15" size 4Z Brain Cell with a 13" cache stuffed inside, which works fine.

                BTW, you can use a Size 4Z Brain Cell in a Synapse 25 by clipping it to the two O-Rings on the back side with double carabiners. It also keeps the backpack upright without needing an internal frame. I did do that for several years.

                The best combination however is with the Annex Clips in the Smart Alec, which is why I returned to that Backpack model.

                It's a shame the Brain Cells got retired. A cache offers not the same protection by far.

                There are some old models sold at eBay from time to time.

                Welcome to the forums, Kanne I’m afraid that you’re correct about the Brain Cells being gone for good. They showed up on the Recently Retired and Soon-To-Be Retired Designs thread in 08-07-2017, but most of them were already sold out by mid 2016 following the discussion in the something discontinued thread of 04-08-2016. (You’ll note that I quoted and summarized information that had appeared earlier under the Just for Registered Users section of the forum — this section is only visible to registered users who log in (like yourself, now), and sometimes includes early heads ups on some of these decisions).

                You can read some more of the related discussion in Is there a replacement for the 13" Brain Cell? (but use the links given above to reference the appropriate threads, since the reindexing that accompanied the upgrade of the forum to vBulletin 5 in the Spring scrambled all those links). You can currently still buy Annex Clips from Parts (They also used to come attached to the webbing loops of earlier Tom BIHN bags designed to work with the Brain Cells, and also with earlier accessories like (now-retired) THE GUIDE'S PACK, LEADS POCKET which used Coyote Annex Clips — extra cool if you wanted to attach items to the outside attachment points of various Guide’s Edition backpacks and match the Coyote trim).

                The last vertical Brain Cells did match the 15” Retina MacBook Pros, but you’re correct that you can adapt an earlier 4Z Brain Cell (or a 4X Brain Cell which was for a slightly thinner model 15” Mac laptop) to hold other models. This would likely work for the new 14” Macs, but not the 16” models.The 6Z sizes worked for a number of 13” and 14” computers.

                HTH

                moriond

                ETA: Thought I would add a link to Goldilocks Brain Cell size Question from 02-24-2017 as an example of how the 6Z Brain Cell fit laptops like the Lenovo X1 Carbon at that time. tpnl was a real fan of the Brain Cells, and could give very detailed answers to fits for various PC models, including the Lenovo series, when he was around as a mod.





                Last edited by moriond; 11-14-2021, 12:23 PM.

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                  #23
                  I'm so bummed about this. I haven't found anything that will work and protect as well as the Brain Cell for a 16" Macbook Pro. I'll keep looking, since they are brand new maybe other manufacturers haven't released cases yet. I'm also looking into DIY-ing something using canvas, closed cell foam, and kydex for corner protection. If I go that route I'm sure it will turn out pretty ugly
                  There are only 3 kinds of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who can't.

                  Proud Owner of: Aeronaut, Empire Builder, PC Flyer, Tri-Star, 3 Absolute shoulder straps, 2 Freudian slips, Braincell, and many various pouches and packing cubes...

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by mruseless View Post
                    I'm so bummed about this. I haven't found anything that will work and protect as well as the Brain Cell for a 16" Macbook Pro. I'll keep looking, since they are brand new maybe other manufacturers haven't released cases yet. I'm also looking into DIY-ing something using canvas, closed cell foam, and kydex for corner protection. If I go that route I'm sure it will turn out pretty ugly
                    I hear you.
                    Last edited by Kanne; 11-17-2021, 06:38 PM.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Originally posted by mruseless View Post
                      I'm so bummed about this. I haven't found anything that will work and protect as well as the Brain Cell for a 16" Macbook Pro. I'll keep looking, since they are brand new maybe other manufacturers haven't released cases yet. I'm also looking into DIY-ing something using canvas, closed cell foam, and kydex for corner protection. If I go that route I'm sure it will turn out pretty ugly
                      Try using a size 4Z Vertical Brain Cell which should just fit the 2019 and 2021 16” MacBooks. My 4X is a better fit to the 15” MacBooks (very similar to the 15” MacBook Brain Cell dimensions, but thicker). The 4Z gives you an extra 0.2” in each of the tightest fit directions

                      The 2021 16” MBP specs are: Height 0.66 inch (1.68 cm) Width: 14.01 inches (35.57 cm) Depth: 9.77 inches (24.81 cm)

                      from the Wanted: Horizontal Brain Cell 4X Size thread:

                      Originally posted by moriond View Post
                      Do you have one of the older 15.4" MacBook Pros? Because the size 4x Horizontal Brain Cell was originally designed for those models. Here are the specs for the 4x Brain Cell vs. the current 4z model:
                      • The Size 4X Horizontal Brain Cell has interior dimensions of approximately 14.1 × 9.6 × 0.9 inches (358 × 244 × 24 mm), exterior dimensions of approximately 14.7 × 11.9 × 2.0 inches (373 × 301 × 51 mm)
                      • The Size 4Z Horizontal Brain Cell has interior dimensions of approximately 14.3 × 9.8 × 0.9 inches (364 × 249 × 24 mm), exterior dimensions of approximately 15.0 × 12.1 × 2.3 inches (380 × 307 × 58 mm)


                      I recall seeing this (unanswered) post from ncb4. Supposedly, the Mid-2009 model 15" MacBook Pros took the size 4z Brain Cell that is currently manufactured, but she was using the size 4x that was first produced in early 2006 (when they still offered a range of colors). Also, AFAIK, the size 4z Horizontal Brain Cell was never spec'd to fit in the ID Bag (on the Product pages), although size 4x was, despite the only 0.3" difference in length. Maybe Darcy can shed some insight on this. Also, maybe Nancy still has the horizontal size 4x Brain Cell?

                      I have a vertical size 4x Brain Cell (in wasabi), but I can't help you out with your request for a horizontal size 4x Brain Cell.

                      moriond
                      Here are quick pictures of the 2019 16” MacBook Pro in my 4X vertical Brain Cell (sorry — I only had 1 minute to borrow the laptop from someone for the picture)
                      16” MacBook 2019 in size 4X Braincell
                      it goes all the way to the top, but you can adjust the Velcro on the bottom a bit (I didn’t have any time to do this). The 4Z would give you 0.2” more at the top and sides. Maybe another forum member who has both a 16” laptop and a 4Z Brain Cell can take a picture.

                      See also the description in Brain Cell for 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina in a shell case for description of tightness of fit.

                      moriond

                      ETA: the dimensions should work for the vertical Brain cell

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Thanks moriond! I'll keep checking eBay, right now there are several Brian Cells but all say size "15".
                        There are only 3 kinds of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who can't.

                        Proud Owner of: Aeronaut, Empire Builder, PC Flyer, Tri-Star, 3 Absolute shoulder straps, 2 Freudian slips, Braincell, and many various pouches and packing cubes...

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by mruseless View Post
                          Thanks moriond! I'll keep checking eBay, right now there are several Brian Cells but all say size "15".
                          I think one of those 15” vertical Brain Cells is probably the one for the 15” MacBook Brain Cell released around 2015. That size is about as tall as the size 4X Brain Cell in my picture but is designed for something like 0.7” rather than 0.9” and would be difficult to fit a 16” laptop. I have that size Brain Cell, too. It’s really hard to find exact specs for both interior and exterior Brain Cell sizes anymore. Even though the post I quoted was for Horizontal 4X and 4Z Brain Cells, they apply to the Vertical 4X and 4Z Brain Cell dimensions that were once available. The 4Z was a fairly popular size, and it’s possible that the “15 inch” Brain Cells in older bags like the Empire Builders might really be size 4Z horizontal Brain Cells in some cases. (The recent 15 inch MacBook Brain Cells show “15” on the interior tag, but I don’t know what older Brain Cells from different years might show).

                          Good Luck!

                          moriond

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Originally posted by mruseless View Post
                            Thanks moriond! I'll keep checking eBay, right now there are several Brian Cells but all say size "15".
                            In addition to what moriond said, you could always ask the seller to take & post photos with a tape measure sticking out of the Brain Cell in all three dimensions
                            I like all the blues and greys...and all the happy citrus colours too! My search unicorn is the Sapphire Dyneema original Small Shop Bag...

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Good idea!
                              There are only 3 kinds of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who can't.

                              Proud Owner of: Aeronaut, Empire Builder, PC Flyer, Tri-Star, 3 Absolute shoulder straps, 2 Freudian slips, Braincell, and many various pouches and packing cubes...

                              Comment


                                #30
                                I have a Brain Bag with a snap-in brain cell/monolith, I forget what they were called back then. I make computer buying decisions based on what will fit. The snap version was discontinued like 20 years ago so I wasn't wasn't all that heartbroken when the non snap version was discontinued.

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