I'm a new Smart Alec owner and love it with one exception. I wish it had a separate compartment for my laptop, ideally a side entry compartment. I just don't like my laptop floating inside the main compartment with the cache. It's not a protection issue for me. It's an access to the rest of my stuff at the bottom of the bag when the laptop is leaning and blocking everything. I looked on the forums but there didn’t seem to be any discussion so I'm going to list my ideal product and see what everyone else thinks.

The Smart Alec is actually perfect for me sizewise. What I'd like to see is a dedicated, thin, side entry pocket in the back to my laptop in. I have a superthin Dell so I don't need much capacity back there. I also don't like any more padding than the cache. So the pocket could just be slightly padded in the back for comfort and then people could buy the right sized cache to slide in there for protection.

Sadly, I don't think it would be able to accomodate the Brain Cell.

Such a configuration would isolate the laptop and provide better protection. Keeping the rest of the stuff in the bag from knocking into it and keep the laptop from banging around inside the bag. More importantly, for frequent flyers, it would provide much easier access to the laptop for security check. Its much easier to get the laptop out of a side compartment without having to fight everything else piled on top and also prevents spilling other stuff out. With a large, side entry, you could pull out the laptop with the cache for xray.

I'm a bit of a bag junkie so I've pretty looked at all the other options out therre. Timbuk2, Victorinox, Ogio, Arcteryx all have something similar but of course, their stuff isn’t nearly of the same quality. Some of them are really heavy, some of them just use lesser quality materials.

I'm just looking for a zipper on the side seam of the Smart Alec and an extra piece of dyneema fabric as a pocket liner. But again, I have a super thin laptop.

I have a Synapse on order but apparently those aren’t going to be ready until Mar.