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MacBook 13: Ristretto or Cafe Bag or Imago?

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    MacBook 13: Ristretto or Cafe Bag or Imago?

    Alas, my dinky 12" Mac laptop got dropped on its head over Christmas, thus rendering itself and my matching Brain Cell redundant. (NB it wasn't actually in the Brain Cell at the time, or it would have survived the fall.)

    But - silver lining - now I get to shop for a whole new set-up for my new 13" MacBook. I need a day-bag as well as laptop protection; with the previous computer I always wound up taking a handbag as well as the Brain Cell, which was unwieldy. I'd love to be able to chuck the computer in a single bag and run.

    After poring over the forums and online reviews and product descriptions, I've homed in on the Ristretto or the Large Cafe Bag. NB I like to travel light, but I usually go out with at least two books as well as the laptop (I'm a book reviewer/writer), along with the usual cellphone, lipstick, wee camera, small bar of delicious and sustaining chocolate, etc.

    I loooove the clean, sharp lines of the Ristretto and the Cafe Bag. I'm leaning towards the Large Cafe Bag with a Brain Cell inside it, largely because the Ristretto looks rather small. Question: would the LCB with a Brain Cell still leave me enough room for a couple of books, paperback or hardback? (And am I right in presuming that would be too much to hope to squeeze into a Ristretto?)

    Or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely, and the Imago would be a better bet, even though it's a slouchier, more mellow design?

    Many thanks for input - you guys really know your bags!

    The Ristretto would probably be too small for your computer plus a couple of books. One would probably be OK. I use a Ristretto for my Macbook but I carry only some files and other small stuff with it much of the time. A medium size hardcover book will fit with this as will two paperbacks (not trade size). I can't speak to the other bags. When I need more capacity, I use my ID with brain cell. Hope this helps.


      I've tried to put my macbook in my Imago, but find it a bit too cramped. The computer takes up most of the main section and that's without a case. If all I had to carry was the laptop and a few accessories it might work, but I was trying to carry the laptop and a book and a knitting stuff sack.


        i've carried the macbook in the large cafe bag with a softcell and also in the ristretto. the large cafe bag + softcell will afford you more space than the ristretto.

        looking at the volume of each on the respective product pages, the imago allows you to hold 13.5 liters, the large cafe bag 11 liters, and the ristretto 8 liters. so the imago may be the way to go.

        whichever you go with, i would strongly recommend the absolute shoulder strap.



          I just want to offer my condolences for your 12" Powerbook,my favorite sized MAC ever.

          I have several bags from my 15" Powerbooks and the Macbook really fits in them fairly well.

          I have so far just used them instead of getting new bags,I can not explain this odd behavior really but it is saving me money and brain power trying to decide on a bag.

          Good Luck


            Thank you for all the advice so far - and for the condolences, Ed. It really was the cutest Mac of them all. The new one seems so hulking by comparison.

            It looks like I definitely can't fit a Brain Cell in the large cafe bag, so I might go with the Soft Cell and the Large Cafe Bag and carry it carefully. Thanks for the tip about the ID bag as well. Reckon I'll start small(ish) and work my way up!