Review: Racer-X laptop bag by WaterField Designs - Macenstein

Review: Racer-X laptop bag by WaterField Designs


Pretty much the only exercise I have been unable to eliminate from my sedentary lifestyle is carrying my 20-pound “man purse” to and from work. Inside it are a slew of useless things I do not need, yet for some reason, no matter how often I empty it, the bag just doesn’t seem to get any lighter. This problem is compounded by the fact that my newly purchased MacBook has added another 5 lbs to the equation, and there really isn’t a safe home for it inside the belly of that monster.

Above: The challenge – Can the Racer-X (right) take on my ridiculously over-stuffed bag?

So began my quest for a new bag capable of safely managing both my new laptop and my impressive collection of crap. I ended up turning to the folks over at WaterField Designs, who time and again had impressed me with their case designs for Apple products ranging from the obscure Apple iPod Hi-Fi to the ubiquitous iPhone.

With their help, I decided on their Racer-X bag. Coming in at about 1/3 the size of my current bag, it looked like a promising candidate to help me get my life back in order (and my bag’s weight down to a more reasonable level).


The Racer-X is a briefcase-style of case, designed for the professional or frequent traveler who needs to provide a high degree of protection to their laptop while still being able to carry along a wide variety of laptop essentials. The bag is divided into two zippered compartments. First up is the laptop compartment which delivers near-hardcase protection via layers of plush neoprene, foam and impact-resistant plastic. Despite the strength, the compartment pampers your laptop, snugly enveloping it in a form-fitting plush material. When ordering your bag, you choose a size based on the size of your laptop (12-inch, 13-inch, 15-inch, or 17-inch sizes are available). Because of this tailored fit, the Racer-X really seems to suck your laptop in and hold it tight, while at the same time, the smooth padded surface makes it easy to remove your laptop as well.


The second half of the case is made up of a larger, golden-lined section containing an area large enough to hold folders, notebooks, magazines, etc, as well as five pockets of various sizes. Two of the pockets are padded, and great for storing iPods, iPhones, or an extra laptop battery. Two similar sized ones on the back of the exterior wall are unpadded, and I carry my MacBook’s power adapter in one, and wallet in the other. A much smaller 5th pocket can be found on the back wall of one of the padded pockets, and it’s the perfect size for the MacBook’s remote.

On both the front and back of the case are open-topped pockets ideal for holding the latest issue of your favorite Mac magazine (we recommend Mac|Life). The one on the back of the case has a zipper along the bottom which allows you to slide the Racer-X over the handle of a suitcase as you roll through the airport. This is a nice touch, but something I will likely never use until Macenstein opens a second lab in Amsterdam. 🙂

A quality removeable/adjustable leather-padded strap rounds out the list of features of the case, and is one of the more comfortable I’ve felt. If the strap isn’t your thing, when ordering the Racer-X you have a choice of either a traditional dual leather or a “mountain bike sport grip” type of handle. I opted for the mountain bike grip, and recommend it for anyone who plans to carry their case by the handle for prolonged periods.

Above: The Racer-X’s “Mountain bike” handle.

Like all of WaterField’s bags I’ve tested, the Racer-X is rock-solid – every seam, zipper, hook, handle, and pocket is thoughtfully designed and built with quality. This is important to me as I have a tendency to overstuff and abuse my bags (as evidenced above) and zippers and seams in particular have a way of falling apart under my version of “normal wear and tear”. Granted, I’ve only had the Racer-X for a little over 3 weeks, but I’m fairly confident it will be years before this thing starts to show it’s age.

Above: The Racer-X comes in your choice of 6 trim colors: Green, Brown, Red, Silver, Blue, and Black (not shown)


Despite its compact size, I’ve found the Racer-X can hold pretty much everything of value I’ve been lugging around in my old, beat up juggernaut of a bag, and I don’t feel like I’ve been forced to give up anything (except the extra weight). Costing between $169-$189 (depending on size) and available in 6 different trim color choices, the Racer-X isn’t the cheapest laptop bag you could find this holiday season, but if you love your laptop, your laptop will love the Racer-X.

Racer-X laptop bag by WaterField Designs

Pros: Professional looking, complete laptop protection, can hold pretty much any laptop accessories you can think of, and then some, multiple sizes/colors available

Cons: Non significant

3 Responses to “Review: Racer-X laptop bag by WaterField Designs”
  1. kim says:

    you guys turned me on to waterfield with your iphone case review (which i love!). i’ll definitely check them out when my new mbp arrives!

  2. Alexander says:

    That looks pretty sweet, although a little too corporate for me (i’m 20, though). I like the bike handle. I can’t believe you carried that other bag around. you must have a strong back!

  3. Jett says:

    I LOVE IT! I just ordered the green one for my husband for xmas. He is going to flip! He is an avid biker and he takes he laptop to work everyday so he will love the bike handle. Thank you so much for this post. He is so hard to buy for and the Racer-X is absolutley perfect. (He will love the name too.) By the way, the customer service when I ordered and emailed a question was amazing too.

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