Even the humble laptop case is not immune from fashion envy. For many laptop users, the form of their machines is as important (if not more so) than the function, and there's no reason their carrying cases should be any different. When it comes to standing out from the corporate crowd, we've seen no better laptop case then the Vaja Messenger Slim. Vaja makes hand-crafted custom leather cases for a variety of products, from iPods to mobile phones. Like most of the company's products, the $230 Vaja Messenger Slim is available in dozens of color combinations and is made to order in Argentina, so expect it to take a couple of weeks if you order one.
Our biggest disappointment in the Vaja Messenger Slim is that it's made only for MacBooks. We tested the 13-inch case and found that a 13-inch MacBook fit snugly inside, but a slightly larger 13-inch Windows laptop wouldn't fit. A smaller ultraportable model would fit, but the bag is clearly designed for one specific system. Vaja also makes a case for the Sony VAIO TR series of laptops and has a few other styles that will work with 17-inch MacBooks.
The bag measures 15 inches long by 11 inches wide by 2.5 inches deep. The main compartment is has a durable fabric lining embossed with a pattern of tiny Vaja logos. A front flap hangs over this, with no buttons, zippers, or clasps, similar to a messenger bag flap. With our MacBook inside, there's little room in the main compartment for papers or accessories. Additional pockets under the front flap and on the rear of the case are large enough for papers, magazines, or a MacBook power supply, but the pockets are not especially roomy, keeping with the case's slim profile.
The shoulder strap is narrow, but made of the same rich leather, giving a comfortably padded feel. Our only complaint about the strap is that it doesn't have enough holes for the belt-style clasp, and it feels too long, even at its shortest length. We'd hate to have to take an awl to the strap to make more holes.
Despite the space limitations, high price, and MacBook-only design, the Vaja Messenger Slim is the nicest laptop case we've seen to date, and it generated more than its share of envious stares.