Think Tank Photo “My 2nd Brain” Review – by John Lill

John LillJohn Lill is a twenty year veteran photographer who has worked in varied assignments all around the world including the White House during the Bush and Obama administrations. He has served as lead photographer aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) managing 35 junior photographers and most recently, USS Makin Island (LHD 8), which is known as the Navy’s largest hybrid powered vessel. John currently resides in Seattle, WA serving as a Public Affairs Officer for the Navy and covers the local music scene as a freelance photojournalist.

Think Tank Photo recently introduced a new line of bags designed not for your camera, but for your computing needs, more specifically, your Mac-centric computing needs. They call it “My 2nd Brain” and it comes in four different sizes with three color options; black, harbor blue and green mist. The model I was sent is their largest, designed for the 15” Mac Book Pro, but they have other sizes which will accommodate an iPad and iPhone, the 13” Pro, the Mac Book Air and the 11” Mac Book Air.

Think Tank My 2nd Brain

The exterior appears very minimalist in design and function, almost as if its purpose was to hold just the laptop but when you begin to open up the YKK zippered compartments, you start to think, “what else can I put in here?”

The largest of the bags, the M2B15, which sounds like a character from Star Wars, is designed to hold your laptop, iPad and iPhone along with all the cords, accessories and power packs that Apple would ship with their products with additional room to spare.

The iPad compartment is located in front and is sized just for the iPad by itself but has soft materials so as not to scratch or harm your tablet. It will fit with one of Apple’s Smart Covers but nothing thicker. I regularly use a leather portfolio to carry my iPad around but was forced to remove it and replace with a smart cover to make it work. This was not a deal breaker for me. An alternative storage solution is to use the document sleeve in the back of the bag, which places it along the laptop so it is rigid and flat.  This section is wide enough to support a folio case.

Think Tank My 2nd Brain

Think Tank My 2nd Brain

The iPhone compartment, which can handle all generations of the iPhone is nice to have if you want to be completely be device free like in an airport security screening. Personally, I tend to keep my phone on me so in the future I might find a different use for this compartment.

Think Tank My 2nd Brain

Once loaded up and placed on my shoulder, my first thought was that I wished I had a Mac Air as my 15” Pro with disc drive suddenly felt heavier than I had anticipated on the shoulder. It wasn’t the fault of the bag design but with an iPad and all accessories in the bag in such a compact form, I was reminded of the behemoth laptops of yesteryear. I felt that if Think Tank came up with a backpack strap accessory like they did with the urban disguise camera bag, it would be perfect for commuting by foot or on a bike. To be clear, I experimented by attaching their Shoulder Harness v2.0 but it didn’t fit quite right with the d-ring placement on this bag.  It forced it to sit much lower on my back than it should. In its current form, it works perfectly for short distances like walking from the parking lot into an office or around a college campus.

Think Tank My 2nd Brain

Think Tank My 2nd Brain

Here’s everything I was able to get into this bag.

Think Tank My 2nd Brain
Apple MacBook Pro 15″ with protective skin and power cord
Apple iPad
iPod Classic
iPhone 5 w/ powerd cord
Buffalo 1TB Thunderbolt Portable Drive with cable
Think Tank Photo Pee Wee Pixel Pocket Rocket (To hold memory cards)
Lexar USB3.0 Card Reader and cable
Sony RX100 (not pictured)
Micro-Fiber cloth
Think Tank Red Whips
Business Cards
– Pen

PROS:
– Designed to hold everything Apple makes for the portable MAC user.
– Slim design
– Quality build
– Water Resistant

CONS:
– A bit dense when fully loaded
– The designated iPad compartment can only hold the ipad. It would be best placed closer to the laptop.

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT:

A backpack or sling strap accessory could improve long-term usefulness.

IN SUMMARY: Custom designed for the MAC fanatic who wants a catchall bag for all of their devices. A happy medium between Think Tank’s Shape Shifter Camera Backpack and their Artificial Intelligence laptop sleeve.

Here are the tech specs and materials directly from Think Tank’s site:

Gear Profile:

Fits 15” Macbook Pro® + any iPad + iPhone, power supply w/ AC cable, portable drives, network cables, USB hub and connection cable, earbuds, monitor adapters, memory cards, pens, business cards, and other small items.

Technical Specifications:

  • Exterior Dimensions: 10.2” W x 14.8” H x 2.6” D (26 x 37.5 x 6.5 cm)
  • iPad pocket: 8.3” W x 11″ H x 0.8” D (21 x 28 x 2 cm)
  • Laptop compartment: 9.8″ W x 14.3″ H x 1.4″ D (25 x 36.3 x 3.5 cm)
  • Weight w/ all accessories: 1.5 lbs (0.7 kg)

Materials:

Exterior: Durable water-resistant fabric, plus fabric underside has a polyurethane coating for superior water-resistance. YKK® RC Fuse zippers, nickel-plated metal hardware with brushed aluminum finish, 420D velocity nylon and 600D brushed Polyester, dual-cross buckle, herringbone webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.

Interior: 210D silver-toned nylon lined, Nylex lined iPhone and iPad pockets, clear mesh pockets, 150D hexa mesh pockets, closed-cell antilon foam, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.

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