WaterField Designs Dash Sleeve Review
The WaterField Designs Dash Sleeve is low-profile and professional in both design and colorway, bringing your personality to meetings without going over the top.
- Sleek look for a standalone device sleeve
- Elastic is sturdy and hasn’t loosened
- Padded and fuzzy interior for added protection
- Sizes are specific, so there’s no versatility between models
- Front pocket can struggle with bulky gear
- Large devices can be hard to get in and out
10.5 oz (297.7 g)
10.5 in x 15 in x .75 in (26.7 x 38.1 x 1.9 cm)
Ballistic Nylon, Nylon, YKK Zippers
Laptop Compartment Size
The WaterField Designs Dash Sleeve looks professional, offers quick access to your laptop, and in theory, is a wonderful idea. In this review, we’ll discuss whether or not its open-top styling works in practice or whether our laptop is in danger due to such a small piece of elastic holding everything together. Let’s dive in!
Materials & Aesthetic
The Dash Sleeve we have on hand is crafted from Forza Italian Textile. This material has three colorway options: Forza Green, Forza Blue, and Forza Red. All three are deep colors that look professional but still have a pop of color, which we dig.
What is Forza Italian Textile, you might ask? It’s nylon spun from two different kinds of yarn, giving it a vibrant oval pattern that you can see and feel. Even from a distance, you can tell that the material has a texture to it. It’s substantial and feels similar to the durability of high-denier Cordura.
There’s also a Black colorway that is ballistic nylon instead of Forza, which also looks quite nice. They all have the same WaterField Designs logo patch, elastic strap, and front pocket regardless of which colorway you opt for. Each of these is black, which adds contrast to the deep colorways of the Forza models and offers a nice muted and minimalist look for the Black model.
The logo patch feels like it’s made from hard plastic trying to imitate leather. It looks and feels nice and has held up well so far. Across the front face is WATERFIELD on the top line and MADE IN SAN FRANCISCO on the second line. It’s imprinted on the material, so it doesn’t stand out and isn’t visible from a distance.
There’s only one zipper on this sleeve, a self-locking YKK #5, and it sits on the front pocket. Due to the locking mechanism, the zipper won’t open in your bag, which ensures whatever you put into it stays inside and won’t get lost inside your travel backpack or daypack. It’s worth noting that this isn’t really a security feature, but instead, an addition that enables you to keep everything in the right place.
Generally speaking, the WaterField Designs Dash Sleeve is a sleeve in the most basic sense of the word. You can slide your laptop in and out quickly because the top doesn’t have a latch like a zipper or a hook and loop fastener.
Instead, the sleeve employs a piece of elastic to keep your laptop from falling out. It hasn’t loosened over the last few weeks, and it does its job so long as you have the correct size laptop inside. If it’s even a little larger than the advertised size, it won’t fit. If it’s too small, it runs the risk of falling out completely.
The piece of elastic is placed closer to one side than the other so that larger laptops can slide in and out of the sleeve easily. If it were in the center, larger laptops would struggle to fit, and the elastic would have to be really stretched every time you move it to the side.
The interior is complete with padding and a super-duper-fuzzy material to ensure your laptop makes it safely and comfortably from point A to point B. Have you ever asked your computer what it wants to be wrapped in? We did, and unfortunately, it didn’t answer. But if it had, we would think it would like to be encased in something as fuzzy as the interior of the WaterField Designs Dash Sleeve.
There’s another small logo patch on the interior that indicates that the sleeve was made in San Francisco alongside their website and a number pertaining to the laptop sleeve’s size and model. This is much easier to read than the exterior logo, so we’re happy it’s on the interior as we prefer a clean look.
Usage & Features
All the details we just went over are great, but how well does this thing work in reality? Well, there are a few lines of thinking when it comes to answering that question.
First, if you get the right size for your computer, it works spectacularly. We have the 16″ MacBook Pro version, and although we mainly use it with a 15″ MacBook Pro, it works as expected. There isn’t a 15″ Dash Sleeve, but the 16″ is a great fit.
That said, a 16″ MacBook has a much tighter fit. So much so that it could be challenging to remove the laptop from the sleeve. This isn’t a huge deal, as we’re always able to get it out in the end, but we think it slightly hinders the sleeve.
It’s called a Dash Sleeve for a reason; you’re supposed to be able to use it quickly, hence the lack of a zipper. However, if you have to take 30 seconds to remove your laptop, it slows down access just enough to be a little annoying.
It’s also important to note that smaller items like a 13″ laptop, iPad, or eReader, aren’t a great fit inside the 16″ dash sleeve and can easily fall out. You need to get the correct size because there’s just a small piece of elastic to keep the top closed, and it’s placed near the edge of the opening. Granted, WaterField Designs sells different Dash Sleeve models for different size devices, but it’s worth mentioning that you sacrifice a little versatility without a zipper.
The material is a little tighter to your tech for larger items like a 15″ or 16″ MacBook Pro, so odds are it wouldn’t slide out even if there wasn’t elastic keeping it there. It isn’t so tight for smaller items, so it’s easy for things to tumble out. Because of this, we highly recommend sticking to the correct size.
It’s also important to note that the sleeve comes in more than one orientation. We have the horizontal model, which has an opening that runs longways across the wide edge of the sleeve. There’s also a vertical model with a shorter opening that runs across the narrower edge. Depending on your use case, you may prefer one over the other.
Now that we’ve covered stowing your laptop away, where do the rest of your goodies go? Well, there’s only one other place, and we mentioned it earlier—the elastic front pocket.
It’s made from a stretchy mesh elastic material that bounces back quickly and holds even smaller gear pretty tightly. There’s more than enough room here for a laptop charger and a few other doodads. There’s not enough room for storing gear that allows you to spend an entire day working at a coffee shop, as larger items like a laptop charger and cell phone take up most of the space.
The mesh stretches enough to fit oddball items or if you have a larger charging brick or folding water bottle like the Platypus DuoLock SoftBottle, which is positive, but it can make the exterior look a little funky if you are carrying it by itself. If worst comes to worst, just flip the sleeve around to the other side and show the world the clean side with the logo patch on it instead of the pocket.
Another important note about the sleeve is in reference to its water resistance. The sleeve as a whole isn’t a great option for rainy days as it doesn’t close on the top, but if you were to spill on one of the corners or the top and act quickly, everything inside the main compartment should be just fine. If you spill on the mesh pocket, there isn’t anything protecting whatever you have inside from liquids. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it’s important to note.
Overall, the WaterField Designs Dash Sleeve looks nice and performs well, though it’s imperative to pay attention to the size of your device when choosing which one to buy. The colors add a little bit of flair to a professional sleeve that looks just as comfortable in a meeting as it does at a hip cafe and bistro near your Airbnb.
- Feels pretty much tailor-made for the MacBook models
- Small elastic strap looks simple, but it’s effective
- Front pocket has some stretch for slim accessories like Apple’s Magic mouse
- Exterior looks brand new
- No loose threads or abrasions
- Material is easy to clean