Review: Tom Bihn eM²

by on April 18, 2005

After getting everything set up with our Mac mini, we’ve found that it is highly portable, although you do need to have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at your destination. Short of throwing the mini and its AC adapter into a backpack naked, there’s not much else to carry it with…or is there?

We had the chance to check out the eM² by Tom Bihn. The eM² is a padded case specially designed for the Mac mini. It’s available in a plethora of colors and does not add significant bulk to the mini (a .25″ layer of padding, to be exact). Also featured are a splash-resistant zipper, handles, and a side pocket, which can be used for the AC adapter, a mouse, some CDs, or other accessories. The case, which resembles a school lunch-box, can be used by itself, with one of Tom Bihn’s bags, or some other larger bag. The Tom Bihn web site also suggests that it “makes a sporty, albeit expensive, Bento Box as well.”

eM2
eM² + mini

eM2
eM²

eM2
eM² Zippers and Handle

Why would the average user spend $40 on a case for a desktop? The mini is a very portable desktop. Since replacing the iBook G3 with the mini, I’ve used it for the commute to and from the office.

I also found that the eM² would be perfect for travel. It’s much more elegant than using the original container from Apple. I also take the mini home and use it with my family’s G4 desktop’s monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

So, why should one put the mini in the case? Just like a laptop, it can be damaged by shocks and drops, and there are parts of the case that are easily scratched.

The zipper is good, too—it’s a lot like the zipper found on Axio’s Hybrid, although a lot smaller and glides much easier. The bag is not waterproof (your mini can’t swim anyway), but the zipper is splash-proof (so you could take it in the snow or light rain).

The pocket on the back is pretty handy. It will stretch to hold the AC adapter, although we really would’ve liked to have an inner pocket for the AC adapter (even if it would’ve added some bulk to the case). Of course, for those using a larger bag with the eM² won’t really need to worry about that.

There are two small rings for use with a shoulder strap. This is useful for people who have a lot of smaller bags to carry or are carrying the mini with video equipment. You can use the eM² in any of Tom Bihn’s other bags, such as the Brain Bag.

Our only gripe is that the eM² will only hold a Mac mini and the AC adapter (although that is a tight squeeze). This case is more like laptop sleeves, as it is best used inside of another bag.

Finally, it’s worth reiterating that the eM² is a very well-made case. We also found (as many other reviewers) the somewhat famous note on the care label.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

The eM² is an excellent and stylish case to carry your mini around without having to worry about damage.

Pros: Well-padded, quality construction, pocket for AC adapter

Cons: Holds barely more than the mini and AC adapter

The Facts

4.5/5Product: eM²
Company: Tom Bihn
Platform: Mac mini
Price: $40

This post has been filed in Mac mini and Reviews