Review: Tom Bihn Monolith
Protecting a laptop is an excellent idea, but a stand-alone laptop case can be dropped and makes an excellent target for thieves. Also, putting a laptop in a backpack without any protection can be dangerous to the laptop. To solve this problem, Tom Bihn introduced the Monolith, a sturdy laptop case that will fit into almost any backpack easily and securely.
The Monolith costs $45, but is well worth the price. Containing 8mm thick padding reinforced by 4mm of corrugated plastic, the Monolith provides all the protection needed in a laptop case. A sturdy zipper adorns the top of the case. Underneath this zipper is more padding, so the laptop is protected on all sides. Altogether, the laptop should be protected from all but the most major abuse.
Monolith + iBook + TerraGrip
The Monolith comes in four different sizes to hold a variety of laptops. And because of the vertical format, even the larger sizes will still fit in most backpacks. The Monolith works especially well with Tom Bihn’s very own Smart Alec and Brain Bag, as it has two loops in the back for attachment to these bags.
Obviously, the Monolith is not meant for horizontal use. If you are looking for something that works with a messenger bag or briefcase and still provides protection, the similarly-priced Brain Cell is a better choice.
If you decide not to put the Monolith in a backpack, you can carry it using the provided handles or purchase a shoulder strap for it. Just like for the Brain Cell, three different straps are available; the Simple for $10, the TerraGrip for $18, and the Absolute for $25. Also, the Monolith comes in five cool colors: Solid Black, Crimson, Steel, Deep Blue, and Wasabi.
We tried the Monolith with an iBook G4, both by itself and in a backpack. The iBook was held in tightly, and the soft padding prevented it from being scratched or damaged. This sleeve also made a good alternative to the stock sleeve in Axio’s Hybrid pack.
Overall, we were highly impressed by the Monolith. Its versatility and durability make it a must buy for anyone needing a good, simple laptop case.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The Monolith is a compact, well-made case in a handy vertical format.
Pros: Highly durable, convenient vertical format, and a lifetime guarantee
Cons: No storage pockets, price a bit high for what most will use as a sleeve