The new Ristretto by Tom Bihn is a regularly talked about case made from a strong ballistic 1050 nylon and its stiffness gives it a very structured and detailed look. Great care has been taken in making the bags, and you can see this in the stitching detail; the bag feels really well made, and looks great.
When opened, the Ristretto presents you with an alternative color inside which is refreshing.There are 3 compartments – 2 main foam divided inserts which can give you quick access to a MacBook Air or if you are carrying an iPad (or similar). In terms of these two compartments, the foam divider is very strong. The third compartment is a zipped pocket at the front which, when opened, has pen pockets and room for chargers. The ruggedness gives the Ristretto a divided look, being part “man bag” crossed with “messenger bag”.
The strap is comfortable even when the bag is loaded to the tip with gadgets and the buckle on the front is also very strong. The tight buckle is important for those who like to pack their bags with several gadgets and not have them fall out. Some other bags that we have tested have unreliable buckles that are prone to snapping.
While we never reviewed the first Ristretto, we understand that the bag has been redesigned mainly to adapt the pockets and the way the cover flap works, but if this was indeed a problem previously, this did not ever happen on this updated model.
The bag comes in a choice of color and also other configurations for example with the strap. The ‘standard strap’ and a sturdier ‘absolute” option are a worthy upgrade. The color options are blue, black, steel, and two shades of green. These all come combined with other colors for $125. We recommend this bag for those who want a stylish place to keep their smaller computers (11 inch Airs or iPads) and some smaller accessories. The main attraction to the bag is its stylish design, colorful options, and excellent build quality.