Back to the office? This laptop briefcase bag is premium but practical


man with a leather laptop case over his shoulder

Somewhere between a laptop case and a messenger bag, Harber calls this a laptop briefcase.

Image: Mary Branscombe

If you’re venturing back to the office for a couple of days a week, you might be looking for a new laptop bag that’s not the usual backpack: something with lots of compartments for all the cables, chargers, power banks and pens you want to carry between your home office and your occasional work desk. 

Or if you’re back doing the full commute, you might want to make it more bearable with something more efficient.

If you want to splurge on something premium, capacious but also practical, Harber London’s Everyday Leather Briefcase is all of those – but you are going to pay premium, Apple-level prices, at £349 for the style that takes a 15″ or 16″ laptop. (There’s a smaller bag designed for 13″ and 14″ laptops but it’s the same price.)

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What you’re paying for here is the materials and quality, and you get a practical design as well. The leather is both soft and sturdy and, while it will probably show a little wear over time, it’s still going to look good and give you many years of travel. This can easily outlast many laptops.

It’s also surprisingly capacious for something so slim and compact: we were able to fit in a 15″ Surface Book 3, a Surface Laptop Studio and a Surface Pro X at the same time, so a laptop and iPad will fit easily.

Three laptops seen in the Harber briefcase

The Surface Book 3, Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Pro X fit neatly into the padded pockets.

Image: Mary Branscombe

The interior has multiple pockets made out of sturdy cotton twill. Haber has added more padding and switched out the style of the internal compartments from previous designs, leaving more room for your laptops and making them more protected. On one side there are two deep pockets, both padded, that can take a laptop and iPad side by side, with a snap-on leather strap to hold them in place so you can reach down to the two stretchy mesh pockets that are large enough for your charger, power cable or anything else you don’t want loose in the bottom.

interior pockets

There are extra pockets on the side of both the laptop pockets: these two are stretchy to contain untidy things like chargers and power cables.

Image: Mary Branscombe

On the other side is another deep pocket, also with padding, and this has a magnet to hold it closed. Reach down and there are three flat pockets (small, medium and large) with a broad leather strap sewn over the outside and attached at varying intervals so you can tuck pens, cables and other smaller accessories in neatly.  

a Surface pen and USBC cable in organizer pockets

Keep cables and pens organized or stuff them into the pockets.

Image: Mary Branscombe

There’s also a keyring with a metal clip and a leather fob that rotates if you just want to pull it to a more convenient angle to unclip your keys, or a magnet that lets you detach it and then snap it back into place. This is secure; it’s not going to unsnap by accident. But you have to rotate it to pull it off and it is fiddly until you work it out.

If you’re also back to long-distance travel, the briefcase has an extra strap on the back that lets you slide it over the handle of a suitcase or carry-on. If you haven’t had a bag that does that before, it makes an enormous difference when you’re juggling bags through the airport.

The two handles are sturdy and large enough to slip over your elbow, though probably not your shoulder

The shoulder strap is more disappointing; it’s a sturdy woven cloth but rather narrow and too long for anyone who isn’t extremely tall or possessed of particularly broad shoulders and the buckle is the wrong way round for you to tuck the excess into the shoulder pad so it hangs down over the zip. The shoulder pad itself isn’t actually padded, just two layers of leather. And while the metal hooks on the end of the strap are extremely sturdy, the unobtrusive leather loops they slide into line up with the handles rather than the corners of the briefcase which gives it a good balance but means the long strap is even longer. There are four loops so you can choose which way the strap angles over your shoulder (and you can tuck a luggage tag through one of the spares).

Although the briefcase comes in tan, dark brown or black, the interior is always black: that looks stylish on the brown colourways but rather drab with the black exterior. Harber has missed a trick by not picking something more striking for the inside like scarlet, turquoise or lime that would really pop against the black and make the bag feel even more special (like the Maroo leather slipcase lined with lime microfiber I’ve been using for laptops for many years).

A black bag next to a man's leg

The leather looks great but the black interior could be more striking.

Image: Mary Branscombe

The metal zip also looks less matched to the black leather, although again it’s extremely sturdy and has long leather tags that are easy to grab on the two zipper pulls (so you can open it from whichever side is convenient, but it doesn’t open on all three sides like a laptop case, just partway down each side). The base is flat: not really wide enough to stand up on its own but it’s not awkward to balance on a table when you’re putting your laptop away or grabbing it out.

hands opening the bag

Having the strap clip on over the handles gives you balance when you’re carrying the bag but isn’t as easy for getting things out.

Image: Mary Branscombe

All in all, this is both premium and practical; something of an investment, but durable enough to be a long term investment.



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