Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16-inch review: Pockets, pockets everywhere

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Hero
(Image: © Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: The Tech Folio 16-inch will hold your tablet or laptop, up to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, with room to spare for smaller sizes. There is also plenty of space for all of your accessories thanks to the mesh organizational pockets in the main compartment as well as the front pocket. The bag has a slim profile and opens flat for easy access to all of your gear.


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    Slim profile

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    Opens flat

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    Mesh pockets make it easy to quickly see items

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    Soft open pockets are great for bulkier items

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    Grab handle doubles as luggage passthrough

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    Has D-rings for optional strap


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    Strap is sold separately

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    Front pocket feels upside-down from grab handle

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When it comes to laptop and tablet bags and accessories, one of my favorite brands that come to mind is Waterfield Designs. I've been using the brand for several years now, and all of my bags (including the Field Muzetto, Bolt Crossbody, and Hitch Crossbody, just to name a few) have held up incredibly well. As a bonus, they all have a decent patina developing thanks to age and use.

While our own Luke Filipowicz reviewed the original Tech Folio Plus, Waterfield has recently released a new Tech Folio for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Whether or not you have the 16-inch MacBook Pro or not, the Tech Folio 16-inch is a great laptop bag for those who love to keep everything neat and organized, especially when working from home.

Large enough for your entire mobile office setup

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16-inch: Features

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Main Compartment

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Main Compartment (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The Tech Folio 16-inch, like many other Waterfield bags, is made from the company's signature waxed canvas with a full grain leather accent on the front pocket of the bag. The waxed canvas material (or Ballistic Nylon if you choose that option) is tough and durable, and should withstand pretty much anything that comes its way. The leather accent gives the bag a sophisticated touch, and, since it's leather, develops a gorgeous patina over time the more you use the bag.

Waterfield Designs' Tech Folio 16-inch will hold even the biggest laptops, and the pockets let your organize and access your entire mobile setup with ease.

At the top of the bag is a nylon grab handle, with part of the handle sewn to the bag itself to hold the D-rings. The D-rings allow you to attach one Waterfields' optional straps: Simple or Suspension (both sold separately), to the bag for easier carrying. Adjacent to the grab handle is the zipper, which features smooth-gliding, premium YKK zippers that are also water resistant, so everything inside stays dry. Since the zipper wraps all the way around, the Tech Folio 16-inch opens completely flat.

Inside the Tech Folio 16-inch, you'll find a padded laptop compartment, which holds up to the 16-inch MacBook Pro (or similarly sized laptop). If you're using a smaller laptop or tablet, as I am with a 13-inch MacBook Air/Pro, there will be some wiggle room. But the Tech Folio 16-inch can hold my MacBook Air in the VERO Sleeve (also Waterfield) comfortably without issue, and it fits nice and snug.

On the exterior of the laptop compartment, you'll find a closed mesh pocket that is split up into three sections, as well as two soft open pockets towards the bottom. The soft pockets are best suited for bulkier items, such as hard drives, battery pack, or an ergonomic mouse, though you can use it for whatever you please. The other side of the main compartment, you'll find a three more closed mesh pockets: the top is slim and perfect for smaller items (dongles and memory cards), the middle is split up into two sections, and the bottom is just one big pocket.

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Front Pocket

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Front Pocket (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

When you have the Tech Folio fully open and laid out, the mesh pockets let you quickly scan your gear for what you need. This is also easy thanks to the signature gold liner, which was designed to increase visibility in Waterfield bags.

The front pocket has two premium YKK zippers and is water resistant as well. To remain consistent with the main compartment, the front pocket opens in the same orientation as the rest of the bag. I found the way that it folds open a little awkward though — more on this in a bit.

Inside the front compartment, you'll find more pockets in the gold liner. These are good for storing your earbuds, pens or Apple Pencil, your iPhone, and more. On the back of the Tech Folio 16-inch is another pocket that you can slide a mouse pad or documents into, and there's another handle that doubles as a luggage passthrough.

I received the Supreme Suspension Strap to go with my Tech Folio 16-inch, which is made with nylon webbing and has a double layer of neoprene for resting on the shoulders. The neoprene helps to alleviate heavier loads, and feels better than the Simple Strap that the company also offers for a little less. It's also adjustable, so you can customize the length to suit your needs — whether it's on your shoulder or if you prefer a crossbody style.

Organize your mobile office

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16-inch: What I Like

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Grab Handle

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Grab Handle (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

While I haven't gone out with my mobile office setup in months due to COVID-19, sometimes I switch it up a bit at home and work from a different room for, you know, different scenery. With the Tech Folio 16-inch, I can keep all of my accessories nicely organized in a single bag, while maintaining a slim profile. I also really love how easy it is to see exactly where everything is, since the bag opens flat and the gold liner with mesh pockets offer maximum visibility. Carrying the Tech Folio is also a breeze with that grab handle and Super Suspension Strap.

Even though I don't have the 16-inch MacBook Pro, I think this size of the Tech Folio is great — it just means more room for accessories!

About that front pocket

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16-inch: What I Don't Like

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Front

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16 Front (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

My one issue with the Tech Folio 16-inch is that the front pocket is a little awkward to access if you are holding the grab handle or wearing the strap, with the bag facing away from you. Since the zipper goes downwards, it doesn't feel as intuitive as my other bags, where they open up at the top. This may be because the Tech Folio works best when laying flat, but if the front pocket is designed for quick access when you're out, it feels like it should be opposite of what it is right now. Perhaps it was done this way just for consistency with the main compartment, but regardless, it will take a little getting used to.

The other issue is that if you prefer over ear style headphones, then you may not be able to fit them in this bag with their carrying case. It's fine if you can fold your headphones down so it's more flat, though, so keep that in mind.

Organize the mobile office essentials

Waterfield Designs Tech Folio 16-inch: The Bottom Line

If you have the 16-inch MacBook Pro, or just want a combination of roomy case and bag for all of your mobile office tech, then the Tech Folio 16-inch is a great option to consider. It's a little pricey, but Waterfield products will hold up for years, and they look classy and sophisticated. The Tech Folio is also great for keeping everything organized and easily accessible, with plenty of room for everything you'd need.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.