The world of briefcases for men is filled with incredible variety and choice. The price you pay for this, of course, is that it can be hard to distinguish useful variations from models with added bits you don't even need. Even worse are the chameleon products that try to pass themselves off as being high-value designer brands when they're in fact just cheap knockoffs. To avoid these pitfalls, you need to get informed on the basic types of briefcases and all the common variations between popular brands and models. The depth and breadth of the market is such that you can find a product for many different circumstances, and even types that fit incredibly nitpicky standards if you so desire. Don't go in there blind.
The first type of briefcase to consider is the humble portfolio. Portfolios tend to be made of a simple, conservative but pleasing brown leather material. They're distinguishable from ordinary briefcase models by being much thinner. This naturally limits their carrying capacity pretty heavily, but also keeps the prices down. If you only need to store thin papers, artwork, or photographs, then a portfolio is the most efficient briefcase for you, both in terms of expense and in energy spent carrying it. They're favored by artists in particular, and have become a standard for that industry. A minor variation on the portfolio is the folio case, which is simply a portfolio that is equipped with a handle. The handle is very often able to recede into the portfolio for added convenience.
Moving along, there's the attache, which is a sort of compromise between portfolios and standard briefcases. Getting its name from a French word for a diplomatic official, the attache has the same standard hard rectangular design of most briefcases. However, it's thinner than a regular briefcase, while still being much thicker than a portfolio. You would be hard-pressed to squeeze a laptop into one of these, but if you only need to carry around documents and the like then the attache will serve you well. It's a favorite for many officials who need to carry paperwork around without being overly burdened by a heavy briefcase intended for bigger things. There are, mind you, attaches designed specifically for laptops. However, the limited space means that you'll generally be unable to fit anything EXCEPT the laptop into one! Don't expect to be able to cram everything into an attache with its limited capacity. The attache, like the portfolio, is most commonly leather, but it may also be metallic.
And last of all we come to the standard model, which is rectangular, box-like in dimensions, and generally able to carry many different items at once within its varied compartments. These models are heavier, bulkier, and roomier than the other types mentioned above. If you need to store varied things for business while moving around, the standard model briefcases are where to look. This is where you'll find the most variation and options, with prices ranging from the lowly single digits up to thousands of dollars for stylish Italian branding. Don't be fooled by the marketing, take your time to look through the hard details and you'll find it's not so difficult to determine the differences that matter to you.