HOW TO PROTECT YOUR LAPTOP WHILE TRAVELING
Carrying Cases Protect Your Laptop When You Are On The Road
Carrying Case Styles
You'll find these main styles for laptop carrying cases: the classic or briefcase style which can be carried by a handle or shoulder strap; messenger bag style, backpack style carrying case, a tote bag style, and a rolling case. You can also get laptop sleeves to protect your laptop while it's in its carrying case, in case you have extra gadgets that might scratch the laptop. Here's basic information on these styles:
Classic or Briefcase Style
Looks very similar to a traditional briefcase, except there is usually a shoulder strap as well as the traditional handle for carrying ease. This style has been around the longest, and you'll find a wide variety to choose from. Features include extra padding to protect your laptop, pockets to hold your computer accessories, files, pens, USB drives and more. Many are even miniature work stations.
- Messenger Bag Style
So named because their appearance is reminiscent of bags carried by messengers in days gone by, this style is similar to the classic or briefcase style, but usually sleeker. You still get good padding and extra pockets in most makes of this style, so there is little worry about protection for your laptop if you decide to go with the Messenger style carrier.
- Backpack Style
Looks like the backpack you see being carried by students of all ages, but with more padding built in to protect your laptop. You'll usually find extra pockets to fit extra gear and files. If you're a student who frequently carries a laptop, you may enjoy one of these rather than the classic or messenger style laptop carrying case.
- Tote Bag Style
Looks like a large purse or, well, a tote bag, this style of laptop carrier comes with extra padding and pockets to protect your laptop and to carry additional accessories. This style is very popular with women. Many makes will come with both a shoulder strap as well as a handle. You'l find room for most everything you need in this style.
- Rolling Cases This style is usually more expensive than the others we've listed above, but if you would prefer to tote your laptop behind you in a rolling case, this price may be well worth it to you. Styled like small suitcases, they are on wheels with a collapsible handle that makes it easy to tote along with you.
This affords a little extra protection for those who carry a lot of extra accessories in their laptop case, or for those who just want that extra protection. It is just what its name implies, an extra sleeve to slip the laptop into, which in turn goes into one of the carrier styles described above.
Who Makes Them, What Do They Cost?
You can find most of these carrier styles in most any price range, from less than $30 all the way up to $500. If you're shopping by price, we break down what you can get by price and by maker.
For less than $30 you'll find a lot of protective sleeve, by makers such as Targus, Belkin and Built NY. There are also a few Messenger and tote style cases in this price range.
$30 to $60
You'll find a good selection of all styles in this price range, including many classic/briefcase styles as well as backpacks and tote bags. This price range seems to give you the widest selection of choices, including totes, backpacks, messenger bags, as well as some classic styles. Some of your major makers in this price range include Belkin, Case Logic, Targus, and Built by NY.
$60 to $100
You'll find a wide choice of nice carrying cases in this price range too. If you tote your laptop around a lot, you might want to invest the extra money for extra padding and protection for your laptop. Classic, totes, backpacks and even a roller or two can be found in this price range.
$100 and Up
What you'll get for the extra money is more choices in rolling cases and nicer material, such as real leather, or aluminum if you'd like that hard-shell protection. You may also find extra padding and extra room in carrying cases in this price range.
Where to Buy and OtherParting Thoughts
You can often find a wide variety of styles to choose from at your local stores like Target or WalMart, as well as Best Buy, Circuit City, or CompUSA, or wherever fine luggage is sold. Online sources we discovered were the Dell site, Lands End, and Amazon.com. Most of these cases will accomodate notebook sizes up to 15.4 inches, but there are a number of makers for those 17 and 18 inch sizes as well. Whatever your choice in style, you're sure to find just what you want and at the price you want to spend.