Messenger, Ladies Case, Backpack, Zero Shock


Laptops are expected to outperform desktop sales in 2006 – especially with the arrival of Apple’s MacBook Pro and forthcoming MacBook (Intel-processor iBook successor expected in the next few months). If you plan on taking advantage of the laptop’s mobility, you need a decent carry case.

There are plenty of laptop bags available: the online Apple Store lists over a hundred – from £20 neoprene sleeves to £190 leather briefcases. Our current favourites are from Axio (hard urban), Booq (zippy pockets), Brenthaven (protective black), Crumpler (comfortable casual), Knomo (luxury leather) and STM (style storage).

Belkin, popular maker of Mac networking and iPod accessories, has a new set of stylish, protective laptop bags, starting at £34.99. Its NeuElements range includes cool NE-MS Messenger bags that include a removable high-density foam sleeve. Such sleeves add extra protection when the laptop is in the bag and double-up as less-weighty cases when travelling short distances.

Available in several colours, in either microfibre or canvas materials, the Messenger bags carry 12-inch (£29.99) and 15.4-inch laptops. They include lots of quick-access pockets for pens, a mobile phone and passport, and even boast a neat iPod protector inside.

The NE-LB Ladies Case comes in brown or khaki, and is a mix of canvas and microfibre. It has long handbag-like handles, a removable protective sleeve, and all the pockets a ‘lady’ could ask for. Finally from Belkin, the NE-11 FreePort Backpack includes special side pockets for your headphones and iPod, a removable sleeve and gallons of rucksack storage for a bargain price.

If your laptop case doesn’t include a removable sleeve, there are many separate ones to choose from. Some just stop scratches and soak up spills. Others offer secondary protection. Elecom’s Zero Shock is made from “low-resilience polyurethane” that apparently absorbs shock energy like Frank Bruno’s head. Unlike Frank, however, the Zero Shock has metal wire built into its frame to protect it from side and corner impacts. It’s available in 12, 14, 15 and 17-inch sizes.

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