Laptops were created for primarily
one reason: to be portable. Unfortunately, if that was indeed
the goal, it doesn't seem like the design's really that successful.
Of course, you cantransport them, but the process is rife
with potential hazards. Set them down just a little too hard,
and you're likely to suffer anything from a hard drive crash
to complete annihilation of your mobile. If it rains, and
just a drop lands in the vicinity of your keyboard, even
your best option—professional servicing—is
Many laptop cases have been reviewed
here, and some of them were good. Their main problem has
been that, to get an acceptable level of protection for a
computer, the products have had to employ a hard-shell casing.
This has led to two major drawbacks: one, they've been heavy,
even for a grown man; and, two, they've been expensive ®¢ $400-$500 on average. Even worse,
with the new Media Center laptops like the G4 Powerbook with
17" screens making their way into schools, older cases
don't even fit.
Fortunately, thanks to Teckstyl's
Tekskin, a new option is now available. A soft acrylic skin
fitted with high-impact plastic inserts, the Tekskin wraps
around laptops with screens ranging from 12-15.1" to provide a zippered portable enclosure,
with the TekskinXL, accommodating 17" screens available
imminently. In addition to the machine itself, an auxiliary
pocket holds a standard-sized power supply and AC adapter.
Although fitting my portable into the case itself required
a certain amount of spatial ingenuity, once snapped in, it
was firmly protected at weight easily half that of my old hard-shell.
Some extra space within the unit itself allowed for some materials,
like a notebook and trade paperback, to be carried, but this
might not be the correct choice for, say, an administrator
looking to replace a portfolio.
The company doesn't provide drop-test stats, with the reasonable
objection that what might be true for one computer model isn't
necessarily valid for another, but preliminary results indicate
that the Tekskin offers a valuable amount of protection. Still,
you should avoid dropping a case in use down a flight of steps.
However, my rain day's walk to work test demonstrated that,
at least with an umbrella, no damage was sustained through
Best of all is the price: a standard model is available for
only $65, minus any volume discounts for institutions. Of interest
to our administrative readers is the custom color and logo
schemes to manufacturer can provide for schools deploying mobiles
If the level of shock protection is sufficient, the Tekskin
looks like it may very well be the best alternative for an
inexpensive laptop carrying case. Readers are encouraged to
check the product out at the company's site: www.tekstyl.com,
or call for more information at 617-846-0176