Saturday, August 30, 2007

Get a sturdy laptop bag
Hector Choksi

LET us face the facts. In the 21st century you cannot go to a business conference without a laptop. The laptop bag which protects your workstation has to be discreet, strong and fashionable.

You will need to consider a lot of factors in buying a laptop bag, the most important of which are durability, choosing the right size, style and features.

The first factor is durability. The laptop bag’s first requirement is to keep the equipment safe and immune to scratches. It should be able to protect your equipment from the unavoidable jolts and bangs. Another important factor is that it must be 100 per cent waterproof as dampness is the main enemy of gadgets.

The first consideration is as to how much your laptop weighs. The smaller and lighter it is, the more portable it will be. But less computing power and functionality will be placed into that computer. There are various categories of notebooks available in the market — simple notebooks, sub notebooks, ultra portable (thin and light) and desktop replacements.

If the empty bag weighs more than three pounds, you could end up carrying more than seven or eight pounds once you have packed the laptop and accessories. There are several cases available in the 14-inch to 17-inch laptops. Look for those that have removable paddings to add more protection.

The other aspect which buyers often forget is the shoulder protection if you plan to carry the laptop bag on your shoulders. High quality shoulder straps with sufficient length (you can check it in the shop) and good padding will be comfortable and ensure that you can walk on with ease, without experiencing shoulder pain. As to the material of the bag, I would strongly recommend leather ones, as they are more dependable. But then as even nylon bags cost Rs 2,000 plus, the money you can afford is the main factor. Ensure the bag is sturdy, for if the straps fail and the laptop bag falls heavily on the ground, your loss could be very high.

Choose a style that fits your individual fashion sense and lifestyle. There are numerous styles in the market to choose—totes, messenger bags, back packs, rolling carriers. If your are a business professional, select a bag that complements your professional image.

If you travel pretty often and spend a lot of time slogging through airports and often have to emerge triumphant through security only to discover that your departure gate is in a whole other time zone, well, it is enough to make a road warrior fall on your own spear.

But a rolling laptop brief with wheels gliding smoothly and stylishly behind you will ensure that the faraway gate posed no problem.

Recently, well-designed luggage bags that would enable travellers to keep laptops in their cases at airport security checkpoints are in the market. The specifications require a bag design that allows the X-ray equipment to have a clear view of the laptop itself, unobstructed by pockets, flaps or extra gear like power cords.

It is not laziness that makes travellers want to circumvent the rule, which is right up there with having to remove shoes as a checkpoint irritation. They see their unprotected laptops trundle along the checkpoint belt to be rudely deposited into a pile-up at the other end. In the commotion, there is the potential for damage, theft and misplacement. — MF