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Small Laptop Bags for Tablet PCs and Sub-Notebooks

-Classy Cases Designed for Windows XP Tablets, Ultra-light Notebooks and Apple iBook/12” PowerBook
Posted December 2003 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

The lightweight Windows XP Tablet PCs and B5 size ultra-light notebooks are extremely portable compared to their full sized (sometimes even oversized) laptop counterparts. The portability often means that your tablet PC and small notebook will be in transit and needs good protection. We looked at various laptop bags, some designed for the tablet PCs; others designed for Apple's 12” PowerBooks which fits some of the tablets and sub-notebooks surprisingly well. We use the Acer C100 series and Sony Vaio TR2A in this test. If you are unfamiliar with the specs of these units, please read our detailed reviews here for the Acer Tablet PC and here for the Sony Vaio TR2A .

Acme Made- Slim Bags

Overview

Acme Made is a company that designs, manufactures and sells computer bags mostly for Apple products. Their bags stand out with slim design that fits the Acer tablet very well, good protection inside and out, and variety of styles that will fit in any environment and with any personality. We tested the Acer and Vaio with Acme's 12” Gray Flannel design and Green Circle design.

Size & Fit

Even though these bags were designed for the 12” PowerBook, they fit the Acer C100 series very well and are slightly larger than the TR2A. When you put your Acer tablet in the bag, it fills the bag width-wise and leaves about 2” between your Acer and the zipper on top. With the Vaio TR2A, there is about 3” gap between the notebook and the zipper. The quilted satin lining inside the bag provides a soft and snug fit that will hold your computer in place, and should fit any Tablet PC thicker or thinner than the Acer C100 series, and notebooks that are similar in size to the Apple 12” PowerBook.

Features and Quality

The Acme Slim bags are designed to be carried like a suitcase as well as over your shoulder. There are two leather handles on the front and back side of the bag, and two shoulder strap holders on each side of the bag. The shoulder strap is included. There is a front compartment with zipper that will fit your extra battery and power adapter tightly.

The Acme bags provide very good protection thanks to the closed cell foam shell with waterproof coating and high impact plastic padding. If you have one of the slate tablets, you should be happy to know that the lining inside of the Acme bags is made of quilted satin that feels soft and smooth. It won't scratch your Tablet PC or notebook. The outer cover of the bags are either made of heavy duty wool or a cotton/polyester blend with a Teflon finish which is designed to withstand over 63,000 “double rubs”.

The Acme bags are constructed entirely by hand, and have life-time warranty.

Style

One of the outstanding features of the Acme bags is the “look”. The variety of cover designs will make you look good in any environment. The dark and solid color designs have a slick and clean business style while the designer dotted and circled covers are more playful. The solid bright colored bags make a personal statement. From a style stand point, Acme bags have the most versatile designs and creative ways of using materials.

Summary

Acme Made bags are good for carrying your Tablet PC on its own, or hidden inside a larger computer bag. The bags provide very good protection yet add very little bulk. The bags are well made and stand out with their designer covers and variety of styles and colors. It should fit most of the Tablet PCs and 12” or smaller notebooks.

Price: $79.99-$159.99

Web Site: www.acmemade.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Bihn- Small Bag and Padded Sleeve

Overview

A star in the Pacific Northwest, Tom Bihn and the company pride themselves with the quality of their bags which are all made in the US where they believe that they can control the quality of the material as well as the workmanship better than overseas' manufacturers. Many of the Tom Bihn's bags have an outdoorsy design to withstand the rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest region. The collection of sizes, colors and designs is quite large, so you can find a bag that fits your computer and your style. We tested the Acer Tablet PC C100 series and Sony Vaio TR2A with the Brain Cell (size 5) and Mitre sleeve (size 5) bags.

Size & Fit

The Brain Cell bags have a large piece of Velcro sewed on the bottom of the lining inside of the bag. You can snap the Velcro to different heights to change the inner dimensions of the bag. Because of this feature, both the Acer and Vaio can fit firmly—a very versatile design! There is a large front pocket that is made of stretchable material and fits your extra battery, power adapter and more.

The Mitre Padded Sleeve bag is designed to mitt your computer before you put it in your travel back or backpack to give it an extra protection. Both the Acer and Vaio fit the bag just fine, and the case flap can be closed easily using the Velcro snap.

Both Brain Cell and Mitre bags come in 5 sizes and they all fit in larger models of Tom Bihn bags. There is a detailed list of which laptops and Tablet PCs fit in which size on Tom Bihn's web site.

Features and Quality

The Brain Cell bag is designed to be either carried like a suitcase or over the shoulder like a messenger bag. There are two nylon handles on the front and back side of the bag, and two shoulder strap holders on each side of the bag. The shoulder strap is not included. Tom Bihn offers 2 types of shoulder straps which can be purchased separately. Unlike many other laptop bags, the Brain Cell has a Velcro strip instead of zipper on top of the bag that acts as a closure. This design will avoid the trouble a worn-out zipper could present, but don't open your bag in a quite meeting as it's quite loud.

The Brain Cell bag is built with a strong corrugated plastic shell with foam padding that's laminated to Velcro-compatible fabric that feels very smooth. There is a gap between the out shell and the Velcro snapped-in lining, leaving the laptop “hanging” in an adjustable sling. This design not only permits the bag to fit many sizes of computers, but also prevents your computer from making contact with anything should you drop your bag. It is a very clever design. The front accessory compartment is stretchable and quite large; definitely a plus for someone carries the computer along with other small items.

The Mitre Sleeve has a very simple design for a very simple purpose: preventing scratches and scrapes. If you have a slate designed Tablet PC and use a large bag, this Sleeve is a must-have in order to protect your Tablet's screen. Slide your computer into the sleeve and fold the tongue over and close the sleeve with the large Velcro patch. The sleeve is built with soft foam padding; the lining of the Mitre is made of very soft and smooth brushed nylon.

Both the Brain Cell and Mitre are well built and made with quality materials. All Tom Bihn bags come with life-time warranty.

Style

The design of Tom Bihn bags can be categorized largely into two styles: city messenger and mountain trail hiker. The Brain Cell bag belongs in the city messenger category, with its minimalistic design, utilitarian snaps, Velcro and even an extra set of straps that can be hooked on to any backpack externally. There are a large number of colors available for this bag including solid colors, plaid patterns and more. The material also makes the bag ideal for all seasons.

The Mitre Sleeve also has a simple design that comes in two colors: Titanium and Inferno. The black trim on the edgesand the black Velcro closure goes well with both colors.

Summary

Tom Bihn bags are built with a no-nonsense design that provides very good protection for your Tablet PCs or sub-notebook. The urban and weekend-warrior designs both have attractive yet clean styling. The good selection of colors and sizes make these bags very versatile. If you live in rainy areas or travel outdoors often, do consider these bags.

Price: Brain Cell: $50 Mitre: $30

Web Site: www.tombihn.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booq- PowerSleeve12

Overview

Of all the bags we've tested in this round, the Booq bag is the most rugged of the lot. Ruggedness is a key feature for Booq, and it comes through in the design, material and construction of their bags. In addition to the strong materials and build quality, Booq bags offer easy to access to your notebook and they offer options to add more compartments for additional accessories. These features reflect Booq's idea of creating bags for people on the go. We tested the Acer and Vaio with Booq's PowerSleeve12, which was designed for the 12” PowerBook G4.

Size & Fit

The PowerSleeve12 fits both the Acer Tablet PC and the Vaio TR2A sub-notebook. When you put your computer in the bag vertically, there is about 1” space between your computer and the bag opening, making it easy to close the cover. The Acer fits perfectly width-wise while the TR2A (shorter in width than the Acer) leave some space width-wise in the bag. The foam padding is soft yet firm, so your computer won't slide around even if it's slightly smaller than a perfect fit.

There is a front pocket built into the cover of the bag that can hold an extra battery, a pair of glasses, pens and other small items. There is another large compartment in the back of the bag that can store lots of accessories and other items.

Features and Quality

The PowerSleeve12 is built mostly for carrying over the shoulder, even though there is a sturdy handle on the top of the bag which allows you carry the bag like a suitcase. The bag has a flap cover that uses strong Velcro to close the bag. The additional two accessory compartments use zippers with very nice and large zipper pulls. The shoulder strap holders are sewn in and protected by strong nylon. The shoulder strap is detachable and works like a seatbelt that can be snapped open and closed quickly. A shoulder strap is included with the bag.

The PowerSleeve12 is built with thick high-density polyurethane foam and covered with tough and weather-resistant 1680D nylon that feels very sturdy and is “virtually indestructible” according to Booq. The lining is very soft and smooth. The materials will protect your computer inside and out from shock, weather or scratches. The stitching look very solid and the handles are well sewn on or riveted for additional security.

Booq bags give you the impression that they are built to last, and they indeed come with lifetime warranty.

Style

The PowerSleeve12 has a very clean design with emphasis on protection and easy access. The selection of materials provides great protection while the top-loading design and quick Velcro snap closure provides easy and fast access your notebook. The strong shoulder strap design makes this bag a good choice for those who ride bicycles, walk or take the bus or train while carrying their computers. The vertical design is hip and will fit in at school, in urban settings and other environments. Even though the bag is rugged, it adds very little bulk.

Summary

If you are looking for a bag that will withstand the rainy weather, bumps on busy streets or trains, and is easy to carry while walking or biking, Booq's PowerSleeve bags are hard to beat. The bags provide plenty of protection for your computer and the design style will fit in most environments. If you use computer bags heavily and in harsh environments, do check out Booq's collection.

Price: $39.95

Web Site: www.booqbags.com

 

 

 

Targus- Tablet PC Portfolio

Overview

For the folks who are accustomed to carrying their portfolio style daytimers or paper notepads, the Targus Tablet PC Portfolio case should be a natural choice since it looks like those portfolio binders except you put your Tablet PC in this one. It's designed for you to use your tablet inside of the case and comes in both nylon and leather. Targus has a large collection of laptop bags and PDA cases. The Tablet PC Portfolio is design to fit one of the largest tablets such as the Toshiba Portégé 3500, however it can house other tablets as well. While this Tablet PC Portfolio product is available on the Targus UK web site, the Targus US site offers a similar portfolio style case for the HP Tablet PC. Targus UK will ship their case to European countries and Targus US will ship to all 50 US States. We tested the Acer and Vaio with the nylon version of the Tablet PC Portfolio found on UK site.

Size & Fit

Measuring in at 10” x 12”, the Targus Tablet PC Portfolio is slightly bigger than the Acer C100 series (about 1” too big) and is too big for the TR2A. The Portfolio will fit the Toshiba Portégé tablet and most of the mid-sized laptops perfectly. There are three straps that hold your computer in place. On the right side of the portfolio, there is a pocket for paper documents and a business card compartment that has plenty space for a stack of cards.

Features and Quality

The portfolio style makes this case an ideal for carrying your Tablet PC to business meetings and functions. It has 5 elastic straps, 4 on each cover and one across the case. These straps can hold your Tablet PC inside the case securely when your Tablet PC is in laptop mode, tablet mode or closed position. The straps also allow you to use your Tablet PC while in the case, however smaller tablets such as the Acer C100 series won't be able to take advantage of the two straps that hold the display panel.

The Tablet PC Portfolio is made of heavy duty nylon and has strong padding. It will provide very nice protection and acts as a steady surface for you to use the Tablet PC in the case. The lining is rather smooth and will prevent scratches. The portfolio is closed by a leather strap with a large snap that feels strong and secure.

The Targus Tablet PC Portfolio has a very professional look and is built with quality. It comes with lifetime warranty.

Style

The Tablet PC Portfolio is designed to carry the Tablet PCs in the office or for short distances. It can easily be placed inside of your suitcase or bigger bag. Both the leather and nylon models look very professional, even the nylon version has some leather pieces that give it a “serious” look. The case comes in black color.

Summary

Designed specifically for the Tablet PC, the Targus Tablet PC Portfolio provides the neccessory features that enable you to use your Tablet PC inside of the case. Its professional style and the portfolio design make this case a perfect choice if you carry your Tablet PC at work. It adds very little bulk and weight yet offers the protection your Tablet PC needs. The case is small in size which allows you easily slide it into a large bag for travel.

Price: Tablet PC Portfolio: £20.53 (including VAT); HP Tablet PC Slim Case: $59.99

Web Site: www.targus.com, www.targus.com.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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