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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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