Along with the burgeoning market in laptop computers comes a proliferation of innovative cases for carrying them. Most of these new carriers provide a slew of compartments to accommodate accessories that are part of the portable computing package. The following items may be available in area stores. Prices do not include shipping.
Bagging a laptop: Best known for its rugged canvas camera bags, Domke has entered the portable computing market with a laptop carrier that borrows a lot of its organizing savvy from the company's camera bag design. The DataPorter shoulder bag opens from the top, allowing instant access to its contents. The main compartment, measuring 13 inches by 11 inches and 5 inches deep, is fully padded and has movable and removable (via Velcro) divider walls. There are nine compartments and pockets, including a three-section office supply organizer in the front compartment and an expandable zippered document compartment in the rear. The bag is made of black water-resistant ballistic nylon, has plastic quick-release closures, side-release buckles and a detachable shoulder strap.
Domke Data Porter Computer Satchel is $149.95 at computer supply stores.
Lightweight for heavy duty: Eagle Creek has a knack for making lightweight bags with roomy compartments that seem to expand to fit the load. The company's Cordura Nylon Computer Brief is no exception. The padded center of the bag accommodates a laptop of any size, and an adjustable divider makes room for a power pack or cell phone. An expanding briefcase compartment has space for a stack of papers, and an organizing panel has pockets and slots for diskettes, pens, business cards, a calculator and more. The flap cover closes via quick-release plastic snap buckles, and has a zip pocket in front and a large pocket in back for extra papers. The bag has a leather hand grip and detachable shoulder strap, and is one of the lightest yet most efficient laptop carriers I have tested.
Eagle Creek Computer Brief is $99 from Magellan's; telephone (800) 962-4943; or for a store near you, call Eagle Creek; tel. (800) 874-9925.
Classy women's bag: Coach, maker of classy leather bags and purses, has designed a stylish leather laptop carrier for businesswomen. The bag, which comes in a rich tan, has plenty of compartments and pockets for a computer, papers, diskettes and other accessories, but the lush leather dividers and brass hardware make this bag as elegant as it is utilitarian. The bag, which measures 16 1/2 inches by 11 inches and 7 1/2 inches deep, comes with an adjustable, detachable leather shoulder strap.
Woman's Organizer Brief (item No. 532) is $498 from Coach; tel. (800) 223-8647.
Business on a roll: For a portable office that handles computer gear and more, consider the Exec-on-the-Go rolling briefcase from the Lodis Corp. The leather bag (measuring 16 inches by 13 inches by 6 inches--about the size of a large briefcase) has a large main compartment for business papers, files and books (there are built-in divided legal-size file folders). There also are two outside compartments: a removable padded computer holder and a removable utility pouch for computer electronics or a portable printer. The bag has a built-in combination lock and can be wheeled by the extending handle or carried by a side handle.
Exec-on-the-Go rolling briefcase is $375 at luggage stores.
Stretching the point: For extra protection from shock, dust and scratches, the Boing neoprene laptop computer cover from Zing Designs is an excellent lightweight option. The zip bag stretches to fit snugly around the computer, then slides easily into a briefcase. An interior pocket stretches to hold power supplies, diskettes and other small accessories.
Zing Boing Notebook Computer Cover is about $35 at computer supply stores.
Gear & Gadgets appears the first week of every month.