If you’re looking for good, all-purpose carrying cases for your Titanium PowerBook or iBook, WaterField Designs, a design firm based in San Francisco, makes two products that are worth a look.
As the owner of a Titanium PowerBook and the user of an evaluation unit of the new iBook, I’ve had a chance to take both portables on the road in WaterField products. I’ve used the SleeveCase and the RacerX for both portables. The former is a protective “sleeve” while the latter is a full-fledged carrying case.
The SleeveCase, which resembles a portfolio, is a neoprene skin that’s encapsulated by abrasive-resistant Ballistic nylon. The neoprene provides shock absorption, while the Ballistic keeps the SleeveCase “looking like new for many years,” according to the folks at WaterField. Since I’ve only used it for a few weeks, I can’t attest to how long it will keep its appearance, but the SleeveCase has done a good job of protecting my TiPB during my recent coverage of the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in Chicago, where I lugged my PowerBook everywhere, taking notes on the run.
Besides the layer of neoprene, shock protection is also offered by the “huggability” factor of the SleeveCase. It “hugs” the TiPB (or iBook) to provide a protective shell. You can insert the SleeveCase into briefcases, backpacks, or the RacerX itself. Or you can insert the SleeveCase into a WaterField Cargo bag, which sports an airline seat belt buckle for one-hand easy access and multiple pockets for organizing all sorts of goodies.
I also like the smoothness of the neoprene skin, which makes it easy to slide your TiPB or iBook in and out of the SleeveCase. The laptop “skin” costs approximately US$40, depending on the one you choose.
But while the SleeveCase is good for lugging your laptop around for short distances, you’ll need a full-fledged carry case for long trips. That’s where the RacerX comes in. Unlike the SleeveCase, it provides room for storing items such as power cords, cables, adapters and an extra battery.
It, too, has a Ballistic exterior and neoprene interior that offers durability and shock protection. Combine the SleeveCase and RacerX and you’re talking serious shock absorption. Like the former, the RacerX provides a nice, snug fit for your TiPB or iBook. With a wide, soft shoulder pad and mountain bike grip handle, it’s relatively comfortable to carry about.
WaterField designed the $129 RacerX to carry the laptop and accessories while sticking to a streamlined look. Since it measures 13.5 by 9.5 by 11 inches, it’s great for trips when you just need to toss in your Apple portable and some accessories. For the road warriors who also need room for digital cameras, external hard drives, Zip drives, etc., you’ll need something bigger, such as the Kensington Saddlebag.
But for hauling your TiPB or iBook and vital necessities, without a lot of peripherals, the WaterField cases are solid, well made products.