Did you bring protection? No, not that kind of protection. If you want to keep up with your techie obsession, it is of paramount importance that you invest in some quality protective cases for all of your electronic devices. This of course, includes something to protect your beloved notebook from random bumps, bruises, drops, and spills. Earlier this year, we hopped on a plane over to Taiwan to check out COMPUTEX Taipei, a computer and technology trade show where we met up with the people at Choiix. At the time, they only had some prototypes on display, but the Choiix (pronounced "Choice) line of laptop accessories is now ready for retail and we've got our hands on some of the first units to come off the line.
Two Functions: One Sleeve
This review will be focusing on the Ergonomic Metal Sleeve, a protective case designed for notebooks up to 14-inches in size. At first glance, you may think that this sleeve is something like an attache case for your notebook, but it's actually got a little more to offer than that. As it turns out, this product comes with not one, but two key functions. This dual functionality serves as its primary selling point.
On the one hand, you can use the Choiix Ergonomic Metal Sleeve as a carrying case for your laptop. It's got a set of cloth handles near the top, so all you have to do is slide your chosen notebook computer into the protective confines of this sleeve, close the Velcro strap at the top and you're ready to hit the road. The casing is actually quite stiff and the material appears to be good quality.
The second function comes when you're ready to sit down to check your email, edit some pictures, and update your Facebook status. As you can see, the Ergonomic Metal Sleeve gets its descriptive name from the fact that one side of this case is covered in a sheet of aluminum. When there is nary a table in sight, you can place the Ergonomic Metal Sleeve on your lap and use it as a lap desk.
The slate of aluminum is meant to act as a heatsink, providing a stiff enough surface for comfortable computing, but also helping to dissipate some of the heat being emitted by your laptop. As there are no vents or air pockets directly created by this aluminum sheet, the cooling benefits may be minimal at best if you're blocking the exhaust vents on your notebook.
Open Air for Public Exposure?
Speaking of open air, one of the issues that I have with this Choiix product is that it offers very little in terms of protection from the elements. When used as a carrying case, you'll find that the majority of your laptop is perfectly exposed to the world around it. This means that if it is raining or a random sharp object decides to stab your laptop, your notebook is going to prone to damage from all sides (except for the top and the bottom, of course).
Also because your laptop is exposed from nearly all sides while inside this case, you may be leaving yourself open to getting mugged. Considering that people can get jumped just for wearing white corded iPod earphones, I imagine that it would only take a short subway ride through the Bronx before you get jumped for your $3000 MacBook Air. Not a good experience, to be sure.
In this way, even though the Choiix Ergonomic Metal Sleeve offers a useful handle at the top for ease of transport, it's probably in your best interest to do some double-bagging, tossing your notebook (wrapped up in this sleeve) into your backpack or shoulder bag. This is not only to protect your laptop from the elements, but also from the criminal element.
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