Best laptop carrier costs a bundle -...


Best laptop carrier costs a bundle - but less than repairs do

You paid a lot of money for your laptop, and you expect that the bag you paid good money for will protect your investment. You and your computer may be in for a shock.

According to a recent test by Mobile Computing magazine, only two bags - the Brenthaven Expandable Topload ($275) and Tumi's Safecase - provided adequate protection from typical drop heights. The Brenthaven tested best in the lot.

The Brenthaven is a handsome, high-quality piece of luggage that obviously has a lot of design intelligence behind it. Its most unusual feature is a center "expansion gusset," which, when unzipped, expands the case by 30 percent, adding room to the two main compartments.

A removable internal computer sleeve houses the laptop. This lightly padded case-within-a-case attaches to the inside of the bag's computer compartment with a touch-fastener strip. The bag's top-rated protection comes from this suspended inner sleeve and a double-suspension, double-padding, double-airspace design.

The Brenthaven also sports a full-featured organizer with pockets, a file-folder compartment with dividers and a supercomfortable shoulder strap.

Yes, $275 is a lot for a laptop bag. But what will you spend to repair a computer that's been damaged in a short fall from your shoulder or an airplane's overhead compartment? And if you're someone who needs to travel with a complete office (peripherals, cell phone, pager, etc.), you can't beat the way the Brenthaven handles the obscene weight of your digital albatross.

Information: 800-803-7225, or

Toolbox-in-a-bag is tres cool even if it looks tres geeky

If you want to know how good a Leatherman multipurpose tool is, look on the belt of just about every police officer, firefighter or anyone else who takes tools seriously. Like a Swiss army knife on steroids, the Leatherman has screwdrivers, knives, files and other frequently used hand tools.

The latest Leatherman is the Wave ($98). Made of 100 percent stainless steel and weighing 8 ounces, this beautifully designed, impeccably manufactured gadget offers 16 tools, including two types of wire cutters, a needle-nose pliers, knife, file, five screwdrivers, wire stripper and bottle/can opener.

The coolest addition to the Wave is a pair of scissors. The Wave also improves on the design of earlier models by putting four of the tools (the regular knife, serrated knife, saw and file) on the outside so you don't have to open the tool to access them.

At this weight, the Wave is slightly cumbersome on your belt (and looks tres geeky), but it's an invaluable tool to have in a laptop bag or desk drawer.

Information: 800-847-8665 or

Reviews of these and other gadgets are at

Pub Date: 8/3/98

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