Not all kit is built to last. We explain how to make your technology tougher
It’s possible to buy all manner of rugged technology, from sturdy walkie-talkies to laptops built to survive nuclear blasts. But it’s easy to buy a portable computer without much consideration for sturdiness.
Then, the realisation dawns that your expensive laptop might need a little protection before you take it out and about.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to minimise the risk. The catch, of course, is that they need to be taken before disaster strikes, not after. That’s where Computeractive comes in – we’re going to explain how you can keep your high-tech laptop, and its data, as safe as possible.
Laptop designs go a long way in protecting against day-to-day damage. The clamshell case keeps the delicate screen out of harm’s reach when the laptop is being carried, for example, and stops foreign objects (like those found in the bottom of most bags) from getting into the keyboard.
Compact designs also mean there’s little chance of something working loose when a laptop is bounced around – just try transporting a desktop PC in the boot of a car to see how easily a graphics card can be popped from its socket.
But laptops face their own hazards. A common problem is a scratched screen, resulting from something as simple as grit working its way into the space between the screen and keyboard.
Carrying a laptop in a protective sleeve will help prevent this – and keep the case from being scratched, too. Similarly, a strip of cloth placed over the keyboard when closing the lip stops grease and grime from the key tops from being transferred to the screen and doubles up as a screen wipe.
Soft cloth won’t protect the screen if something heavy presses on the outside of the closed lid, which is why some laptops are reinforced on this part of their case.
Using a dedicated laptop bag will reduce the risk of this happening, as padding keeps the bag’s other contents safely away. Even so, packing a laptop with the lid facing away from other items (such as the power supply) is still a good idea – the laptop underside is far sturdier, and so less prone to damage.
Laptop bags come in all shapes, sizes and styles, and use everything from foam to air cushions as protection. For even greater protection, Tech21’s Laptop Impact Protection System suspends a laptop within a metal frame for increased shock-absorption, while Pelican’s hard cases provide bulky but practically indestructible protection for a wide range of mobile gadgets.
However, a laptop sleeve is usually enough to protect a laptop if it’s carried in something other than a dedicated bag – like a briefcase or bike pannier, for example.
The G-Form Extreme sleeve takes this idea to, well, extremes. Available for both laptops and the Apple iPad from around £70, the sleeve is made from a high-tech soft, padded plastic that instantly stiffens on impact and while originally designed for use in body armour, it’s ideal for protecting fragile gadgets.
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