Monday, September 10, 2007

Review: Radtech NeoCase Laptop Protector


In the Matrix, the character Neo represented a slick confidence that somehow made him master of everything in the quasi-reality construct the movie series is named after. Of course, it's also named after the substance the case is made of: neoprene. Yes, I'm obsessed with keeping my Macbook is tip top shape. It's the first new laptop I've ever bought. I've tried hard shells and fabric sleeves. Each have their advantages. Hard shells work well to protect the computer, but aren't always that pretty. They also can get scratched up over time. Mine after about 9 months began to look like one of those Nanos everyone sued Apple about. I then used a fabric sleeve. I liked them, and I continue use them on occasion. The problem with a fabric sleeve is you forget to put them back in. The NeoCase, just like the character, seems to be the missing element that combines them both. The fashion sense and durability of a fabric sleeve, combined with the protection of hard shell. It is the one that will bring balance to the force. Oops, wrong movie!

The case has straps that hold the NeoCase in place while you are using it. While Radtech claims it's water repellent, I'm certainly not going to risk it. They also claim it has shock absorbing ability. Not going to test that either, but it is nicely padded. I like the fact it doesn't get in the way of any of the ports--though you obviously can't get to the battery unless you remove the case. It also has a handle and a pocket. The handle makes it very easy to pull the case out of my laptop bag and the sleeve holds other products.

I did notice after extended use my fans kicked in for the first time. Radtech support indicates that the unit has been extensively tested. I noticed about a 5 degree Fahrenheit increase in my CPU temperature and experts indicate it's hardly cause for alarm. Laptop sleeves like the NeoCase should be secondary protection for users. Never carry a laptop just in a laptop sleeve, it needs to be protected in a laptop bag. Don't just throw this in a backpack (though many people do). A bonus feature of the NeoCase was that it protected not just the laptop but the surface it was on. I noticed my hard shell and my laptop would sometimes scratch delicate tabletops.

With the back to school folks taking incredibly poor care of their new laptops, I highly recommend this product to the lazy crowd. If your cell phone looks great, you probably don't need this. However, if you are rough on your stuff, the NeoCase is the best solution for you since you never have to take it out of the case. Ask the Oracle (and not Larry Ellison), that college students throw laptops in their backpacks, forget about them, and they get damaged.

The NeoCase won't protect you against agents and sentinels, but it provides a great compromise of laptop protection and ease of use. Morpheus would be proud.

Pros: Laptop protection that is stylish and you'll remember to use.
Cons: Slight raise in internal CPU temp.

Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right