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Protecting portable devices from knocks

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The mobile workforce has firmly entrenched itself globally and locally, the variety of devices has grown, it has also become increasingly common for the same user to have multiple devices, says Heinrich Pretorius, Targus product specialist at DCC.

Most commonly, these devices include notebook and a tablet. While portability is the biggest advantage of these devices, this same feature can also be their downfall – portable devices are more likely to be dropped, bumped or otherwise damaged. Protecting this expensive equipment adequately is therefore essential, to ensure that mobile devices can take the knocks of an on-the-go lifestyle.

The rise of the mobile warrior has been fuelled by increasing portability of computing devices, including notebooks and tablets. With tablets, the screen is often the most vulnerable piece of hardware – to which anyone who has ever dropped one of these devices will attest.

Cracked glass makes the entire device practically impossible to use, and tablets often cannot be repaired but must be replaced in their entirety, which is an expensive exercise. Notebooks, while they are slightly more robust, are also prone to damage from knocks and bumps, primarily with regard to the hard drive.

Devices with solid state drives (SSDs) are less vulnerable, but the majority of notebooks still contain traditional spinning platter Hard Disk Drives (HDDs). If these are dropped or bumped excessively they can become corrupt or fail completely, causing data loss that can be detrimental. While smartphones too have evolved as part of this movement, the size of a phone makes it easier to put away safely in a pocket or a handbag.

When it comes to protecting notebooks and tablets, however, specialised solutions are necessary.

Quality should be the overriding feature to look for in any physical protection for mobile devices, and in many instances the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true. Tablets and notebooks are expensive, so buying the cheapest case to protect them is counterintuitive and could cause problems further down the line.

Quality can be judged by the look and feel of the materials, the zips, the handles, and any fixtures and fastenings, as well as the padding that holds devices in place. In addition, the warranty is a good indication of quality.

A manufacturer that is willing to provide a lifetime warranty against defective workmanship is confident that they are offering the very best possible quality. After all, every time something is returned under warranty, it costs the manufacturer money and profit.

While quality is very important, in today’s world, choice is also critical – in terms of style, colour and functionality. For corporate users, a leather attaché case with pockets for business cards, documents, phones, tablets and notebooks might be the most appropriate option.

For a student, photographer or someone in a less formal environment, a backpack would be better suited. There are even cases for ladies that resemble a designer handbag, allowing the fairer sex to carry their devices in style and sophistication without compromising on quality.

Whatever the look of the case or cover, however, their ability to physically protect devices is essential – they need to be durable, water resistant and able to handle the rigours of continuous use.

Mobility is here to stay, and as the number of devices we carry increase and their value in our lives skyrocket, protecting our equipment is more important than ever.

From students to corporate executives, men and women, fashionistas or the more traditionally inclined, there is something out there to suit everyone’s style. Just be sure that the quality lives up to the essential nature of the job – a lifetime warranty is the best guarantee that covers sleeves and cases, ensuring they will not let you down.