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REVIEW: MaxProtect II PowerBook Briefcase

Originally posted November 14th, 2005 by Special Features Editor, Bet-TAY Morgan.

PROTECTING YOUR POWERBOOK WHILE DAYTRIPPING
Living in the back country mountains, when we go grocery shopping in the flat lands, it's an all day affair. And going all day without our PowerBooks is unbearable. But we can't just put them in a soft sleeve and toss them in the trunk. What if a bag of potatoes falls over against them while I'm screeching around the mountain curves?

And we don't want to have take our Tumi "Roll Away" bags just for a trip to the city. We need the trunk space for all the goodies I'm going to buy. Needless to say, when we heard about the MaxProtect II briefcase from MaxUpgrades, our curiosity was piqued.

RIGID REQUIREMENTS
For us to seriously consider the MaxProtect II as a daytrip contender, it had to meet our standards
a) rigid construction
b) light weight
c) thin profile
d) snazzy looks
e) soft, non-scratch interior
f) reasonable price

We are happy to report that the MaxProtect II meets all our requirements. Plus it has a feature we didn't anticipate. You can just open the lid and use the PowerBook without removing it from the case.

ROOM FOR THE POWERBOOK + NOTHING
If you are looking for a laptop "friendly" case with storage for all the accessories (A/C adapter, Cardbus cards, iSight camera, etc.), the MaxProtect II is not meant to fill that need. But that's okay. When we take off on a one day road trip, we don't really need all the accessories. We just take the PowerBook. We want protection just for it. The MaxProtect II is perfect... almost.

There was one accessory we have to bring along. It's not convenient to stop shopping to find a WiFi hotspot when we want to check our email or look up the nearest Starbucks using Google Maps. The Verizon Cardbus AirCard affords us a high-speed internet connection no matter where we are. Rob-ART is happy to let me drive blankety-blank miles per hour down Interstate 8 as long as he gets to "drive" down the internet "highway" at blankety-blank bits per second.

But when the AirCard is plugged into the PCMCIA slot, the PowerBook doesn't fit in the MaxProtect II case. We came up with two solutions.

SOLUTION ONE
We can always pull out the AirCard and put it in the glove compartment or jacket pocket when not in use. But that's not quite as convenient as the second solution.

SOLUTION TWO
Get the 17" version of the MaxProtect II and put your 15" PowerBook in it. That leaves plenty of room for the AirCard to stay plugged in. Plus there's even room for the A/C adapter if you choose to take it along. Though there's room to spare, the 15" PowerBook doesn't slide around when the lid is closed because it is being gently squeezed by the soft padded interior.

Of course, when Rob-ART decided he HAD to have a 17" PowerBook, this "oversized" solution went out the window. He's back to solution one, for now.

CAUSING A STIR
We have created a stir wherever we go with the MaxProtect II. Rob-ART often hangs out at the local Apple Retail Store while I'm shopping at Nordstrom. As he sat with the MaxProtect II open in his lap, working on the PowerBook, even the Apple Geniuses were coming up to him to ask where he got the "cool briefcase."

You can imagine the eyebrows that raise when we take our PowerBooks to church in the MaxProtect II cases. We use the PowerBooks to take notes during the sermon and to look up the Bible verses with our Bible application (Accordance). Sometimes we look up things using online Bible references (since the church has a WiFi internet connection).

The members of the "geek squad" in the church accuse Rob-ART of playing online games during the sermon. I supposed he could if the sermon got boring.

My point is that if you are going to a client appointment or office meeting, next to having your PowerBook with you, the best "power move" you can make is to walk in with the MaxProtect II case.

TAKES A LICKING
After two months of use and abuse, the MaxProtect II is still looking and working very well. In case you are concerned which animal was sacrificed for this leather briefcase, your can relax. It's made using synthetic leather that's so close to the real thing, we didn't know it was not real until we read the list of features on Maxupgrades web page.

COMMUTER FLIGHT INSERT
Though we use our Tumi "Wheel-A-Way" bags when traveling by air to MacWorld, we ran into a small problem. The small commuter planes won't let us carry on the "carry-on" Tumi. And we don't want our PowerBooks in the cargo hold. But if we pull the PowerBook out of the Tumi, it's vulnerable to damage. Guess what? The MaxProtect II fits inside the Tumi's padded laptop slot. Now, when they make us check the Tumi, we can pull out the PowerBook without fear and loathing.

WHERE TO BUY
You can order your MaxProtect II case direct from MaxUpgrades. Prices start at $49 for the 12" PowerBook. They make a great gift to a friend or family member with a PowerBook.

OTHER POWERBOOK ACCESSORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE

* The CoolShield ScreenSleeve (which keeps your keyboard from transferring its impression to the screen when the lid is closed.)

* The Verizon AirCard, the "get fast internet connection wherever you are"" accessory. Of course, you must be in one of the supported cities to get the full speed of the 3G network.

* The Delkin Cardbus Flash Card reader. Supposedly faster than FireWire or USB 2.0 readers, though we haven't confirmed that.

* The MadsonLine "Lucille" traveling power adapter with FireWire and USB ports.

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2005 Robert A. Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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