I can talk exclusively about this Thule Gauntlet case for the MacBook Pro 15” I just bought. Or I can take the opportunity to talk about the importance of a good bag or case in general. Here’s the thing: if you are going to go mobile, you have to go smartly. Here is what you are going to need, and why:
The Right Case
It all begins with the right case. By now, you already know if you are a backpack person, or an attaché person, or a messenger bag person. The Gauntlet by Thule is mostly an attaché with an optional strap so that it can be carried like a messenger bag. Backpacks are more ergonomic. But they are not as convenient.
If you will seldom use your portable while in motion, like when you are on a commuter train or bus, a backpack may be the best choice. But one of the things I don’t like about backpacks is that they have so much space, you are inclined to fill it up and unnecessarily weigh yourself down. There is also the challenge of quickly finding what you need inside that giant space.
I recommend finding a bag or case that is purpose built for your particular laptop or iPad size. Fight the urge to get something bigger than what you need. That is the kind of indulgence that seldom pays off in benefit. Mostly, what you want is something that can carry your mobile safely, along with an extra power supply, and a handful of accessories. In this case, less is not more. It is just right.
The right case has to be convenient for the type of mobile user you are. But above all, it has to be protective. I am writing this on a $3,000 laptop. I carried it around for part of the day in no case at all. I rocked it as a naked object of tech lust in all its vulnerable glory. I was scared to death the whole time.
Nothing is more convenient than carrying your device without a case. But the equation changes when you have to set it down, or use both hands and tuck it under your arm. You want a case that allows you the option to carry your devices handsfree. This is a part of what protects your devices. You stand less chance of dropping them or walking off without them when you can effectively wear them.
While the entire case needs to be built for impact protection, there needs to be at least one space inside the case or bag that is purpose built for holding a laptop or iPad. Either/or may be the wrong way to think about it. MacOS Catalina and iPadOS have given us reason to carry both devices together with the new Sidecar feature. So it is a good idea for your bag to have two protected spaces.
I say this about more products I review: Price doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. You can either afford it or you can’t. You either need it or you don’t. You absolutely. Need a reliable and convenient way to carry your mobile devices and accessories. That should figured into the cost of the device. You probably shouldn’t leave the store without one.
It doesn’t matter if you pay $200 for a good case if you are protecting a $2,000 machine. You should see the world of microphone cases and cases specifically for camera gear. Some of those cases cost more than your primary devices. Frankly, Apple should make first-party cases for their own devices. I suspect the only reason they don’t is they feel the market is pretty well covered by third-parties.
Instead of looking at the price of a case, consider the priceless value it provides:
- A good case will also look good. And when you look good, you feel good. It is an intangible value that is important nonetheless.
- A good case gives you peace of mind. You are less likely to lose your device, and less likely still to damage it while out and about.
- A good case adds to your productivity. The wrong kind of bag can make it inconvenient for you to access your device quickly. With a good bag or case, you will use your device more while you are out. You took it out of the house to use it. So get a case that doesn’t hinder that goal.
The Thule Gauntlet I picked up is an older model collecting dust on a Best Buy shelf for $80. There is a newer version of the case. But I think I like the older one better. I like the fact that it is slim, but does not sacrifice space for peripherals. And it has both handles and an optional, included shoulder strap.
I am very intentionally not reviewing that case, but holding it up as an example of what one might look for in a case. If you have a mobile device without a case, you need to head back to the store and complete the set.