Protect That Baby
As the economy has imploded, the market for tiny and cheap laptops has exploded during the past year. If you’re like millions of consumers, you couldn’t resist the appeal of an adorable light-weight machine. Maybe your kids have now given it a nickname, adding to your affection for device. So what if it is flimsy, has cheap keys, and no disc drive of storage space. All the more reason why you need a bag, sleeve, keyboard, or external drive to pick up the slack—or so you’ve convinced yourself. We’ve gathered up the best the Netbook accessory market has to offer and put it all in one place.
Kensington Netbook Essentials
Wireless Mouse, $24.99; Power Adapter, $49.99; Security Lock, $24.99; Sleeve, $14.99
If you’re looking a one-stop shop for basic protection, you might want to consider Kensington’s suite of netbook gear, which for $115 will outfit you with the teensiest usable two-button mouse you’ve ever encountered, a pint-size power cable with included charging tips and USB port, a security lock designed to fit a tiny lock slot already built into your netbook, and a no-fuss black neoprene sleeve for 7-inch to 9-inch netbooks—as slim as they come. These items are also sold separately.
Targus Netbook Accessory Kit
Targus offers a lower-budget bundle of netbook goodies. The three-piece set includes the “Slipskin Peel” notebook case in blue and black for 10-inch netbooks, a retractable wired mini mouse, and a very small 4-port USB 2.0 hub
Sumo Camo Sleeve
Beef up your wimpy netbook with a sleeve decked out with sumo wrestlers. These fat guys are designed in a camouflage pattern in black and gray or red and pink, available for 8.9-inch or 10-inch netbooks.
Golla Gaia Mini
From Finland comes this sweet little yellow-green sack, which looks like a lunch box with its retractable handle. It is well-padded, with a moveable Velcro strap on the inside to customize a snug fit for any netbook size. It closes with two zippers and has a pocket in the back.
Kroo designs and sells laptop accessories in bulk, so they don’t list pricing (and you’ve got to contact the company for buying information), but this manufacturer makes more netbook case designs than any other. Here, clockwise, we have the Cube, Soxx, Sleeve and Envelope cases. Cubed is a hard-shelled case with a handle, Soxx is stretchy and quite like a sock, Sleeve is a rather traditional two-toned sleeve, and Envelope is made from artificial leather that closes with a snap. The best part about Kroo’s cases is the fact that nearly every design comes in generic inch sizes as well as custom brand designs (for Asus, Acer, HP, etc.), so that your case is very likely to fit your netbook perfectly.
Brown and Tan Custom Sleeve
You can find all manner of custom netbook case designs on Etsy.com, the site for crafty people who sell their designs. User Lollington created this sleeve design for netbooks, and will customize it exactly to your specifications. The sleeve is made from cotton duck cloth and foam. This Etsy user also makes netbook cases adorned with unicorns, dinosaurs and other animals. Because, you know, netbooks are the perfect size for kids.
Belkin 7-inch Laptop Carrying Cases
One is quilted and one comes with a detachable strap. Both of these Belkin cases are designed for 7-inch netbooks and close with two zippers, and both come in Jetset Red, Plum Berry, Black, and Techno Blue.
Built NY Netbook Cases
The kings of neoprene (the wetsuit material, as the company likes to helpfully remind people) make several products for netbooks, including a Laptop Portfolio (with a padded shoulder strap), a Hoodie Laptop Case (one side wraps up on top of the other like a hood), and a Laptop Sleeve ranging in price from $20 to $35 and from 7 inch to 10 inch netbooks.
Kena Kai Interdepartmental Mail Sleeve
Steve Jobs made the envelope laptop case famous when he unsheathed a MacBook Air on stage at a keynote speech. But Kena Kai does him one better with a tiny white leather company mail envelope. It fits up to 10-inch netbooks.
CaseCrown is another company (besides Kroo) that makes netbook cases for virtually every netbook model from any computer company. From black checkered messenger bags to fake alligator skin and “metallic merlot” pleather, CaseCrown uses a wide array of shapes and materials to manufacture hundreds of different netbook case variations.
Logitech Alto Keyboard
This is a full-sized keyboard that comes with a built-in stand for propping up a laptop—so you can easily see the screen while you are typing on the keyboard. When you fold it up to put it away, it looks a little bit like a netbook, too. But beware—it is 18.8 inches wide, so you’ll need a bag that can accommodate it.
Samsung External Slim USB DVD Writer
Samsung External Slim USB DVD Writer
Most netbooks don’t come with a built in optical drive, but sometimes, there’s a program you need to install or a document you need to retrieve, and you only have it on disk. If you like, you can carry around an external optical drive to solve this problem. This USB model from Samsung writes DVDs at 8X speed and comes with Nero Software Suite.
$60 per month
If you’re computer-addicted enough to want a netbook by your side everywhere you go, you probably want constant Internet access to go along with that. If you’re willing to pay a monthly fee for anywhere, anytime 3G broadband access, you can purchase a plan from AT&T and get this tiny USB dongle configured to fit in just about any USB position. The dongle itself is free after a mail-in rebate. The catch: you need to sign up for a two-year plan and pay at least $60 per month.