The Cocoon Innovations netbook case is pretty much my ideal netbook travel case. It’s durable, shock absorbent, airport friendly, comfortable, and it features a unique organizational system that I have never seen before in another bag. There are a few key things I wish I could tweak a little bit, but otherwise I was very impressed by the Cocoon netbook case.
The Coccon Innovations case is made from rigid EVA plastic, used for shock absorption and protection, and covered in heavy duty cordura nylon. The sample I was sent is a soft dove gray color, which could work for either men or women. The design of the case is gender neutral but feels very clean and modern. I am a sucker for the simple design! The offered colors are pretty standard fare–black, blue, brown, two shades of gray, white and red. I would love to see some brighter, more fun colors available that might appeal to those of us who love a splash of turquoise, purple, or hot pink!
It comes with an adjustable padded shoulder strap that clips onto the bag vertically rather than horizontally–you carry the bag (and your netbook) in “portrait” instead of traditional “landscape” mode. The padding on the shoulder strap could be a bit wider, but otherwise it felt very comfortable. I was glad that the strap extended enough for me to be able to wear the case messenger-style, which just feels more secure to me.
The case I received fits netbooks or laptops up to 11 inches. My Dell Mini 9 is right at 9 inches and fits in the case with room to spare, which concerned me at first. However, the rubber pads in the laptop compartment, coupled with the strong elastic straps that hold the laptop in place, ensure that the Dell does not slide around once it is secured in the case. I really like that, because some case I have tried that fit a certain range of laptops are not usually so kind to the smaller ones in the range. If I am traveling with my netbook I don’t want it sloshing around inside its case! Although it feels like the netbook is super secure, I am picky and I wish the straps were adjustable so that I could really snug my netbook in there.
You can easily zip open the case and access the netbook without disturbing the other things inside, which is a must these days if you are traveling by air. I haven’t flown the friendly skies since I got the Mini 9, but remembering what a hassle it was to tote my laptop along pre-netbook makes me appreciate the easy access feature. You’ll be in and out of the security lines in no time.
The case is divided in two by a panel that separates the netbook from the rest of the case. You could probably stick a file or two, or a couple of magazines in the empty side of the case, but there is not a ton of room to spare. The case is rigid, so you won’t be able to over pack! For serial “but what if I need it?!” packers like me, that is actually a good thing.
The GRID-IT organizational system is by far my favorite feature of the case. The GRID-IT is a series of elastic straps that are secured vertically and horizontally across one side of the protective divider inside the Cocoon case. On my pre-production sample, the GRID-IT mistakenly faces inward towards the laptop, but in reality it faces out into the empty side of the case. I really love the concept behind the GRID-IT…it is fantastic for holding things like your iPod, cords, point and shoot cameras, mice or other small accessories, or even something like your wallet or phone. The one in the netbook case is obviously not as big as in a larger laptop case, but I was able to fit my iPhone, external hard drive, iPod nano, hard drive cable, iPod sync cable, headphones, and my favorite pen into the GRID-IT with no problem! I wish that my power cable for the Mini didn’t take up so much room on the GRID-IT…I can get it to fit just fine, but it doesn’t leave room for much else. This is where I have one tiny problem with the case–besides the GRID-IT, it has nowhere to store something like a power cable or other item without it just floating freely in the case. Depending on what you have on your GRID-IT, that might not work so well for you.
The other side of the divider is covered in a soft suede-like material that helps to further cushion the netbook and protect it from scratches. I like having that on top of the netbook because it just makes it feel that much more secure.
All in all, I thought that the Cocoon Innovations case was sturdy. well-designed, and attractive. The GRID-IT is so cool and unique that I think I will be looking into getting my own Cocoon case now that I have to send the sample back! It is worth it for the GRID-IT alone in my mind, not to mention protection that is a little more secure than my netbook banging around in a neoprene case inside my tote bag. I may also be getting a single GRID-IT (they can be purchased separately) for my work tote, because I would love a way to organize the random odds and ends that collect at the bottom of my bag.
The Cocoon Innovations netbook case, as well as the rest of the cases in the Cocoon line, are available starting TODAY from www.cocooninnovations.com.
What I liked: The GRID-IT organizational system, simple, sturdy and protective design, easy access to the netbook, comfortable, easy to carry.
What Needs Improvement: Wider pad on the shoulder strap, internal netbook straps are not adjustable, needs an internal pocket or two, more color choices for the case itself.
Where to Buy: Cocoon Innovations