OtterBox is well known for making protective cases for portable media devices. Recently they introduced a larger protective case for laptops. Actually, there are 3 cases for different sized laptops and these cases are supposed to provide drop, crush and water protection..
- Cases fit up to 17″ screens
- Waterproof seal protects from the elements
- Rugged case that will protect your PC from drops
- Unconditional lifetime guarantee
The OtterBox case for laptops comes in three sizes and supports 3 sizes of laptops. The smallest, 7020, will support up to 13″ screens, the middle one, 7030, will support up to a 15″ screen and the largest, 7040, will support up to a 17″ screen. Because you usually want to put more than just the laptop in the case you may want to consider buying the size larger than the one you need.
The outside of the case is made out of durable plastic. The plastic is very hard and perfect for providing impact resistance. The case is very tough and is rated to handle crushing forces of a person standing on it as well as impact forces of dropping it. A rubber handle makes it easy to carry, and latches covered in rubber provide good texture and provide a good grip, especially when wet. The latches are heavy duty and do a great job of holding the case together and keeping it sealed from water. There is also a lock which has a key. This lock serves two purposes, it can keep the case closed if the latches open, and it also keeps other people out of your stuff.
There is also a shoulder strap that is included. This strap clips on the side of the case with heavy duty, swiveling clips. In the middle of the strap is a soft neoprene pad, this pad is great for providing a bit of comfort and it also seems to absorb a bit of shock while you carry it.
On the inside you will find the interior coated with Velcro. The Velcro is soft so it will keep the contents from getting banged up or getting scratched. There are also several sets of bumpers that are meant to fit around the corners of a laptop to keep it secure. These bumpers are made of rubber and have Velcro on the bottom to secure it to the case. There is also a strap that goes across the laptop that has Velcro to keep it together.
When you first see this case you will notice how bulky it looks. You don’t buy a protective case for its looks. In fact, I don’t think that any of the protective cases from OtterBox are very good looking, but they do a great job of protecting your equipment. This case is not only bulky, but when you lift it you will also feel how heavy it is. This case looks rugged and feels rugged. This is an fairly heavy case and is not for the faint of heart or the weak in arms.
On the back of the case is a cable slot with a rubber plug, this plug can be used to insert cables into the case so you don’t have to remove the laptop before you can use it; keep in mind that while this plug is open the case is not waterproof. It may be easier to take the laptop out of the case if you have a lot of cables to attach. Trying to type on the laptop keyboard while it is in the case is not very comfortable.
On the bottom of the case up by the handle are two small holes with the words “Water Drain System” written above them. I am not sure why a water proof case would need drain holes, but because of the close proximity to the lock it looks like it drains water from the lock mechanism. This makes sense because the lock is not waterproof and if you got water in the lock you would want it to drain.
On either side of the case are loops where you attach the shoulder strap. The loops are made out of plastic and they rotate so that the shoulder strap can always be in the correct position. The shoulder strap itself has metal clips that swivel; this prevents the shoulder strap from getting tangled up. In the middle of the shoulder strap is a soft neoprene shoulder pad. This is the same material that wet suites are made out of so this is also ok to get wet.
The dimensions of the cases are as follows: Model 7020 has external dimensions of 14.3″ x 13″ x 3″ and the maximum laptop size supported (with the standard bumpers) is 12″ x 9.75″ x 1.75″, Model 7030 has external dimensions of 16.375″ x 14.5″ x 3.375″ and the maximum laptop size supported (with the standard bumpers) is 14.2″ x 11.2″ x 1.9″, and Model 7040 has external dimensions of 18.25″ x 15.25″ x 4.5″ and the maximum laptop size supported (with the standard bumpers) is 17″ x 13″ x 2.25″.
To fit your notebook into the case, you can use one of three different shapes of rubber bumpers attached to Velcro panels. The Velcro used in the case is very strong, so you don’t have to worry about the bumpers coming loose. An additional strap on the inside can be fastened across the notebook to keep it nestled within the bumpers. It is highly recommended that you use the strap because there may be extra room at the top of the case that could allow the laptop to come loose.
It is a very tight fit when you put your laptop into the case, and there is not much room for anything else. If you plan on taking your power or other cords with you, you may want to consider getting the next size up so that you have more room. If you already have a 17″ laptop you are out of luck because OtterBox doesn’t offer a bigger size, and you may need to carry a separate bag with your cords in it. Depending on how thick your laptop is there may be room on top of the laptop for something. You will want to wrap them up though, so they don’t scratch the top of your laptop.
Testing a case like this is difficult because you want to test all its capabilities without going so far that you break your own laptop. After receiving the case I did get an email from OtterBox indicating that the case I got was a pre-production model and not waterproof. So I will not be testing if this case is waterproof. OtterBox promised that all production models would be waterproof.
The laptop that I used in this case is a Dell Inspiron 8000. As you can see from the picture above, the laptop barely fits in the case. When properly fit the laptop does not have any wiggle room. The first test I performed was to stand on the case. I only weigh about 150 lbs., but unless you are driving over the case with a car, I cannot imagine many things you will set on the case that weight more than that. When I stood on the case it did not flex at all. I even tried jumping on the case, which would apply much more pressure. When I jumped on the case it did give a little, but not enough for the top of the case to touch the laptop.
The next test I performed was a water test. Because of the warning I mentioned above from OtterBox, I will not be submerging the case in water. Instead I took the case outside and put a hose on it. When I was done hosing it down I dried off the outside and opened it up. The inside was dry, at least the case is water resistant, which means if you happen to drop it in a stream it will probably be ok if you get it out quickly. Of course all the production models that you will have access to will be waterproof, so dropping it in water will not be a concern.
Wow, this is what I am talking about when I say I wish a company would stand by its products. OtterBox provides an unconditional lifetime guarantee. This means if you drop it and break it, drive a car over it, or do anything to it, OtterBox will replace it. Unfortunately they do not warranty what is inside the case, but hopefully the case does its job and sacrifices itself for the contents.
If you are in the market for a really tough case for your laptop you will definitely want to give the OtterBox laptop case a try. It does a really good job of protecting the contents against crushing, impact, and water. When choosing the size keep in mind all the things you want to carry with it and get the size that will fit it all. Not all models are currently available, but if you go to the OtterBox website and give them your email address they will notify you when the case is available. Currently the prices are as follows: Model 7020 has an MSRP of $149.95, Model 7030 has an MSRP of $169.95, and Model 7040 has an MSRP of $189.95.
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