After focusing quite a bit of energy on the iPod and notebook computer accessory markets, the last year or so has been a quieter period for Targus: it all but sat out the second-generation iPod nano and shuffle, and we haven’t seen much for full-sized iPods or MacBooks either. This week, the company returned to its strengths in the laptop bag market, unveiling three new water-resistant Radius series cases for the Apple MacBook and 15” MacBook Pro, with pockets designed for iPods and other Apple accessories. We have lots of pictures and a few hands full of words to share.
The first two cases both look like backpacks, but only one actually is: the larger Radius Convertible Backpack for 13” MacBook and 15” MacBook Pro ($100), which is substantially larger and more compartment-laden than the smaller Vertical Messenger for 13” MacBook ($60). You could be forgiven for confusing the two: with the exception of the Convertible Backpack’s side pockets and added size, they’re both a lot alike, with zipper-pocketed front flaps, detachable arm straps, and a mix of black and tan 1680 polyester.
Over twenty additional photos and more details are here – click below or on the title for the rest of the story.
But Convertible Backpack has a lot more space inside. In addition to dedicated spaces for a card holder, Mighty Mouse, iPod, power supply, and more, and a MacBook or Pro-ready compartment, there’s a full padded, zippered pocket the size of the MacBook for something else, like a large book or notepad.
The Convertible gets its name from these two straps, which tuck into a zippered compartment if you’d prefer to carry it on your shoulder like a vertical messenger bag. One of the straps has a headphone cord manager for your iPod’s cords.
Each of the cases has a few nice touches that show off Targus’s attention to detail and highly customized metal and other components. Everything custom, from the Targus logos to the zippers, looks great, and the interior zippers have lock-ready holes if you want to secure them with separately sold mini-locks.
The Vertical Messenger bag is a stripped, smaller version of the Convertible Backpack, preserving most of the compartments—save for the zippered, padded middle one—while reducing the footprint to just fit the 13” MacBook, and losing the rear backpack straps entirely. This one’s only meant to be worn on one arm.
Finally, there’s the third bag—the standard Radius Messenger ($90), which is large enough to hold the 15” MacBook Pro or the 13” MacBook. Messenger keeps your computer in a horizontal orientation, with a shoulder strap like the one found on each of the other cases, and the same general appointments as the Vertical Messenger. A couple of pen holders are also found inside along the Apple accessory and business card compartments.
An interesting honeycomb-styled padded compartment with “nyflex” as the material is there to hold the MacBook without scratches, promises Targus. There’s also room in the compartment to store a notepad or book, with added width that’s more similar to the Convertible Backpack than the smaller Vertical Messenger.
The rear and sides of the case aren’t shocking, but it’s worth pointing out the presence of a mesh side pocket that’s large enough and dedicated to holding a water bottle. An identical pocket is found on the Convertible Backpack, but not the Vertical Messenger; both of the large bags also have zippered tan side pockets, as well.
Over the years, we’ve been impressed by the build quality and wide availability of Targus’s bags, and these new ones follow in the same traditions: they’re going to be ubiquitous and dependable options. Though the tan accent color has a certain businessman’s appeal, we could easily see alternately colored variants on these cases becoming popular with an even wider audience, while a miniature, MacBook-sized version of the Convertible Backpack could be a smash hit with girls. What do you say, Targus?