'Book Value

Laptop Sleeve Shootout: RadTech Tekstyl Omni Case

Charles Moore - 2009.08.10 - Tip Jar

Rating: 3.5 out of 4

While it's convenient to have a notebook case, bag, or backpack big enough to pack lots of your stuff in, a commodious bag can get heavy and tedious to lug around and into meeting rooms and offices. Sometimes what you really need is lightweight protection for the computer itself. After all, a good notebook is a self-contained computing platform (at least as long as the battery holds out). Semi-rigid slipcases provide more protection than a soft fabric sleeve case, but without the bulk and weight of a full-sized computer briefcase or backpack.

The focus of this pair of reviews (the other looks at the iSkin SOHO Sleeve Portfolio) is two variations on that theme, sharing some similarities, but definitely different interpretations of what the ideal for lightweight and compact notebook carrier should be.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop Case

The Tekstyl Omni SM Laptop is an internally armored work-in slip case from RadTech that packs an awful lot of practical innovation into its slim and compact dimensions, as well as a greater degree of protection than you might be anticipate with a case of this type.

For example, even though the Omni is only two inches thick, it's skinned with rugged 1680D ballistic waterproof Nylon, and its "Pro - Frame" embedded rigid plastic impact-absorbing 1.6mm high-density polyethylene armor plating parameter rib can withstand 100 pounds of compression, protecting the laptop inside from crush damage.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop CaseThen there are its two handles - one on top where one would be expected for briefcase-style carriage, and a second handstrap on the bottom for an extra-secure grip when you're carrying the slip case underarm. A detachable 2.5cm (1") wide minimalist shoulder strap also lets you carry the Omni as a shoulder bag.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop CaseThe computer is held in place inside the slip case by four elasticized retention straps the stretch over the palm rest and upper display corners, plus two tension straps with quick release buckles.

The Omni's stay-on configuration makes it unnecessary to remove the laptop from the case in order to use it with unrestricted port, slot, and drive access. Just unzip the bottom panel and open the computer with the elastic straps still in place - and it can be quickly put away again. The sides of the case also serve as a bit of a screen hood if you're working in a brightly lighted area.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop CaseThe case is convertible, so if you do need to get the 'Book out, just unzip the top-loading flap and pop the tension strap buckles for quick and easy extraction.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop CaseIf you're working on a desk or table surface, the Omni case has a built-in laptop stand feature in which the top-load flap has a Velcro-secured fold out leg that can be deployed to create a triangular support which raises the back of the computer about 1-1/2 inches off the support surface. Just unzip the flap all the way, spin it under, and pop the Velcro to allow the second support "leg" to flip out.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop CaseWhen using the laptop in the Omni case, the tension strap buckles serve double duty as "feet" to lift the bottom of the laptop clear of the bottom panel, allowing air convection for improved cooling. You also have 360° access to the computer's ports at the sides and front, and through the top load aperture at the back when it is deployed as a stand support.

As for the construction and architecture of the case itself, as noted above, the main panel surfaces inside and out feature embedded, impact-absorbing 1.6mm high-density polyethylene armor plating throughout, covered with tough (but soft) waterproof ballistic 1680D nylon fabric, with the inner compartment padded with closed-cell foam all round.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop CaseThe handles and side panels are covered with a rubbery plastic material that provides good grip traction. Quality YKK zippers are used throughout. The adjustable 2.5cm wide shoulder strap is included and has quick release clips for removal when it's not needed.

While there is no internal storage space for anything other than the computer, the bottom panel has a full-width pocket with Velcro closures that accommodates letter-size media up to 2 cm thick, while the outer top panel has a side-loading document pocket.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop CaseThe Omni case, which is designed in America but assembled in China and is well-constructed, with neat stitching and no loose threads or other quality issues noted in the test unit. The case comes with a five-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship.

In general, this is a slick and attractive little laptop case with a lot of functional versatility, tastefully simple in appearance, but with an amazing number of cool and practical features. Being not much larger than the computer it holds (main laptop dimensions of this SM model - 11.75" x 9.5" x 1.5"), it can also be slipped easily inside a larger backpack or briefcase for an extra level of protection.

Tekstyl Omni Laptop CaseI really didn't find much of anything to criticize or complain about with the Tekstyl Omni slip case. If you're looking for a lightweight, compact case to protect your 'Book, give this one some consideration.

TekStyl Omni Features:

  • Omni is TSA Checkpoint Friendly
  • Entire unit protected by shock absorbing plastic and closed-cell foam armor
  • Open sided design and rear flap provide full port, slot and drive access
  • Two surface-mounted handles and removable, minimalist shoulder strap
  • Dual elastic corner retention straps keep notebook firmly located
  • 1680D ballistic nylon exterior is waterproof and durable
  • Ergonomic keyboarding riser stand deploys in seconds
  • Top-grade YKK zippers used throughout

Omnis are available in two sizes and six colors, and will fit most sub-17in. notebooks.

  • Small - 12" 13" Standard - $42
  • Large - 13" Widwscreen-15" - $45

Coiors

  • Navy and PinkNavy +Pink
  • Silver + Black
  • Black + Gray

Omni Specs:

  • Material: 1680D Waterproof Nylon
  • Fits: Most 12 - 15in Notebooks
  • Ext Dimensions:
    • SM: 34 x 28.5 x 4.0cm
    • LG: 38 x 31.0 x 4.0cm
  • Int Dimensions:
    • SM: 31.0 x 23.0cm
    • LG: 35.0 x 25.0cm
  • Weight:
    • SM: 530g
    • LG: 660g

Conclusion

So which of these slipcases is the best choice for you? As usual, it depends. I like the upscale look of the SOHO, and I love that bright, plush lining and the contrasting color stitching on the outside. it is arguably the one to go with if you will be carrying it in business or other environments where professional style is an important priority. Not that the Omni isn't stylish, but it has a more sporty, utilitarian flavor.

On the other hand, I have to give the Omni the edge for practical functionality, with its clever "laptop stand" conversion feature, more secure attachment of the case to the computer, its multiple carry mode options, and the provision of at least that outside pocket for carrying a few incidentals.

The Omni also has to get the nod for a higher degree of protection for the computer, thanks to its heavier armoring, and the fact that it sells for $13 to $15 less than the SOHO doesn't hurt either, although the prices are close enough that they won't likely be the deciding factor for most buyers.

Ultimately, it boils down to which one suits your needs and tastes the best. They're both thoughtfully designed, attractive, and well-made products, and I'm rating them both 3.5 out of 4.

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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