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Macworld - Whether you've begun your first year of college or your last year of graduate school, chances are good that you're hauling a laptop along for the ride. Portable computers excel at many things: They're lightweight, they have great battery life, and they're much easier to fit into a backpack than an iMac. But in being so mobile, they're also much more susceptible to dings, falls, smudges, and--worst of all--drink spills. Here's how to keep your laptop fit and functional.
Protection in the bag
As you frantically dash from one class, event, or party to another, your methods of putting away your laptop and its power cord may be frantic, too.
Backpack buffer To save your poor computer from being crushed between a full load of "Intro to Psych" books and the sharp edges of your keys, outfit it with one of Moshi's iGlaze cases (11- and 13-inch MacBook Air; $60). Each case consists of two ultrathin plastic covers for the top and bottom of your computer that snap right on and keep it shielded from incidental scars and scratches. The case comes in translucent, white, and black, too, so you can choose the style that suits you.
Customize your laptop, while also protecting it from scratches, with a laptop decal such as this one from GelaSkins.
Dapper defense If you want something more fashion-friendly, browse through the laptop decals on GelaSkins (most Apple laptops; $20 to $30). The company features artwork from contemporary artists around the globe as well as classic works by Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, and Gustav Klimt. The decals adhere to the top case of your laptop and offer light protection from scratches while making your laptop look fancy. You can also create a custom skin using your own artwork or photography.
Thin scratch protection Looking for an in-between option--something less bulky than a snap-on case, but a little more rugged than a decal? Check out BodyGuardz' Carbon Fiber Armor (current MacBook models; $50). Available in black, white, and red, this PVC-based textured film adheres to your laptop much like a GelaSkin, but provides a tough surface that keeps the Mac underneath scratch-free.
A case like no other Another fun option for protection is Twelve South's BookBook (current MacBook models; $80 to $100), a hardback leather case for the MacBook Pro that looks just like a book. It's padding, it's camoflauge, and it's a literary statement, all in one.
Also worth considering is SFBags' CitySlicker (11-, 13-, and 15-inch MacBook models; $129 to $149). This very thin, compact case fits easily in a backpack and sandwiches your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with Retina Display in layers of impact-resistant plastic, neoprene, and padding. The outer flap is a low-key, attractive leather panel.
Protection at the desk
If you're the typical laptop lugger, you type everywhere: at the library, on the lawn, at the dining hall, and quite possibly at 3 a.m. in the morning while munching popcorn. As such, it's not unlikely that your keyboard will get gummy, your screen smudged, and your ports dirty.
Originally published on www.macworld.com. Click here to read the original story.