When it comes to your own data, the persistent message is backup, backup, backup. It’s never been easier, and it’s certainly never been cheaper, whether you backup to the cloud or to an external storage device, or even both for the sake of added security. But what about the protection of your investment in technology hardware?
The people who sell you laptops, tablets and smartphones are all very happy to extol their virtues when you’re on the verge of buying them, but they’re a little less forthcoming when it comes to limitations. Except in one instance, and that’s the instance where those limitations can make them a little bit more money.
There’s a very healthy market in add-on peripherals for laptops, smartphones and tablets to add a little protection, and if you’re lucky a little style to your purchases. I can’t speak to style, because that’s a very individual thing, and what somebody consider garish may be the height of cool to others.
On the protective front, however, there’s no shortage of bags, cases, covers, screen protectors and other peripherals that increase your purchase price at the till in return for offering a degree of protection. Quite how much protection is up to you, with anything from wafer-thin screen protectors that’ll only cover a simple scratch all the way up to tank-like cases that can stand serious immersion and water pressure in the event of more serious mishaps.
They’re not just a tool for inflating the cash register intake of tech merchants, mind you. At least anecdotally, I see a lot of devices — mostly phones — with smashed screens, and I always wince at the users who stubbornly use them regardless. It’s like I can visualise the glass slivers going into their fingers, but maybe that’s just my overactive imagination at work. In any case, a decent protective case can help deal with these kinds of issues, and you don’t have to stop with just protecting your smartphone. It’s really just a matter of applying the right tool for the job.
As a small scale example, the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S5 already has a few third party cases available for it, but, leaving style aside, I doubt they’ll sell all that well. The S5 is both dust and water resistant to a very healthy level, making a case purpose a rather dubious proposition.
On the the larger scale, I’ve recently been evaluating STM’s Drifter Backpack. You might be tempted to think that a backpack is just a backpack, and anything that can fit a laptop within it is suitable for purpose. To an extent you would be right, up until the point that you dropped it. The Drifter borrows a few tricks that camera-specific bags have known about for ages, with specifically padded and protected pockets for multiple devices. The style of a backpack won’t suit everybody — again, it’s really all about the right tool for the right situation, and I can’t imagine going into most business meetings with a backpack on my back — and like dedicated camera bags you do pay a premium for this protection over a regular backpack or laptop bag.
Still, even at the asking price, it can be well worth it if it saves a thousand dollar laptop from becoming a thousand dollar paperweight.