Kensington MicroSaver Keyed Retractable Notebook Lock review

3.5 out of 5
£40

For

Quick to lock, flexible, convenient for travel

Against

Cable will be easy to cut, pricey

If you are a mobile worker, then your worst nightmare is losing your laptop. One opportunist will see your work, research, contacts, perhaps even confidential documents, running away from you. Can the Kensington MicroSaver Keyed Retractable Notebook Lock be enough of a deterrent to put thieves off?

When you think of notebook security, Kensington instantly spring to mind. This is because they are the world’s number one seller of notebook locks, and when you bought your shiny new laptop, you probably saw that it had a Kensington lock slot.

The Retractable Notebook Lock is exactly what it sounds like, a retractable cable lock with a key, allowing you to quickly secure your notebook. Cunningly the whole thing looks like a giant padlock, the bottom half of which contains the cable spool, the top a tempered steel loop that you can pass the cable through once you’ve looped it around something secure, like a radiator.

The main attachment to the laptop you are looking to secure sits neatly within the top loop when stowed, so you don’t have to deal with a cable tangled up with everything else in your bag, making it ideal for travel.

As a keyed lock, all you have to do is insert the key, offer it up to your Kensington lock slot on your PC and turn. This twist in the T-bar, locking fast together. The attachment has a rubber cuff on the inside, so if you have just forked out on an expensive new Mac, it won’t scratch up the surroundings. The cable attachment then is free to rotate around the lock mechanism, which prevents people simply twisting the whole thing to break the lock off.

The lock mechanism also has a tamper evident feature, so if someone does try and pick your lock, you’ll be able to tell just by looking at it. But the lock then goes into lockdown and you’ll have to call Kensington to find out how to unlock it. You are also urged to register your key, which has a code stamped on the side. This will stop anyone being able to obtain a copy of your key.

Verdict

There is 4ft/122cm of plastic-covered steel cable in the spool, which should be plenty for you to lock up whilst you are out and about. Whilst the cable is rather thin, we subjected it to the most likely form of attack: vigorous jerking. No amount of pulling it around made any difference to it, but did leave us with sore hands.

But then the cable is pretty thin and this is where you have to accept compromises. You’d be able to cut it with a decent pair of wire cutters, the sort you could carry in your bag if you were an industrious thief. This lock isn’t designed to stand up to that sort of attack, it is aimed at quick security on places where people with wire cutters are unlikely to be – an airport lounge, coffee shop or library for example. This isn’t a home security option either for the same reason, so it shouldn’t be considered in those terms.

What this lock does, really well, is sit at the bottom of your bag until that moment when you want to pop over to the counter to get another espresso, without leaving your machine unguarded on the table.

Portable and convenient, it is a little pricy, but if it stops someone running off with your laptop, it might well be a price worth paying.