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(Pocket-lint) - Look around the web and you’ll find no end of security locks for your laptop. Every conceivable variation has been thought of and sold, from the most basic wire and a padlock through to devices with motion sensors and whooping alarms.

Somewhere in-between is the PC Guardian Retractable Laptop Security Lock which does pretty much what it says on the packet.

Designed with travellers in mind, the 138g unit which measures 125mm x 50mm x 25mm, will easily fit into your pocket or bag.

Operating like one of those retractable tape measures, you can pull up to 1m 27cm of aircraft quality, multi-strand, steel cable from its innards. Loop the cable around an immovable object such as the leg of your typical airport bench seats (make sure the seat can’t be lifted up, or it won’t work, numbnuts) back through the handle of the PC Guardian and then simply push the self-locking button to secure it to your notebooks built-in security slot.

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Simple, and very effective. Unless the casual thief comes equipped with bolt cutters, and that is highly unlikely in an airport scenario.

You don’t get the added security of a combination lock to release your notebook from its secure bondage, unfortunately. Instead it’s a small barrelled key affair, but the chances of someone else having the right key to open your lock are supremely remote.

PC Guardian need the key serial number in order to send you a replacement, and this is a four-digit number which suggests plenty of key combos out there.

The only problem is the cost which, at £41, is £17 more than a lighter Kensington MicroSaver Notebook Lock and £34 more than a budget Belkin with its padlock and key approach.

Yes, you get a much neater device for travelling, but the actual security proposition isn’t a whole heap different between devices. They all work by wrapping a cable around an immovable object and so securing the notebook within the loop.

Despite this being very secure, the real deterrent is a visual one as most airport thefts are simple snatch and run affairs. It’s like having a beware of the dog sign or a burglar alarm box on the wall of your house - the casual thief just moves to another easier target. And that means you are just as likely to put the thief off with the £7 budget Belkin as you are the state of the art PC Guardian.


If portability and design are as important to you as security then the clever PC Guardian fits the bill.

Unfortunately, the £7 Belkin cable and padlock might not look as nice, but it can be stuffed into a small bag and is also more than up to the job.

Which makes recommending the PC Guardian a very tough job indeed.

Writing by Davey Winder.