We’d all love to own the most beautiful gadgets in the world but sometimes irritating things like money and family members who don’t want us to blow it all on items that we don’t technically need can get in the way. Essentially, there’s two ways around this but, before you start planning the perfect murder, allow Pocket-lint to step in and help you out.
This being Style Week, we’ve got a few ideas instead on how to turn the kit you already own into fabulous looking items of aesthetic wonder that’ll make your co-workers and friends weep with envy. All of this at a fraction of the cost of buying something state of the art. So, what with today all about laptops, here are the best accessories to buy to make your laptop look beautiful.
The most obvious thing to do with your laptop if it doesn’t look very nice is to hide it in a bag. That way you can turn even the most hideous lump of grey plastic into a thing of beauty. Bags are also good in general for carrying computers about but, of course, that’s merely secondary.
Having said that this is a cheaper option than buying a new device, let’s start with where that might not be so true. If you’re serious about this, then your first port of call may as well be with the serious fashion designers who, these days, churn out bags with laptop compartments like there’s no tomorrow.
For men, Burberry run a superb line. For a full on man bag experience that you can carry around like a briefcase there’s there’s either the Smoked Check or Beat Nylon for something smooth but modern, more timeless tan leather option in the Push-Button and, if you really want to make a statement, the white Gladstone Canvas.
If you’d rather wear over the shoulder, then the Beat Nylon comes in a cross-body messenger bag style too as do the similar style in both Vintage Check and your classic Burberry Haymarket Check as well as a tan leather. All rather swish.
For women, it’s a case of whether you want to go for the classic Burberry Check or leather and are we talking bowling ball style or for the shoulder? Either way the London fashion design house has got you more than well covered with the likes of the Heritage Jacquard, Medium Vintage House Check and Medium Check Jacquard all looking tasteful as well as the Nova Check Bowling Bag if your laptop's on the small side. You’d best make the measurements. You’re looking at anywhere between £400-900 for any of this lot.
Naturally it’s a similar story with the likes of Gucci who do an excellent, if pricey, range of messenger bags for men and women. There are some other designers and bags that are more affordable, though, and just as stylish likes this pair from Radley in the shape of the Bloomsbury, for women, and the Workbag for men (if you’ve got guts, go with the purple, otherwise we’ll let you off with the black). Not at all bad for around £250.
Finally on the designer side, and probably most affordable of all without having to sacrifice on looks, is the wonderful collection for both men and women from tech bag specialist Knomo. As well as a host of tablet and phone cases, you can also pick up all sorts of fancy leather brief cases and more colourful, more shiny handbag styled versions. The site will let you search by laptop screen size as well as also having a specific Apple section if that’s the way you run. Particular Pocket-lint favourites would have to be the Bungo Messenger, Cholet, Paris, Kobe and one of the coloured Saxbys for something a little more funky with all of them coming in under £200 or thereabouts.
If the Knomo gang are still more than you’re looking to spend in the name of fashion, then there’s still plenty of options but naturally the quality begins to take a dip. Nonetheless, Pakuma has some colourful options around the £50 mark with the Choroka K3LT and K3; Port Designs do a good looking Indiana MacBook bag which is worth it for the name alone if not the safari adventure stylings and both Tech Air and Muji do decent looking messenger options. For women’s less expensive laptop bags you’d probably best head to Hama Nice, Krusell and the Port Designs Roma.
Of course, the final route, and possibly the kind of bag that’ll draw more comments than any others are handmade ones that most other people are highly unlikely to have. The place to head here is Etsy. It’s very simple. Just type laptop bag into the search and you’ll get in the region of 17,000 items to choose from from the kooky to the retro via the geek and the chic. The downside is that you’ll probably end up paying for shipping. The upside is that there’s some wonderfully creative crafters out there to persuade you to do so.
If you’d rather not commit to a whole bag, or you just don’t need one, then you’ll find the laptop sleeve market an excellent field for cooling up your computer. Luckily, Pocket-lint has already compiled its favourite ones out there but there are plenty more to choose from. Proporta is a good place to head. The laptop section allows you to search under your specific machine. Mainly focused on mobile phones, the selection isn’t what it could be and it rather depends on what laptop you use but there a certainly some crackers on the system.
The next step up from that is probably Wrappers who make sleeves from natural fibres that manage to look as incredible as they feel. Again, you can search by machine but what’s really nice is that the good people of the company will make bespoke ones from special patterns and materials that you choose as well.
Last of all, again, you can head back over to Etsy with this time just the 9,000 odd to sift through if you enter “laptop sleeve”. Hundreds of winners there just waiting to be bought. Try searching under geekery for something a little more amusing than swish. Stylish all the same, of course
Less invasive still than a bag, case or sleeve is simply a skin or decal as you might find it called. Essentially what we’re talking about is a sticker to slap on the back of your screen to make you machine turn instantly from plain and dull into pretty much anything you want it to be. Obviously they serve little in the way of protecting your computer but who cares about function in a week like this.
Wrappz is an excellent place to start. Choose your machine for a size match and then either pick from one of their thousands of designs (Hollywood icons, cameras, flags, patters, music acts) or upload something of your own be it a picture or a pattern. Around £20 and a few days later and it’ll arrive at your door ready to slap onto your machine and make it look ace.
Of course, Etsy can still help out with plenty of decals to choose from which tend to not occupy your entire laptop back cover. There’s around 4,000 to sift through this time but if even that’s too much of a stretch then why not just cover your laptop in any old stickers? Plaster it in enough and the effect you get is something like a comic book collage of randomness. A good look but perhaps something you’d only try with a machine that you don’t intend on keeping for too much longer.
Built-in speakers on laptops are largely rubbish and, while we’re obviously more concerned with form over function in Style Week, that doesn’t mean we’d ignore an opportunity to have both. You can sculpt speakers in all sorts of intriguing and artistic ways and ones made to plug into the 3.5mm jack of a computer are no exception. The choice is largely about whether you want your stylish sound for when you’re on the move or for your desk. Either way, Pocket-lint has investigated.
Desktop is where all the fun is frankly. There’s a lot more of them out there and they look great. It’s all about glass with Harman Kardon who have both the SoundSticks, which come with possibly the best looking sub we’ve ever seen, and the GLA-55 speakers (see what they did there) which look like a pair of icebergs. The former are a surprisingly affordable £150, or thereabouts, while the latter will set you back about as much as you paid for your laptop, if not more.
Your other main port of call for stylish dekstop audio is, naturally, from Bang & Olufsen who has the pyramid shaped BeoLab 4 speakers. They are another bank breaker though. Fortunately, Bose are much more reasonable and probably better sounding too. Head either for Bose Companion 3 or the properly suped-up Bose Cinemate GS Series II home theatre sound from your PC package. If you really need to keep your feet on the ground though, check out the JBL Creature III or Spot Black & White, or something like the Soyntec Voizze 330 speaker system.
Naturally, you'll take a cut in quality and style once you're looking for a portable solution but the iHome rechargeables do a decent job and look tasty in metallic red, the Philips SPA3251 are far better in white than the name suggest and the Razer Ferox system isn't too tatty either.
Last of all, there's the humble mouse to consider - well, short of a Hooters mouse mat that is. Yes, if you're after something that's more about style and you get your fingers in a cramp using you touchpad all the time, then there's a couple of options worth considering.
The pick of the bunch has to be either the unique aesthetics of the Microsoft Arc Touch or the familiar simplicity of the Apple Magic Touchpad. The next level down, if you can handle the complexity, is the Cyborg RAT 9 and beyond that it's probably a case of kitsch with either the Casio Calculator mouse or one of the vehicles from the Road Mice range. We'd go for the Camaro cop car but that's us.