Review: Targus 13.3-inch Ultralife thin edge sleeve

Mobile accessory vendor releases a compact sleeve targeting Ultrabooks

Remember when notebook were big, bulky and difficult to carry around? Larger notebooks, also known as “desktop replacements,” still exist, so this sentiment may still hold true, but the introduction of Ultrabooks means that portable PCs are more compact than ever before.

Dedicated notebook cases may no longer be appropriate for Ultrabook owners, though they still want to protect their expensive device from bumps and scratches. A popular way to carry around slim devices like Ultrabooks is with a sleeve, and American accessory vendor Targus has designed its Ultralife line-up for this purpose.

Slick and comfortable

The sleeve comes in simple, no nonsense packaging that quick and easy to open. The sleeve has a soft cotton canvas exterior that comes in the four colours (bone white/tan, charcoal, blue and plum).

The patches on the bottom of the sleeve and along the main flap are smooth, scratch-resistant grips lined with soft micro-suede. The grips are surprisingly comfortable to hold underarm and easy to clean with a cloth, and the main flap is held in place by magnets when closed.

The rear of the sleeve features a drop pocket for storing of essentials. How much can be stored depends on how much space the Ultrabook takes up, but it is fine for non-bulky cables or storage devices. The pocket is held in place with a small Velcro strip.

The sleeve has exterior dimensions of 38.1 x 1.3 x 27.9cm and can accommodate devices up to 32.5 x 1.8 x 22.6cm in size. The sleeve only weighs 0.299kg, and can be used either on its own or put into another bag for hands free carrying.

Surprisingly accommodating

The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix was used with the Targus sleeve, as it is a recently released Ultrabook that the product is targeting. The ThinkPad Helix provides an interesting test case, as it is not a typical notebook but a hybrid tablet PC.

Lenovo’s device measures at 29.61 x 2.4 x 18.73cm, so it is a bit thicker than a typical Ultrabook due to its two batteries. Despite the increased thickness, it managed to fit snugly into the case.

Targus has a reputation for designing sophisticated and stylish covers, and the Ultralife continues this trend. Being able to accommodate a larger Ultrabook in the sleeve shows how flexible it is.

The only shortcoming with the sleeve was the small Velcro strip on rear pocket instead of a full length one, which seemed a bit flimsy compared to the overall polish of the cover. It is also a premium product, so a potential buyer has to decide whether the premium price is worth the investment or not.

The Targus 13.3” Ultralife thin edge sleeve is available now and retails for $49.95. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty from Targus.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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