Armored Laptop Protection for travel, business, and working overseas
Travel Gear Review for: Thule Gaunlet Pro 2.0 Laptop Case / Sleeve
For: 15″ MacBook Retina Pro | 15″ Macbook Pro
Cost: Approx. $50.00, on sale: $20.00
Travel Gear Rating: **** (Four stars) out of five
Thule Laptop Sleeve – The Gaunlet 2.0 Pro Sleevecase
Thule has been making great cases for laptops and mac-users for quite a while now. And they are especially known for making tough cases that can take quite a bit of abuse while protecting your valuable laptop from scratches, bumps, drops and more. The Gaunlet 2.0 has unique styling very reminiscent of the “Toughbook” line of computers and is an “always-on,” semi-rigid, optional sleeve, that is also easily removable. A newer video can be found here, but I like the styling of the Gaunlet 2.0 better. The later version looks more like an armored photography case or “luggage” in my opinion, where the model reviewed looks more like a “Toughbook.”
As a “sleeve,” the Gaunlet 2.0 Pro has no carry handles and no “D” rings to attach a shoulder strap (The new Thule Gauntlet 15″ MacBook Pro Attaché does however if that’s a deal breaker for you.) Therefore you should anticipate carrying it in a larger bag such as a messenger bag or backpack. Since the case is very slim, it should fit into most bags without a problem.It may however make pulling your laptop out of your bag a bit more cumbersome unless your bag has a wide opening. Since I use a Waterfield Cargo messenger bag or my Greenroom136 JunkMonkey messenger bag alternately, I have not had any problems at all carrying it and the added weight is negligible.
Thule includes an inner velcro strap to help secure the laptop within the sleeve but since I always leave my computer on and ready for use, I dislike using the strap that way and it usually just sits under the laptop when not being used to secure manila folders, magazines or papers when traveling. This brings up a slight issue I have with this case/sleeve. Since I like keeping the sleeve “always-on,” I noticed that the sides of the clamshell case are too tall to allow the magnetic power cord to attach or the USB or earphone slots to be used without propping up the laptop by shoving something underneath it a quarter of an inch or so. When traveling, magazines or other work materials do the job nicely by raising the computer high enough that the very rigid sides of the sleeve do not block the ports.
The zippers, the materials, the flap of materials that cover (and protect) the zippers, and the velcro straps which hold the top of the case upright when using the laptop in the sleeve are all made of quality materials and work well/make me happy. The lining of the case is some sort of soft patterned microfiber. The zipper pulls are covered against scratches and feature a loop so that they are securable, however as the materials is a type of plastic, I imagine it can easily be cut with scissors even when the pulls are locked shut.
Lastly, there are no pockets and little storage in the sleeve itself. While I could fit my 15″ Retina Mac with the Spec case (below) snapped on inside of the Thule, there is not much room for anything else (maybe two magazines, or one slim notebook drive and a cable). Care should be taken so that nothing inside the case rubs or puts uneven pressure on your laptop.
What I like:
- The armored “Toughbook” look – The newer cases have diagonal lines pressed into the manufacturing of the case. I prefer the “look” and styling of the Gauntlet 2.0 but that is a personal preference (Just be aware that each iteration of Thule cases have looked somewhat different when looking to purchase)
- Slim profile when slipping this case into my messenger bag
- Nice materials inside and out. Tough, easy to clean, easy to grip,…
- Ability to easily open this laptop case at the airport TSA line and turn it on without removing from the case
- Its superior protection against the elements/accidents – Dust, water, rain, bumps
- Secure, high quality zippers, rubberized seal/flap to keep out dust/moisture and secured zipper pulls/stays
- The elastic side straps that hold the lid in place so it doesn’t flop over
What I dislike:
- The clamshell case has too tall of sides (equal top and bottom) so that the powercord will not fit and USB 3.0 slot has considerable tension when the cord is plugged in without raising the laptop inside the case
- Not much room for accessories – No room for power cord, mouse,…
- No pockets outside or inside, no pen pocket
- No foam surrounding laptop for shock absorption
- No handle or optional “D” rings for shoulder strap
- The price which is about the same as other sleeves and hard shells out there
Summary of Thule Laptop Sleeve:
The Thule Laptop Sleeve is a nice case for travel protection that opens easily for the TSA or for work without removing from the sleeve. Good for planes and for working in tight quarters on your lap. The case keeps otherwise hot laptops off of your legs and looks very tough/”man-ly” while doing so. While I didn’t do any “drop-tests” or impact tests with my laptop enclosed, the protection on the sides and top/bottom seems ample enough. There is no foam cushioning or pockets in this slimcase and no handles or straps to carry it by.
It is truly a laptop “sleeve,” so it will need to be carried in a larger bag, but it is pretty slim and it should fit in most messenger bags or backpacks.
The inner velcro strap can be used to further secure your laptop or as an organizer-type “pocket” to hold magazines, papers or manila folders securely. This also boosts the Macbook Pro so that a charger can be plugged in or headphones, USB 3.0 slot or SD Card slot.
Along with the Speck snap-on “See-thru” hard case (http://www.speckproducts.com/seethru-satin-for-macbook-air.html) (which also fits inside the THULE Gauntlet 2.0), one of the better sleeves or “Always-On” cases you can buy. For $50.00, it seems a little pricey to me, but as the Spec cases run approx. $50. as well, I guess that’s the price of protection these days.