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Cocoon CLS456 13-inch laptop case review: Cocoon CLS456 13-inch laptop case

Cocoon CLS456 13-inch laptop case

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Dan Ackerman
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Dan Ackerman

Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a semi-regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

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We've reviewed our fair share of laptop cases over the years, and in the past year and a half we've seen (and reviewed) a good number of cases designed for Apple's iPad tablet. We've seen people shove laptops and tablets together into backpacks and messenger bags, but the $69 Cocoon CLS456 is the first case we've seen specifically designed to hold both a 13-inch laptop and a tablet at the same time.

Cocoon CLS456 - 13"
7.5

Cocoon CLS456 13-inch laptop case

The Good

Despite being a very small case, the <b>Cocoon CLS456</b> can hold both a 13-inch laptop and a tablet.

The Bad

The flat black nylon design is uninspiring, and there's not much room for power adapters and accessories.

The Bottom Line

If you're one of those people who need to tote a MacBook and iPad around at the same time, the Cocoon CLS456 is custom-made for you.

The basic black design is inoffensive, but not exactly upscale--it falls into the great middle ground of anonymous-looking nylon laptop cases. Still, the clean lines and lack of extraneous detailing make it fit for casual, academic, and corporate settings. At 13.75 inches by 9.75 inches, it's small, but just big enough to escape being called a man-purse (though it's a close call).

The pocketless main compartment is padded and holds a 13-inch laptop. While Cocoon pitches it as being for a MacBook, it'll fit many other 13-inch laptops, but a 14-inch HP Envy was just a little too big. On the front face of the bag, a second, smaller compartment is divided in two by a large pocket. One side can hold your iPad (or other tablet), while the other half can hold an included Grid-It board.

The Grid-It, another Cocoon product, is a flat, padded board, about the size of an iPad, covered on one side with horizontal and vertical elastic straps. The idea is that you slide small objects, from power adapters to headphones to sunglasses, into the straps, and it holds everything neatly and securely. Cocoon describes it as "a rubberized woven elastic object retention system for gadget organization."

The company makes several different sizes and styles of the Grid-It. With the CLS456, you get one that measures 9.25 inches by 7.25 inches. The Grid-It board is handy for keeping small items such as USB keys and headphones from getting lost in your bag, but fitting things into it can involve a lot of finger-flinging for a relatively modest reward.

There's also a long open pocket on the rear panel for papers or a magazine, and two elastic straps along the same rear panel to use as either hand straps or roller bag straps.

The case hangs from a simple adjustable nylon strap with a cushioned shoulder pad. The strap attaches via plastic clips to the left and right edges of the bag, but we would have liked to see an extra set of clip anchors on one side so the bag could be oriented vertically, in a saddlebag style, which often looks better with a smaller laptop case such as this.

The Cocoon CLS456 fits the definition of a niche product. If you're carrying both a laptop and a tablet around at the same time, you might be a little too dependent on technology (or you might work at CNET), but this inoffensive-looking bag manages to fit both devices in a surprisingly small footprint.

Cocoon CLS456 - 13"
7.5

Cocoon CLS456 13-inch laptop case

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 0