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Targus Armoured Notebook Case review: Targus Armoured Notebook Case

The TANC is a tad bulky, but it's a reasonable price to pay for the protection it could afford your child's school laptop.

Pam Carroll
Former editor of CNET Australia, Pam loves being in the thick of the ever-growing love affair (well addiction, really) that Australians have with their phones, digital cameras, flat screen TVs, and all things tech.
Pam Carroll
3 min read

Editor's note: unfortunately, only after we reviewed this product were we informed that you cannot purchase it through normal retail outlets — it is available through bulk order only. Five case sizes are available ranging from AU$64.95 for a 10.2-inch case to AU$99.95 for a 15.6-inch case, but these prices are based on a minimum order quantity of 1000 units. Prices may vary due to order size or customisation with school logos/colours. Parents wanting to purchase a TANC will need to contact their child's school or Targus customer service.

7.5

Targus Armoured Notebook Case

The Good

Robust enough to withstand a surprising amount of weight and general abuse.

The Bad

It adds bulk which somewhat negates the portability benefits of a netbook. Cases are only available through bulk orders.

The Bottom Line

The TANC is a tad bulky, but it's a reasonable price to pay for the protection it could afford your child's school laptop.

We don't review laptop bags very often, as for the most part, choosing one basically boils down to a matter of personal taste and style.

We made the exception with the Targus Armoured Notebook Case (TANC), as it's been designed specifically to protect the netbooks being issued by the State Education Departments to school kids throughout Australia. Would any kind of bag be able to stand up to the rigours of a daily school commute?

Design and features

A basic black top loading case, it's designed to fit inside school bags, and not to be used as an external carry case. It also features a sturdy zipper and D-rings, which can be personalised with tags or key-charms to identify the owner. Options such as handles, shoulder straps and colours other than black are available (subject to price increases based on order quantity).

For heavy-duty protection, Targus collaborated with Don Morgan, the 2007 winner of ABC TV's The New Inventors program for his "Cone-head" shock-absorbing liner for motorcycle and bicycle helmets. Together they came up with a new (patent pending) system of padded layering to reinforce the protective shell.

Performance

According to independent tests by Access UTS, a company owned by the University of Technology, Sydney, the TANC can be dropped from a height of 1.2 metres and can be compressed by a weight of up to 50kg without damaging the laptop inside.

So how to test its claims? Even with as many notebooks as we have floating around the CNET offices, our tech support staff were not keen on the idea of intentionally trying to break one. As the next best option, we settled on seeing what kind of protection it could offer some hard boiled eggs. Given that an egg carton is wider than a laptop case, the methodology has some flaws, but the results were interesting nonetheless.

First we placed it under a large stack of text books and then stuffed it into a typical school backpack. The shells of the test eggs showed nary a crack. Not bad.

It will support a heavy load of text books with ease, but it takes up a fair bit of space in the school bag. Click to see larger images. (Credit: Pam Carroll/CNET Australia)

Next we had a 69-kilo Year 10 boy stand atop the case for a few minutes. Checking the carton, only one of the nine hard-boiled eggs inside had cracked and it had been on the outside edge. Fairly impressive.

Should kids stand and sit on the case? No. Will they? Probably. Only one egg shell inside cracked after we had 69kg of teenage boy atop it. Click to see larger images.(Credit: Pam Carroll/CNET Australia)

Finally, we went all out and played rugby with it for about 10 minutes. After a succession of passes, drop-kicks, and attempts to make it bounce ala an AFL restart, we checked the eggs a final time. Of the remaining eight eggs inside the zipped TANC, only three had cracked.

Does this guarantee that the case will protect a laptop from whatever abuse the kids may decide to put it through? Well, no — but it should hold up fairly well in the day-to-day school bag grind.

Unfortunately, there is no incorporated GPS device, to help locate cases left at the bus stop.(Credit: Pam Carroll/CNET Australia)