Accessory Corner - Solo TCA511-4 Netbook Case

I have to admit that amongst the ton of accessories I see reviewed these days, it's very hard to find a (good) review on a notebook or netbook case. While I first saw the Solo TCA511-4 back in 2009, I didn't pay much attention to it until recently when looking at an 11.6" notebook. Yes, the Solo can fit an 11.6" netbook (or notebook) alongside a myriad of accessories to push your mobile productivity. Is this the perfect case for the netbook road warrior? Let's take a closer look!

Truth be told, I was first attracted to the Solo netbook case because of it's big capacity. Yet it's diminutive size seems to disguise all the room it has inside. Barely bigger than a traditional camera bag, this is probably the roomiest netbook case you will find today, with compartments big enough to store everything you could ever imagine taking along for use with a netbook. To prove that point, here's a list of everything I was able to cram into this useful little carry-along:

     -11.6" netbook
     -AC adapter with cord
     -2 spare netbook batteries (3 total)
     -Logitech trackball
     -external 2.5" hard drive with USB cord
     -external slim DVD burner with USB cord
     -ballpoint pen/stylus
     -USB thumb drive
     -compact digital camera
     -MiFi 3G modem
     -business cards
     -credit cards/hotel room key

11.6" netbook - fits like a glove!
I have to admit that's a lot of junk useful accessories to take along with just a netbook. But considering the impressive performance some 11.6" notebooks/netbooks today are able to deliver, you have in effect a full productivity arsenal that can rival a much bigger 14" or 15" notebook. What you end up carrying is a very small but potent productivity solution that can handle whatever you throw at it. Serious road warriors will appreciate what I'm talking about!

Trackball, 2.5" HDD and room to spare
The main compartment is just big enough to house a 11.6" netbook at 11.4 inches wide by 8 inches deep. The HP Pavilion dm1z I was using to test with is practically the limit for this case - even just 1/8 of an inch wider and it probably would not have fit, the spacing is so tight. That's kind of a blessing, however, since the dm1z is just half an inch wider on either side than most 10" netbooks. The second main compartment is split in two, letting you fit cords and other larger slim devices like a DVD burner, discs or a small booklet. Two smaller pockets here can accommodate a mouse/trackball and a 2.5" external hard drive nicely.

Room for batteries and AC adapter
Accessible from the side is a third large zippered compartment that can hold netbook batteries, AC adapter and/or an auto adapter. It's actually capable of accommodating as many as 4 spare batteries, but it will just as easily fit your AC adapter, 3-prong power cord and two spare batteries comfortably. Plenty to get you through a day or more of unplugged productivity, and then recharge when you get to an outlet.

Pen, thumb drive and pockets for cards
Finally the front section contains two slim pockets for business cards, memory cards, hotel room keys or a MiFi 3G modem. A narrow pocket in between these is just big enough to hold a USB thumb drive. Above these is an elastic loop for taking a pen/stylus/laser pointer along.

The handle is very thick and well padded. As light as everything is in this case, you will not feel the weight at all. For walking around all day, there's a shoulder strap with a padded leather shoulder pad to prevent slipping. The strap is long enough for you to sling the case around and wear it across your body much like a messenger bag, and is quite comfortable.

Goes flat for easy airport scanning
The really cool thing about this bag is that you can send it through scanners at the airport without having to take your netbook out. The bottom has a velcro strap that releases in a pinch, enabling the bag to lie flat and allow scanners to see your netbook separate from the other sections of the case. It should definitely speed up getting through checkpoints - important for folks that need to fly often.

Finally, the Solo case comes with a 5-year manufacturer warranty - good news for people who are on the move a lot and need not worry about their case falling apart any time soon.


The Solo TCA511-4 netbook case is an excellent choice for the netbook user looking to take more than just a few essentials along. It provides the ability to take everything you need to be productive for extended periods in a small and lightweight case that's very easy to carry. If accessories are something you use daily with your netbook, this case should be high on your list of must-have items.

Alternatively, it is one of only two netbook cases I know of that will fit an 11.6" netbook - at least the HP dm1z. That said, it was a very snug and tight fit, with no wiggle room left at all. If you're in the market for a 11.6 inch netbook case, I suggest you take a look at the Solo. But don't go shopping blindly - do what I did and take your notebook/netbook along and make sure it actually fits before buying. I picked mine up at my local Office Depot for $39, but you can get better pricing if you hunt online.


No comments:

Post a Comment