(My WordPress dashboard recently reminded me that I’ve had this post in “draft” since December last year, so I figured it really was time to dust it down, finish it off and get it “out of the door”. So, here it is…)
One problem with the Asus Eee 701 series, is its size. No, not in the sense that it’s “too small”—as a former Psion computer user, I have no issue on that front—but in that the drive away from “real” “netbooks” towards “small laptops” (a personal “high horse” of mine), Asus and its competitors have left the 701 in a bit of a class of its own on the dimensions front.
Put it another way: most carrying bags advertised as being “netbook”-sized, will usually have a bit more space than ideal after you’ve placed an Eee 701 into it. That may suit some 701 owners; however, I wanted a more “tailored” solution, so I set out to locate a carrying bag designed specifically for the 701, which wouldn’t break the proverbial bank. How did I fare?
Well, thanks to those nice folks at Belkin, I’m pleased to say: very nicely, as they sell a padded carrying bag for “7-inch netbooks” (which effectively means just the Eee 701 these days). I picked up Belkin’s snappily-titled F8N084eaBLK (Belkin really do go for the easy-to-recall model numbers, don’t they?) for about £10 in the UK, and for the past few months—let’s get straight to the point—it has given sterling service on the protection/portability front for my 701.
Gripes out of the way first, and there’s only really one in my book. The F8N084eaBLK (or “F8” hereafter 🙂 ) is small—really small—and certainly a “snug fit” for the 701; I feel it looks more likely to contain books than a laptop. Whilst this is great in some respects, it means there’s not much room for the multitude of accessories one tends to need for the 701. Once I’ve bagged the 701, I can just squeeze in my Freecom USB portable hard drive and a few cables, but anything over and above this will give the impression the bag is about to burst, so I don’t “push it”.
This means in practice that unless I’m really “travelling light”, I use the F8 more as a “protective sleeve” for my 701, and put it inside my larger bag with the 701’s mains power adapter and other bulkier accessories.
I know this may sound an odd arrangement, but it actually works for me. The F8 keeps the 701 from being “beaten up” in the larger bag, and if I just want to take the 701 somewhere and don’t need all the other items, the F8 does the job well there too, with its carrying handles and removable shoulder strap giving you the choice of “carry-style”.
In summary: the Belkin F8N084eaBLK fits the bill nicely if you have an Eee 701 and want something more than a “slip case” to protect it, but feel a laptop or “netbook” bag just doesn’t fit the machine “snugly” enough. My only question is how easily you can find the bag, now that the 701 has been discontinued for some time; however, if you track one down for a reasonable price, I feel you will not be disappointed.