Matias Laptop Armor Cases Review


Product Requirements:
Slim l aptops from 12" up to 17" inches wide

These days mobile warriors have a wide variety of choices when it comes to laptop bags. Backpack style bags and attache style cases tend to be the types most often seen carried by the laptop user on the go. Today I’m going to show you another option that both looks great and offers great protection.

Laptop Armor cases from Matias fit slim laptops that are between 12 and 17 inches wide and are available in black leatherette, black aluminum, silver aluminum and white aluminum styles. I was sent the black leatherette 12-15" slim and silver aluminum 12-15" slim cases to review.

You have to admit that these cases look really sexy. But when a company gives a product a name that contains the word armor in it, the consumer is pretty much gong to expect that said product will be a built like a tank. I’m happy to tell you that the Laptop Armor cases definitely are. How do I know this? Go to the Matias web site and have a look at the QuickTime video showing a demonstration of them dropping a laptop in one of these cases from 10ft onto a concrete floor. Yes, the laptop survived, and no, I didn’t try my own similar tests… I’ll trust Matias on this one :o)

The outer shell of the leatherette case is made of a specially formulated synthetic EVA material which is similar in appearance and feel to nubuck leather. It is much stronger than leather as well as being waterproof and easy to clean. The outer shell on the silver aluminum case is made of: aluminum. Imagine that! Both case styles look great and can easily fit into both a casual or business setting.

The interior of both cases is the same. The padded lower half of the case is an empty cavity ready to hold a laptop, while the outer edges of the case are lined with the loop side of hook & loop Velcro. 7 long Velcro pads and 11 short pads are included with each case to customize the fit to a specific laptop. As you can see below, several pads are attached to the walls of the bottom shell. There is also a Velcro strap that should be used to secure the laptop while it is in the case.

I tested both cases with my 15" Apple Powerbook, and am happy to report that it fit perfectly.

When you fully open the Laptop Armor lid, the hinge on the right side locks into place to allow access to the built in collection of storage pouches and file folders.

Peeling away the Velcro straps on each side reveal 3 accordion style folders that are spacious enough for large format magazines and papers. Three pouches on the outside of these folders allow you to hold chargers, PDAs, iPods etc.

You really can’t load up these cases very much due to the fact that they can’t expand like a soft laptop bag can. You also don’t want to put large pointy objects in the pouches as they could press against the outside of the laptop when you close the case.

Speaking of closing the case, heavy duty metal lockable latches are used to keep the case securely closed. These latches are easy to use and have smooth action when opening or closing them. I really like the fact that you do not have to manually hook the latch over a catch in order to close it. These latches are made so that they automatically line up when you close the lid. They are almost effortless to use.

To transport the Laptop Armor, you can use either the non-padded handle on top of the case, or attach the included padded shoulder strap. A small metal button is located on either side of the case. A latch on each end of the shoulder strap enables you to easily attach or remove the strap as needed.

Strap button

Unlatched strap lock

There are 4 wide plastic feet attached to the bottom of the case. These feet keep the case from falling over when you place it on a flat surface.

As with everything in life, there are a few trade offs… While Laptop Armor cases are extremely protective and great looking, they are also heavy and hard. The leatherette case I reviewed was 4lbs 2oz. empty, while the silver aluminum was 5lbs. When I loaded up the leatherette with my 15" Powerbook, power adapter, a couple magazines, iPod, and my billfold, the weight went up to hefty 11lbs 8oz. Ouch!

There’s also the fact these cases do not have a soft exterior. Trying to walk really fast or even running with this case while it is on your shoulder may knock you around a bit as it bangs against your side or back. So, for me personally, I wouldn’t be likely to use this as a travel case. It really doesn’t have enough space to hold all my gear and I wouldn’t want to run with it through an airport. However, I would use one of these cases as an everyday laptop case when I had just a short walk into the office. I know it would protect my laptop while also catching the eye of people passing by. What more could you want in a laptop case?


Price: $99.95 – $179.95 depending on style/size


Great style
Great protection

Room for magazines, papers and ‘stuff’

Not soft


Product Information

Manufacturer:Matias Corporation
  • Great style
  • Great protection
  • Room for magazines, papers and 'stuff'
  • Not soft
  • Heavy
Posted in: Laptops and Gear
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Julie August 7, 2004, 3:58 am

    Post your comments here on the Matias Laptop Armor Cases Review.

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • shusa August 7, 2004, 1:22 pm

    The case loooks exactly like my Halliburton and if it performs as well, go for it! I use my Halliburton for a 18″ Sony Vaio – 1″ larger than the case reviewed allows. Mine slipped overboard (so much for common sense) in shallow waters in the San Francisco Bay – absolutely no damge to the laptop (totally waterproof)

  • Julie August 7, 2004, 2:59 pm

    This would probably be a poor person’s Halliburton as I don’t think it would survive a dunk into water :o)

  • SQLDba August 9, 2004, 4:29 pm

    Just purchased this case myself for a newly aquired PB 15″. I have to say I am very happy with the case. I looked at several options, including the Zero Haliburton, one by Samsonite / Dr. Bott, and nearly purchased the MacTruck from RadTech. Price was a big factor in the decision – as well as the video of them dropping the case from 10″ onto concrete.

    Quality is great on this and while on the slim model there isn’t tons of room for storage (enough for the powersupply and radtech BT mouse) they do make a universal size which adds a about an inch of thickness. Be aware that the universal case is not aluminum but a black “leatherette” – although it is supposed to have the same protective qualities.

    Overall, I am convinced that there are few places safer for my new $2500 investment than strapped into this case – and I’ll carry a second bag if necessary – to ensure that my PB arrives in one piece.

  • johnsoax August 17, 2004, 10:11 pm

    My father has this case for his 12″ powerbook and absolutely loves it. I’m not a big fan of hard briefcases, so I actually tried to talk him out of it 😮 . I’m glad I didn’t succeed, as he has used it for a few months and it has protected his powerbook beautifully.

  • SQLDba August 31, 2004, 2:55 pm

    Just a follow up – on the edge of the case – there are 4 plastic little legs that come out at a slight angle from the case for it to stand on when you set it down. I purchased my case from Small Dog Electronics (great retailer – and always have Matias stuff at a good discount from MSRP) about a month ago. I noticed that 2 of the legs have a slight wobble – or are loose from the case. One is much worse than the other. Since the case is lined, it’s not really easy to see how they are attached to the case, but it appears they are riveted – I couldn’t feel screws anyway.

    A quick phone call to Matias and I have an Merchandise Exchange Authorization on it’s way to me – and a case exchange in process. Steve – the manager that I spoke with was fantastic, offering me an exchange, or a partial refund. Since I love the case, the exchange was the only viable solution.

    I can’t praise Matias enough for the way they handled this. Had they told me to pack sand I would be flaming them right now – but they were very fair – and have earned a long time customer and Matias Evangelist instead.

    Buy this case because it does exactly what they claim it will do, and because the company understands customer service and stands by their products.

    And check out the iPod armor case while you are at it. Another great product I own and use. And have you seen their Tactile Pro keyboard?……

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