A laptop computer is a lifeline to the modern world, critical for work, study, and play. If you own one, you want to provide it with as much protection as possible and let the carrier speak to your style. With more folks working and studying on-the-go and outside the traditional environments of office and school, now is a great time to choose a new laptop briefcase. Here are three things to think about to make sure you protect your valuable computer and personalize your working and playing style.

Great Value

This satchel carries the basics without adding bulk that can weigh you down. BRASS TACKS Leathercraft

Don’t click “buy” until you measure the dimensions of your laptop. Most laptop briefcases handle a 14-inch wide machine, but don’t take a chance. In addition to your laptop size, think about how much other stuff you typically jam into a laptop bag. If you frequently carry spare batteries, charge cords, a cream cheese bagel, and the latest best-selling novel, you’ll want additional pockets and extra carrying capacity.

This large bag practically doubles as an airline carry-on thanks to the various dividers and pockets. Kenneth Cole REACTION

Some laptop bags offer drop-shock protection, weatherproofing, and lockable pockets and compartments. Think about how you’ll use the bag—simply to get from your car to your desk? Or will you rely on the bag to buffer your laptop from jostling, dropping, and hours on a subway? The more protection, the heavier the bag, so consider what you expect the laptop bag to do before you buy.

Also Consider

This leather and canvas bag can hold a 15.6-inch computer. Samsonite

There’s no question that a snazzy laptop bag helps personalize your presentation, interview, or meeting. There are stylish options with distressed leather and heavy brass fittings. Think about how your laptop bag will reflect your professional persona and don’t forget the old maxim: dress for the job you want, not the job you have.