Wheeled luggage offers protection for your mobile office...

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April 24, 2000|By Gareth Branwyn

Wheeled luggage offers protection for your mobile office

Wheeled luggage has been a godsend for baggage-burdened travelers everywhere. Unfortunately, the cheapo wheels and often nonexistent suspension are brutal on any computers you may have stuffed into the old Samsonite.

Brenthaven, which creates computer cases, has addressed this problem with its new Mobile Urban case ($369).

The Mobile Urban measures 13 3/4 -by-15 3/4 -by-8 1/4 inches and weighs 9.1 pounds. It's basically one of Brenthaven's popular Urban Backpacks with the addition of a retractable handle and a set of in-line skate wheels.

Their SoftDrive suspension system is designed to give your computer and peripherals a gentle ride. The wheels have more than an inch of travel inside their housing, so no matter how hefty your laptop and other gear is (within reason, of course), the Mobile Urban can handle it smoothly.

The Mobile Urban has three main compartments: one large organizer compartment (for pens, computer media, cell phone, etc.), one for the computer and files/papers, and one that houses the retractable handle. Because of the space taken up by the handle, there is less space for gear. But with computers and peripherals shrinking in size, you should be able to fit everything you need for your mobile office.

The Mobile Urban is optimized for daily commuting use and overnights. You can fit a small, soft bag, or even a garment bag, on the Mobile Urban's handle. If your commuting and traveling circumstances cry out for a better way to carry your computer gear, you may want to test drive a Mobile Urban.

Information: 800-803-7225 or www.brenthaven.com.

Web site helps you choose the right cellular phone plan

Probably the second most frequent question I get asked about personal tech (next to "Which computer should I buy?") is: Which cell phone and service should I get?

It's always a tough decision. There are so many providers, so many calling plans, so many phone choices for each plan.

Decide.com is a free telecom services comparison site with a set of excellent tools to help you make a more informed decision about which service and cell phone are right for you.

One of the most useful features on the site allows you to hear the quality and reliability of calls made in your area. Decide.com places identical calls in a region using different service providers, then places the recordings online so you can listen to them as .wav audio files.

There also are color-coded maps that show the quality of coverage to various neighborhoods within your immediate calling area. This feature alone can prove invaluable when deciding between several comparable services. Unfortunately, only a few major cities per state are currently available.

Another standout feature of Decide.com is the quality of its Intellimatch system (which matches you with a phone service). Decide.com's system attempts to analyze your calling patterns and is able to make fairly intelligent suggestions for which services make the most sense for you.

Decide.com is not going to stop people from asking tech writers and consultants which phone services to buy, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Information: 800-792-3890 or www.decide.com.

Read reviews and news of the latest in personal tech at www.streettech.com.

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