I tend to work long hours and most of my time is in the office. At the weekend I often have much admin work to catch up on, but taking a laptop outside, especially in the summer, has always been a problem. The iCap promises to resolve my issue by reducing glare on the screen, but, as professionals have been finding, it has many other practical applications too.
iCap 15 : Specifications
- Anti-slip base surface
- Cable opening at rear
- Silver reflective external surfaces
- Black none-reflective inner surfaces
- Weight: 250g
- Dimensions: 49cm deep x 47cm high x 42cm width
- Folded dimensions 22cm diameter by 3cm deep
- Weather Resistant material
- Price around £40 (59 Euro)
iCap 15 : Features and build quality
In the past I've considered various products to shield my laptop, but the cost has always been the factor to put me off. The iCap is a solution that has a more affordable price point of 60 Euros (about £40).
Also the fact it uses the collapsible design, first seen in Lastolite products where a twisting and flick brings the product into a flat circle, means it reduces vastly from its opened size. And that's what's really good here, the iCap 15 that I'm testing comes in a case that measures just 22cm diameter and 3cm thick so it will store in the pouch of a laptop case. Yet when expanded it becomes 49cm deep and a 47x42cm (height x width) front opening which has enough space to house, and comfortably view, a 17inch laptop.
There's also a 12 for a 13in laptop that has a depth of 40cm and a front opening of 40x35cm.
The iCap's material is opaque with silver surfaces on the outside to provide a reflective heat shield and black on the inside to absorb stray light. It's shower resistant too.
The base is water resistant so it can be placed on wet or muddy surfaces. The whole thing weighs just 250g so you can even sit with it on your lap especially as the base has a slip surface so it stays put. If you use it on the ground or table there are some loops sewn in that you can attach guide ropes to secure it down in gales.
iCap 15 : Performance
Getting the iCap out and erecting it is a two second job – unzip the case, extract and it pops open then pull open the structure so it creates the cube shaped tent. Place the laptop inside, feed cables through the back slot and connect to the mains supply and Internet if applicable and you're ready to work, or play.
There are three flaps inside to provide extra screening at the front opening, almost like a set of stage curtains. These can be adjusted and moved in or out of view with bright orange Velcro fastenings. It's easy to spot these and the flaps provide a fair amount more protection from stray light.
The material is strong enough to allow a laptop to be carried inside which makes it good if you are an event or sports photographer and need to move around a lot.
In fact sports photographers have been using this to protect their lap tops from fans hurling beer cans and missiles, but also as a rain protector so they can continue shooting without worrying too much about their lap tops. I've done a video review of the item and it actually started raining as I was filming so I knew I was safe to continue and finish the video.
When you've done it folds back up in the same way as a Lastolite reflector. For those who've done this before it's easy, but you do need a few goes practicing, and the wire used for the frame doesn't seem as substantial as a Lastolite. Maybe this is why iCap make a big thing in the instructions of correct folding. Once the wire is folded wrong it could damage the item making it useless.
I also noticed a small gap where the stitching had been missed which shows average workmanship. This could of course have been a one of. And it wont affect the use of the item.
iCap 15 : Verdict
The iCap does a good job of preventing glare on the screen. It's compact, easy to carry around and erect. While I'm not likely to need one for events I can see it as an invaluable aid for such. I will certainly now be able to work outside and get a tan at the same time! It's a shame the stitching was missed - that lost it a point, and don't forget to wear dark clothing!
iCap 15 : Plus points
Weather resistant material
Easy of assembly
Compact when folded
iCap 15 : Minus points
Collapsing can be tricky
Not that effective if you are wearing light clothing
The iCap costs 59 Euros. The company do not currently have a UK distributer, but can ship to UK for just 3.80 Euros. For more info visit the iCap web site.