First, if you can afford them, bags are great. They definitely offer outstanding protection, and a few are even made that allow the Chromebook to operate while inside the bag. Unfortunately, a $25 - $50 bag seems a bit expensive for a $250 computer. Plus, how many student have a backpack already. Is there room for a bag within a bag? As long as it is not a nylon strap string bag, any device should be fine in a backpack.
That brings me to the Cranium versus those other plastic covers. A couple have developed a cover for the Chromebook. It looks nice and has a bottom cover too. That bottom cover makes people think it offers protection, but what I have found is that it offers nothing. Chromebooks that are dropped will see damage to their motherboard. Recently we have found those that did not seem to have damage after being dropped, are now over heating. Adding a cover to the bottom only enhances the heating problem and will trap heat and melt the motherboard faster. I would not recommend a bottom cover. It offers no protection and can add to problems.
With Chromebooks, the most susceptible to damage is the screen. The lid is so flexible, it is a matter of time before someone picks up their Chromebook by the screen and snaps it. Obviously this is where reinforcement is needed. There are a few products out there that protect the screen/lid of the Chromebook. Obviously there is the Cranium and the other plastic or rubber covers.
First the plastic/rubber covers. They look nice, but do they really protect anything? I was at a conference talking to a vendor where I took my Chromebook, with the Cranium attached, and smashed my Chromebook against a corner of a desk. No damage occurred to my Chromebook. A chip was taken out of the Cranium, but that’s why it’s there. I asked the vendor to do the same with their plastic cover. They laughed and said “no way.” Couple that with the fragility of plastic in colder temperatures and there is additional opportunity for damage.
That brings me to the Cranium. We have taken feedback many people across the US and in three countries about what is needed and what we can improve. We took that information to make the Cranium II. First off, the screen needs to be protected. We created a device that eliminated the flex in the screen. We also felt it needed to be supporting things such as a sleepy head or pounds of textbooks. It can easily support 25 pounds of weight place directly on it. We needed to be light, rigid and durable. Done done and done. We took the original and cut the weight by a third. We increased the rigidity and reduced the Cranium from being top heavy. While the original was designed to be a little top heavy to land on the cover if knocked over, people did not like, or appreciate, that feature. Finally, the Cranium II is the only device out there that specially doubles as a whiteboard. This is a feature teachers will appreciate, as life cannot be always online.
If you can afford it, get a bag. If not, look at the Cranium. It enhances and protects the Chromebook while in use. As I’ve said before, “your cranium protects your brain, shouldn’t you have a Cranium protect your Chromebook?”