Pelican 1490 Deluxe Waterproof Notebook Case and Organizer Review

by Reads (5,821)

by Kevin O’Brien

Your boss just called you and gave you some free time off at some beach resort. Only problem is now you are required to have your Tablet PC and cell phone with you at all times to be able to connect back to the office if something comes up. Your current cloth laptop case is no match for the sand and water, but lucky for you, you have Pelican’s 1490cc1 laptop case. Water, sand, cars, children and even possibly sharks are no match for this case. Once the latches firmly click shut, you know your laptop is going to be protected no matter what happens around you.

Real World Testing (or at least real world testing according to college life)

During the first night of testing, we had a decent snowfall here in southern Wisconsin. What might a college student do with a new rugged case and 3-4" of snow on the ground? Go sledding of course! I decided to load my laptop inside the new case, stand on the top to make sure it was going to support me (~215lbs), tied off a rope to the front handle, and sat on the top while I had a friend pull me down the driveway. The results probably weren’t as successful as round saucer slicked with cooking oil, but it worked. Since that didn’t seem to phase it, I switched to slightly more aggressive testing. I threw it over my garage onto my back patio, played a little soccer with it, and then retreated to my warm home after I knocked most of the snow off the outside of the case. The laptop and accessories were a bit cold, but everything was just as it was when I loaded it in. Everything stayed in its proper spots and even the fragile LCD screen was still intact (please don’t go too wild with these cases, even if the laptop survives a big impact, the glass display might not enjoy the high G’s and crack).

Pelican 1490cc1 deluxe notebook case out in the wilds of a backyard (view large image)

Simulated rain storm (view large image)


Case Specifications:

  • Pelican 1490CC1 Laptop Case
  • Interior Dimensions: 17.75" x 11.37" x 4.12" (45.1 x 28.9 x 10.5 cm)
  • Empty Weight: 8lbs 1oz
  • Watertight, crushproof, and dust proof
  • Open cell core with solid wall design – strong, light weight
  • O-ring seal
  • Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve
  • Stainless steel hardware and padlock protectors
  • Comfortable rubber over-molded handle
  • Personalized nameplate service available
  • Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee of Excellence
  • Fits notebook computers up to 14.0" L x 10.8" W x 2.5" D
  • Lid organizer, fitted shock absorbing tray, shoulder strap
  • Double safety locking latches with keys

Design and Build

Strong latches for keeping the case closed (view large image)

The Pelican laptop case is designed to protect your laptop or Tablet in almost every worst case scenario, but without being too bulky. It’s a molded plastic case, with a pressure valve and o-ring seal to keep water out, and all your items stored inside perfectly safe from outside conditions. The case itself, once closed, can be stood on top of, sat on, or thrown down the driveway with little or no case deflection that would compress or damage items stored inside of it. The inside is also lined with a rubber divider with straps, to safely hold your laptop and absorb any vibrations from the case moving around.

Tough handle (view large image)

The bottom divider comes with pre-cut foam sections that allow for easy customization to hold various accessories you might have, and still keep them protected from any vibrations. Removing these blocks is very simple, and can be done with your fingers, or a razor blade for more precise cuts. Inside my case, I have a section cutout for the 9 cell IBM T60 battery, and the other side I have my own custom piece of foam that allowed me to make slightly more unique cutouts. I have some cutouts for a stack of SD memory cards, a slot for a mini Mag-Lite, and my iPod in the back. With the laptop secured, everything stays in place even when being tossed around the yard.

It’s easy to customize the dividers to fit your specific devices in (view large image)

On the upper lid is an organizer to hold items like a cell phone, pens, PDA, folders, cables or other miscellaneous things you might need to have with you. Three of the pockets have a Velcro flap, to make sure smaller items stay in place, even if the case is spun around. I like to carry an assortment of cables and tools I use during on site computer repairs, and the organizer was very helpful in keeping things in order as the case was jostled about.

A pouch is provided in the upper area for organizing cables (view large image)

A pouch is also available for organizing pens and such (view large image)


(view large image)

Some reading this review might think this sort of case might not have daily applications outside of the commercial or industrial sector, but it fits very well into the consumer market. For travelers, the plastic case doesn’t weigh much more than a large fabric laptop bag. It provides impact resistant covers to prevent any damage from rough baggage handling where large suitcases might get stacked up on it as they are being loaded into the belly of an aircraft. If it’s pouring rain as you are walking to your rental car, it won’t get soaked down with water like a fabric bag might.


  • Tough as nails
  • Waterproof
  • Does not compress when stood on (no fear of damaging laptop even if ~200lbs or more is on top of it)
  • Only plastic and stainless steel, nothing to rust


  • Weight may be a concern for very light travelers
  • Perhaps not as soft and cuddly as a teddy bear



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