review

Kensington Contour 2.0 Pro Backpack Review Laptop Lock & VeriMark Key

Monday, July 20, 2020

Fear, uncertainty, confusion...three words that can describe the scary rollercoaster we have all been on for the last few months! Lockdown has forced a tsunami wave of changes on everyone, including spending a lot more time at home than ever before!
Those lucky enough to be holding an office job have likely had the opportunity of flexible working from home throughout lockdown. As lockdown eases, many more office-based employees (many put on furlough) will also be contemplating a working-split between office and remote working from home, which will mean having to buy extra gear like a backpack to carry teach gear back and forth, to and fro the office.
If you're on the market for a new backpack and tech gear to setup your remote working environment, some items you can consider include a trackball mouse, an air purifier monitor stand combo, a laptop security lock, a fingerprint key to streamline login access and a backpack such as the Contour 2.0 laptop backpack,
This specific Kensington combination lock will work with many laptops, although it is not universal as it depends on the type of lock slot the laptop uses. This Kensington combination lock will work with laptops that have the standard Kensington mini security lock slot, which is a small rectangular hole (about the size of a mini USB jack) located on the side of the laptop frame.
You can use this Kensington combination lock with most HP laptops, Dell laptops, some Chromebook laptops and even the old large MacBook Pro. This combination lock will also work with Microsoft Surface laptops, although you will need to buy a separate Surface Book locking bracket from Kensington. The Surface Book locking bracket works with the Surface Book, Surface Pro, Surface Go, and Surface Studio, although it will not work with the Surface Laptop 2.
To lock the cable to a laptop, you have to setup the Kensington lock by resetting the factory default combination code on the lock. Reset is done by entering the factory combination code (0000) and then, turning the side groove 90-degrees clockwise, using a small flat head screw or paperclip. Then, you enter your preferred combination code and turn the side groove 90-degrees anti-clockwise to complete setup.
After the new combination lock has been set, it is ready to use. While inserting the t-bar prong, you have to press down the black button pin which rotates and lines up the t-bar locking mechanism in the 'unlocked' position so, you can insert the t-bar inside the mini security lock slot of a laptop. The t-bar is the tiny prong locking mechanism, protruding over the top of the 4-barrel combination lock that anchors the lock to the laptop.
The barrel combination lock has a deep engraving of Kensington branding. It measures 2cm long and has a double-sided anodized encasing that makes dialing and aligning the combination much easier.
There is tiny yellow insert with a K logo padlock etching and an embossed triangle, indicating where the combination lock has to be lined up. The numbers are large enough to be able to read without glasses. Removing the lock works viceversa; hence you have to press down the black button pin before pulling out the t-bar lock from the security slot.
The Kensington combination lock cable has a 5.5mm inner diameter and it's made of woven carbon steel, which is 1.8 meters long and encased inside a protective plastic sleeve. The barrel head lock and dials are also made of carbon steel with anodized coating to prevent premature corrosion. The Kensington combination lock looks and feels durable enough to thwart and deter snatch attempts.You can buy the Kensington security lock for laptops from amazon.
The next item worth considering for office or remote working is the Kensington VeriMark, which is a fingerprint key that works similar to the fingerprint scanner of a smartphone. The main difference being, VeriMark is both a fingerprint reader and U2F - FIDO Universal 2nd Factor authentication device that helps you authenticate your Windows login on your computer and, by extension your Microsoft account if it is linked using Windows Hello.
VeriMark has the same tiny block footprint of a nano USB adapter so, it takes very little space when plugged into the USB port of a computer. The VeriMark device itself doesn't store fingerprint data so, if you want that functionality, you will need to use Windows Hello biometric sign-in system, which is only available for computers, running Windows 10. The computer also has to integrate a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) computer chip and, not all computers do.
To find out if a computer has a TPM chip, you need to go into the UEFI / BIOS screen of the computer, navigate to the Security/Advanced tab and look for a setting labeled “TPM Support“, “Security Chip“ or “TPM Security”. Kensington VeriMark does not require any driver installation and it's compatible with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. The computer has to be running Windows 7 (x64 and x32), Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 operating systems since it doesn't work with MacOS or other operating systems.
There is also a facility to add the fingerprints of multiple users and VeriMark will also work in conjunction with password managers (i.e. LastPass and Keeper) to allow VeriMark to authenticate and automatically fill in usernames and passwords for websites. You need the password manager to access credentials from multiple devices as nothing is stored on the device. You can buy Kensington VeriMark fingerprint key on amazon.
The Kensington Contour 2.0 Pro backpack has a total of six compartments, including side pockets. All the compartments have basic coil zips with corn teeth and without any water repellent coating; hence the zips on the Contour 2.0 backpack are not water resistant.
The main compartment (that holds the laptop) and the compartment that integrates the RFID security pocket have dual zips, which allow these compartments to be unzipped fairly wide. The pull tabs on the Kensington Contour 2.0 Pro backpack have Kensington brand etching and are made of hard plastic with a rubberized side that provides a good grip.
The small pocket on top near the padded grab handle unzips 13cm wide and has a 9cm depth, which is large enough to fit a couple of smartphones. The compartment (pictured below) located at the front of the backpack has a single zip with a 17cm width and a 21cm height.
On the outside of this compartment, there is a nice black trim of PU leather accent and a small metal badge with Kensington branding etched on. The coating on the metal badge seems to be painted on as opposed to anodized, which is longer lasting.
The compartment containing the RFID security pocket measures 36cm high and 26cm wide. This compartment unzips almost all the way down, although it doesn't open as wide as the main compartment due to the non-detachable fabric hinges. These hinges are designed to prevent the contents inside from spilling out. The RFID security pocket measures 18cm wide and 12cm high.
Aside from the RFID pocket, there are four pen holders, a plastic key chain and three additional pockets, two of which measure 16cm wide and 20cm high. The third pocket measures 10cm wide and 7cm high. On the top side of the Contour 2.0 Pro backpack, there is a grommet type opening designed to pass through a headphone cable or charging cable from this compartment.
Internally, the backpack is lined with thinner polyester fabric with a padded laptop compartment, which is padded on the bottom and constructed a few inches above the bottom of the backpack to help absorb and damp shock impulses from dropping the bag on the ground.
You can store a 17-inch (43cm) screen laptop, although not all 17-inch laptops will fit inside the laptop compartment of the Kensington Contour 2.0 Pro backpack. As long as the 17-inch laptop is 30cm wide and 4cm thick, it should fit just fine. There is also a tablet compartment in the backpack large enough for a 9.7-inch tablet that is less than 18.5cm wide and 2.5cm thick.
The main compartment unzips, clamshell style all the way down and integrates detachable hinges with velcro fastening, which is useful to have when space is tight for loading and unloading the backpack.
The main compartment measures 45cm high and 32cm wide. Aside from the laptop and tablet compartments, there is an open pocket on the opposite side which measures 25cm high and 29cm wide.
The back padding is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and, it's split into three padded sections, the largest being the lumbar/low back support padding which measures 11cm high and 33.5cm long. The smaller padded sections on top measure 15cm high and 10cm wide.
The padded sections have wide grooves, which maximizes the ventilation provided by the split padding and curvature of the backpack. In between the padded sections, there is also a trolley pass through made of the same fabric as the rest of the backpack.
There are two grab handles on the Kensington Contour 2.0 Pro backpack, one of which is made of thin nylon webbing strap typically found on most backpacks.
The other grab handle is larger and padded measuring 21cm long and 3.5cm wide. The larger grab handle is covered with PU leather (top side) and spandex-like fabric (bottom side).
The shoulder strap padding is made of closed-cell polyethylene foam and covered with 1680D ballistic polyester on the front and mesh on the back side.
The Contour 2.0 Pro shoulder straps are S-curved and measure 41cm long and 6.5cm wide. There is good length of webbing excess to adjust the straps to various heights. The buckle straps are made of hard plastic.
The Contour 2.0 Pro side pockets have expandable mesh zips that allow the pockets to accommodate small and bulkier items such as a small water bottle with 70mm diameter. The side pockets measure 15cm high and 7cm wide.
There is no reinforced material on the base of the Contour 2.0 Backpack to prevent water ingress along the zip seams; hence you have to be mindful when placing the backpack on a wet surface.
Base reinforcement also helps premature tearing, which easily happens when the base of the backpack scrapes against a rough surface.
That said, the 1680D (denier) polyester fabric used for making the Contour 2.0 Pro backpack is very strong, although not as strong as nylon with the same 1680 denier. You can buy the Kensington Contour 2.0 Pro Laptop backpack from amazon.

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