Whether the choice is basic black or cute and colorful, you can make a fashion statement with the totes and sleeves you choose for laptops and netbooks.
More women than men tend to buy computer bags, and women usually favor designer looks, said Charles Warren, a customer specialist at Best Buy in East Brainerd.
"If they're going to carry around their laptops, they want to have a bag that doesn't look like a computer bag," he said.
Men are the opposite.
"Guys don't care how the bags look," he said. "They're more concerned about protecting their devices."
The question of how to carry a computer also comes down to demographics, although women of all ages want color and/or design included, Warren said.
Male and female students typically prefer to carry computers in backpacks, which often have compartments for storing notebooks, books and cell phones, he said.
Southeastern Louisiana University freshman Caytlin Daly, 19, requested a designer tote for Christmas.
Her mother, Angie Daly, perused eBay before purchasing what was actually a Gucci diaper bag. Its spacious dimensions make it perfect for carrying not only Caytlin's computer, which she places in a sleeve before putting it in the bag, but her books as well.
"It really works great [as a computer bag], but I don't tell people it is a diaper bag," Caytlin said.
Angie Daly said both her and her daughter's computer bags are black.
"I find this is good for several reasons," said Angie Daly, Chattanooga College placement director. "It hides dirt, it looks professional, and it isn't out of style as quickly. Somehow, I don't think that people would take me as seriously if I came into a meeting with a 'Hello Kitty' bag."
Computer bags range from those offering basic scratch protection to ones with varying levels of padding, Warren said. "The more money you spend, the more padding you get."
When shopping for computer cases, Warren said it's important to determine whether or not you want easy access to the device.
"Messenger bags flip open really quickly, so it's easy to get the device in and out," he said. "Some totes and sleeves fit snugly making it more difficult to remove the device."
Also consider the amount of protection you want and if you want pockets for storing a charger, notebooks or other items, he said.
"Personally, I prefer a backpack. It offers protection, and I can carry a lot in it," he said.