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  1. #1

    _Stormin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 25, 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    295
    Specs:
    2011 MB Air Core i7 256GB, 2011 Mini with 8GB RAM, iPad 2, iPhone 4S, 2TB Time Capsule
    Shells for Apple Laptops
    So I know that some people love them and some don't, but I have been looking around for a shell to put on my MacBook Air when it's riding around in my briefcase. I know my tendencies for accidents (relatively low), but I know that I don't want to take any chances with my laptop.

    As a bit of background, during college, one of my jobs was an engineering position with a manufacturing company that used a ton of plastic (as well as fiberglass, steel, aluminum, carbon fiber, etc...). I got very familiar with the manufacturing processes to make all these plastic parts in the couple of years that I was there, but then bigger opportunities presented themselves and I left.

    Skip forward a decade (UGH...) and here I am happily clicking through links looking at plastic shells for the MBA... I shouldn't say happily because I am still in shock at the prices being charged. Up to $50 for a pair of thin pieces of moulded plastic. I know that they need to recuperate the cost of design, tooling, marketing, salaries, etc... But FIFTY BUCKS for a moulded piece of plastic, that contains the same actual amount of manufacturing effort as a simple child's toy???

    I guess it's the "Apple Tax" and I will simply be more careful (the thing is aluminum and there is no other metal in the laptop part of my briefcase).

    But I had to ask, has anyone found a reasonably priced shell that they like?

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    34,542
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by _Stormin View Post
    Skip forward a decade (UGH...) and here I am happily clicking through links looking at plastic shells for the MBA... I shouldn't say happily because I am still in shock at the prices being charged. Up to $50 for a pair of thin pieces of moulded plastic.
    Yes...the prices of these can be a bit steep for what you get. I got sort of lucky...and got a hardshell for my 17" MacBook Pro for around $25...but was normally near $50.

    $50 does seem like a lot...but after you get your first deep scratch or dent...the $50 doesn't seem so bad. Check e-Bay...maybe you can find a better deal.

    One downside for a hard shell case is it really "bulks" things up. I find my MBP is much "bulkier" with the hardshell on. Since MacBook Air users REALLY like them for their lightness & slimness...the hardshell case may defeat these features...and sort of "up-size" the MacBook Air to be more like a MacBook in overall bulk & weight.

    But on the positive...the hardshell case is great protection!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3

    IvanLasston's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location
    Rocky Mountain High, Colorado
    Posts
    2,116
    Specs:
    1.8 GHz i7 MBA 11" OSX 10.8.2
    I have a Speck case on my 17" MBP and on my wife's 13" MBA. I have not experienced the extra bulk pigoo3 talked about - but I may have a different case. The Specks feel natural around the machine - and having dropped my MBP from a overhead compartment of an airplane - to the floor - with the Speck case - I have to say the protection is worth it. Damaged the Speck but the MBP came through without anything happening (YMMV) Bought a second Speck case to replace the damaged one.

    I did a cursory search on Amazon and most MBA Speck cases are running $20-$30 USD but MSRP is $50 USD as you say.

    One thing I did notice - is you have to take the shell off (once a month) and wipe down the machine. Otherwise it seems to collect a lot of dust under the case.

    Another way you may want to go - if you are only worried about scratches - are skins. There are several out there that will give you full coverage. Won't help in a drop situation but should help with keeping the aluminum from getting beat up from every day wear and tear, and won't add hardly any bulk.
    I put Gelaskins on a previous MBA.
    Skins for Laptops | GelaSkins

    There are others that provide better coverage - like exogear.

    That being said - if you are mad about $50 for a plastic case, $30 for a sticker may make you ballistic.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    34,542
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by IvanLasston View Post
    I have a Speck case on my 17" MBP and on my wife's 13" MBA. I have not experienced the extra bulk pigoo3 talked about - but I may have a different case.
    When I mentioned "extra bulk" I'm mostly talking about any extra thickness that the hard shell adds to the computer. I probably have the same (or very similar) Speck hardshell on my 17" MBP as you do. The case halves are fairly thick plastic...and when I remove the Speck case...the MBP looks & feels MUCH thinner.

    I just weighed my 17" MBP hardshell...and it weighs 56g...so not very heavy (a MBA case should be a good bit lighter)...but I do notice that it makes my 17" MBP feel noticeably thicker.

    For MacBook Air users (who I would imagine really got MBA's for their thinness & lightness)...a hardshell (for some folks) might detract from the MBA's key features (but the protection cannot be beat)!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5

    JUKE179r's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 01, 2009
    Location
    DohaLondonVegas
    Posts
    886
    Specs:
    MacBookPro 11,2 <--DAW!!!
    +1 for Speck shell cover.
    I've had mine for 3 years now on my '07 MBP and have taken it to 9 countries and glad I had some protection for it while traveling. Like Ivan stated, you'd want to take the cover every once in awhile to clean your Mac.

    Before you ask, you'll get plenty of ventilation even with the cover on. I've had no problems of overheating and I keep my cover on all the time.
    MBP 11,3 | Logic Pro X | Ableton Live 9 | Traktor Pro 2 | AKAI MPC2000XL, X7000, MPK-49 | Roland MV-8000, SP-808, TR-707, TR-808 & TR-909 | Ensoniq ASR-10 | x0xb0x #911 & Willzyx | Denon DN-MC6000 | (3) Technics SL-1200MK1 | 4000+ vinyl records

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