Attractive, Minimalist Protection for your Macbook Air for under $20
Written: May 30, 2011 (Updated Jun 2, 2011)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Good fit, easy installation, removable. Adds an affordable layer of protection.
Cons:Adds about 9 ounces and 3-4 mm thickness to your Air.
The Bottom Line: If you can live with adding a little weight and thickness to your Macbook Air, iPearl provides a nice protective, thin and light shell at a reasonable price.
Apple's new 13" Macbook Air bills itself as one of the thinnest, lightest mainstream laptops available. It offers solid mainstream performance, while weighing only 2.9 lbs, and is less than 0.7" thick at its thickest point. Many owners won't want to burden their Air with any extra thickness, or weight, and won't use something even as thin as the iPearl mCover shell. However, my daughter, a college student, uses a 13" Macbook Air, and I recently purchased an iPearl red mCover shell for her Air. My daughter carries her Air around a lot, uses it in many different environments, occasionally stores it in a car trunk and/or backpack. I felt like a thin shell would provide worthwhile protection.
iPearl makes mCovers for both versions (original and Oct 2010) of the 13" Macbook Air, unfortunately, one mCover won't fit the other. It comes in 9 colors, and runs about $20 at Amazon, where I purchased the shell reviewed here. The shell comes packaged in a clear plastic envelope. It consists of two pieces, one for the lid of your Macbook Air, and one that fits the bottom side of your Air. A keyboard cover is not included.
Installation is quite easy, snap the top and bottom pieces onto the top and bottom of your macbook air. There are 5 small tabs along the front edge and both sides of the top piece, which holds it firmly in place. The bottom piece has tabs on all sides, and also snaps easily into place.
The top is solid, translucent plastic about 1mm thick, and the apple logo on the lid of the Air shows through the shell attractively. Any imperfections or smudges on the lid of your air also show through surprisingly well. The bottom shell contains rows of slots, presumably to allow better cooling, two rubber feet near the front, to minimize sliding, and two fold out legs near the back, much like the fold out legs on a keyboard, to provide a more ergonomic typing surface.
- The iPearl mCover will add slightly over 9 ounces to the weight of a 13" Macbook Air, and about 3-4 mm thickness (ex the foldout legs, which add to the thickness even more). The legs will keep the Air lifted slightly above surfaces, which should also aid in cooling.
- The shell is fairly easy to remove, but I wouldn't plan on removing and installing the shell a lot. I'd expect the very small plastic tabs (only about 1mm long) to eventually wear or break.
- The translucent case comes in attractive, bright (but not overly bright or neon) colors, and will make your Macbook Air easy to spot in a classroom or track through the gate at airports.
- The fit is very good, I don't detect any loose points at corners or edges.
- All of ports remain accessible, and the case does not hinder opening or closing of the Macbook air.
- The polycarbonate shell is not glossy and seems to resist fingerprints and scratches well. But it is plastic and very thin, and I don't expect the shell to last as long as the laptop itself.
- We haven't had any problems with dirt collecting between the shell and laptop body, but its conceivable some dust could enter around the edges.
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