MacBooks are the most beautiful and functionally impeccable laptops on the planet, but they are no more robust – which is to say just as heart-stoppingly fragile – than any other non-battle-toughened portable computer. So it won’t react well to being dropped, but it will take a few bruises and dents without breaking completely.
The thing is though, while I usually quite like seeing a few war wounds on portable technology – they make devices and their users look purposeful – the MacBook is so exquisite in its sleek, brushed aluminium that I object to it being injured or marked in any way. Accordingly, I treat my 11in MacBook Air like a pampered, delicate model girlfriend. A model girlfriend who’s also a genius and a star athlete, of course.
What MacBooks need for protection are hard-shell cases. It’s true that while these protect the machines from scratches and dents, they also disguise them, but the MacBook’s beauty is not a show-off beauty. I don’t care if the rest of the world thinks I’m using a worker bee’s PC any more than I’d care if my imaginary model girlfriend wore glasses and her hair scraped back for a trip to Waitrose. Their delights are for my private pleasure.
Now, there are plenty of hard-shell cases for the various MacBook Pros. I’ve always liked those made by InCase (www.goincase.com). But hard-shell protection for the Air is rarer. InCase does a few, but I don’t like the finish on its black versions, and its multicoloured models would be cute, but they are semi-see-through and don’t look right to me.
So I was delighted to come across a range called Grip, from Sydney manufacturer STM. Its case for the 11in Air ticks all the boxes for me, bar one, which I’ll come to. The STM Grip has ribs, which help you hold the slippery bodywork, and is made of a very slightly rubbery material, which again makes it pleasant to handle, as well as preventing it from slipping out of your hands. It also has a slightly soft, micro-suede lining, which stops dirt getting into the case and damaging your Air’s delicate complexion, while the integrated rear vent and raised feet dissipate heat.
One tiny thing: those raised feet are a little too smooth and if you type hard, you may find your Air, enrobed in its stealth shield, serenely sliding across the table. Fifteen seconds with some sandpaper to the feet (not advice you’ll read here often) pretty much sorts the problem out.