A Follow-Up on Speck’s SeeThru Satin | iLounge Backstage

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A Follow-Up on Speck’s SeeThru Satin

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Friday, December 19, 2008
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Yesterday, we shared some details on Altec’s Expressionist series of Mac-ready speakers. Today, we wanted to close out the story on Speck’s SeeThru Satin case for MacBooks, which is Speck’s version of Incase’s previously released Hardshell Case, selling for the same $50 price.

There are things about SeeThru Satin that we really like. The case is sculpted nicely to match the body of the new 13” aluminum MacBook, features similar anti-scratch rounded feet on the bottom, and has heat dissipating vents for the MacBook’s body. Speck’s mold provides contoured slots for the SuperDrive, IR sensor, and passive front latch, plus the ability to access all of the MacBook’s ports on the left hand side.

While it’s possible to cover more of the MacBook than Speck has, it’s probably not easy to do so with a conventional plastic shell. (Film, at least if properly cut, would be an alternative.) The rest of this story can be found by clicking on the headline, or on Read More, below.

One of the neat touches here is Speck’s translucent cover for the MacBook’s new battery life indicator. Pressing down on the covered button lets you see how much life remains in the currently installed battery; it does take a very deliberate press to accomplish, though.

Our single biggest issue with Satin is that we’re not entirely thrilled with the way it looked after several days, then a week of continuous, normal use. While the translucent black soft touch rubber makes for a nice out-of-package photograph, and allows the Apple logo on the MacBook’s top to glow through, it attracts smudges to an extent that we wouldn’t have expected—even after using Incase’s version on a MacBook Pro. The photograph immediately above shows what it looked like today.

Oily fingerprint smears are all over the surface, and difficult to remove, something that we’ve not seen happen with the glossy clear-coated versions of SeeThru that were previously released. Those versions instead showed scratches, which this one doesn’t; you basically have to pick which type of blemish is least offensive to your person. Speck includes an orange cloth to help you remove dust and debris from inside the case before it’s installed on the MacBook, but you may find yourself wanting to clean the outside of the case, as well.

Another issue, and one common to hardshells of this sort, is thickness. Whereas the 13” MacBook impressed us with its newly thinned, sturdy body, adding SeeThru Satin brings the bulk back, much as Incase’s Hardshells do. While we haven’t felt strongly that Apple’s pocket-sized devices desperately needed thinner plastic shells, such as Incipio’s Feather and Power Support’s Air Jackets, there’s little doubt in our minds that their manufacturing processes would really improve the cases of MacBooks, assuming that the plastic is sturdy enough to be used on much larger-sized devices.

For these reasons, though SeeThru Satin’s a reasonably protective shell for the new MacBook, and will prevent many—perhaps most—scratches, it’s not the end-all, be-all solution we’ve been waiting for. We pulled an increasingly ratty InvisibleShield off of our MacBook to test it—more details on that are coming soon—and now plan to replace this with another film solution in the coming week. We’ll let you know the results as soon as we have them.

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