Incipio’s Feather Rivals Speck’s SeeThru Satin For MacBook Air 11” Protection
There weren’t any custom-fit cases ready when the new MacBook Air 11” was released last year, but cool new cases are appearing almost every week now, and Incipio’s Feather ($50) is the latest to grab our attention. It follows hot on the heels of Speck’s SeeThru Satin, which we looked at yesterday, and has a lot in common with that hard shell design—no huge surprise as both cases are smaller sequels to same-named versions released for earlier MacBooks.
Though they’ve each been rethought somewhat for the 11” Air, Feather is a somewhat less dramatic departure for Incipio than SeeThru was for Speck. Both are less than 1mm in thickness, but Satin is just a little thinner without making compromises on resilience or scope of protection. Incipio’s hard shell is also heavier at around 7 ounces versus 6.7 ounces for Satin, a difference that sounds small but in practice adds just enough extra weight to the Air’s lid to push it down from a semi-open position. From our perspective, this is really a failing of the Air’s overly soft hinge, which has a tendency to fall into an overly open position on its own, but Feather exacerbated the unwanted sway a little more on our machine. Apple may wind up stiffening the hinge in later Air production runs if it hasn’t already, making this difference immaterial, or it might not—the original 13” Air had hinge problems for quite a while before Apple addressed them.
Modest weight and thickness differences aside, Feather is a handsome shell. The soft touch rubber finish feels just as nice as SeeThru Satin’s, making the case easy to grip reliably rather than glossing the aluminum-bodied Mac up to a dangerously slippy level. Unlike Satin, four colors are available—black, purple, red, and pink—and each is opaque, so you shouldn’t expect to see the Apple logo when the computer’s off or on. There are also some neat if not strictly necessary Incase-inspired perforated venting holes on the bottom of Feather, a little design touch that’s completely missing from SeeThru Satin. On the other hand, Feather’s side port holes are slightly less impressively tailored, with too little extra space for wide USB or display connectors, and the rubber foot covers are a little less interesting than Speck’s. The black Feather we received also shows smudges much more easily than the black Satin, picking up and making finger oils look very obvious within moments of first use. This would be our biggest issue using Feather in practice.
Neither company has a price advantage, which is sort of a bummer given that either one could have easily shaved some dollars off the $50 already being charged for the larger MacBook Pro versions of these cases—but then, no one is really competing with equally impressive MacBook Air 11” hard shells at a lower price. We’d bet that Incase will follow suit with its inevitable Hardshell Case for MacBook Air, which though unannounced at this point will probably wind up costing the same price while resembling each design in some significant ways. If and when it appears, we’ll check it out, too; for now, Incipio and Speck have significant early mover advantages, with Speck leading on the little details and Incipio offering more colors and a little extra design flash. We’d give the edge to Speck, but if you’re looking to go red, pink, or purple with your 11” Air, Feather’s your only choice today.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Incipio to acquire Skullcandy
- Apple confirms iOS 10 kernel was left open to improve performance
- Apple leaves iOS 10 kernel open to scrutiny
- Judge throws out ‘Error 53’ lawsuit against Apple
- Chinese company in iPhone patent fight is all but defunct
- Apple adds nine more apps to universal search in Apple TV
- WSJ: iPhone to see modest changes this year, eliminate headphone jack
- China tightening restrictions on mobile games starting next month
- Supreme Court patent ruling bodes well for future Apple cases
- Apple to pay $400M to consumers over e-book price fixing case
- Zagg Slim Book for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Element Case Ronin for iPhone 6/6s
- JBL Clip 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Catalyst Case for iPad mini 4
- Jaybird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Zagg Flex Arc Wireless Earbuds + Speakers
- Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC SonicPro Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
- Twelve South BookBook for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Spigen Rugged Armor, Style Armor + Wallet S for iPhone SE
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app