The Black MacBook Pro, Courtesy Incase Designs
Beautiful design is one thing that has remained consistent about Incase’s Apple accessories over the past few years: it is almost invariably true that an Incase accessory will make your iPod, iPhone, or Mac notebook look even cooler than it did when you first unpacked it. Protectiveness and pricing have been concerns for some of the company’s products, though: Incase’s recent iPhone and iPod cases have been on the expensive side, and sometimes lacking for protection. Thankfully, the company’s new Hardshell Case for the MacBook Pro ($50) compares very favorably to its closest competitor, Speck’s SeeThru, and more effectively converts the silver aluminum Pro into a “BlackBook” for those who have envied the dark enclosure of the $1499 MacBook model.
More pictures and details are inside the full story; click above or below.
One of the most striking touches about the Hardshell case is its bottom. Incase has designed the plastic shell to let the MacBook Pro’s battery meter and button peek through, as well as the screws on its rear corners. There are also rubberized dots to keep the case from scuffing on a flat surface. It’s a sharp design, with the benefit of a little added ventilation for the machine’s bottom casing.
Side ports are exposed in fairly typical fashion; our sample’s side is a little different from units at retail, which were tweaked to accommodate early MacBook Pros that lacked a FireWire 800 port.* The front of the case also has nicely cut port holes; the IR sensor’s hole is a little off-center, but still exposes the full sensor. When closed, the case is visually nondescript, save for a small Incase logo on the right bottom corner; when open with the screen facing you, it doesn’t interfere with the MacBook’s screen, keyboard, or speakers. [* = Updated post-publication based on a clarification from Incase.]
What’s most interesting about this design is Incase’s choice of materials. Rather than using clear, glossy plastic like Speck’s, Incase picked a translucent soft touch rubberized matte finish that has one major benefit—it looks very classy—and one issue, namely that it tends to show finger oil smudges and other little scuffs. When the MacBook Pro’s screen is on and the Apple logo is glowing, the Hardshell looks really neat, transforming the Pro into a somewhat more sophisticated take on the truly black 13” MacBook. Similarly, when the Pro is upside down, being held in your hand or under your arm, the combination of black and silver on the bottom is really attractive. But when the Pro is off, it might as well be an ThinkPad or Dell, as the top mutes the darkened Apple logo to the point of near-invisibility.
Though Incase’s web site currently shows the Hardshell in two colors—white and black—for the MacBook, the company apparently has four total colors coming for 13”, 15”, and 17” MacBooks and Pros: white frost, black frost, red frost, and plum frost, the latter colors in dark rather than cheery, bright shades like Speck’s. Whether to go with one company’s solution or the other will depend largely on your taste for more somber tones and matte finishes, or a wider variety of bolder colors that shine. It’s truly a matter of personal preference, and at the same price, we wouldn’t give one company’s design a major edge over the other.
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.
- iLounge Weekly arrives Monday, sign up now
- Apple retail stores to have very limited Apple Watch stock
- Apple quietly acquiring companies to improve cloud services?
- Apple planning to release three iPhone models this year?
- Report reveals more details on Apple’s upcoming music service
- Apple adds CNNgo channel to Apple TV
- Apple acquires database company FoundationDB
- Apple releases iOS 8.3 beta 4
- Apple adds Tastemade, TED, Young Hollywood channels to Apple TV
- Source: Italian prosecutors wrap up Apple tax probe
- OORT SmartFinder, SmartLED + SmartSocket
- RooCase Exec Tough for iPhone 6 Plus
- Pronto Smart Remote System
- iWalk Extreme Spartan
- EnerPlex Surfr for iPhone 6
- IK Multimedia iRig 2 Guitar Interface
- PowerSkin Pop’n 3 for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- Coogobox Symphony Dock for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- PowerSkin Spare for iPhone 6
- Chil Attraction Jacket for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- Can I turn off the app icons that appear in the bottom corner on the lock screen?
- Why do I have two separate conversations with the same person in Messages?
- Can I transfer the existing version of an app to my new iPhone?
- How do I quickly erase all of the contacts on my old iPhone?
- How do I disassociate my phone number from iMessage?
- How do I stop Siri from randomly waking up?
- How do I cancel a print job on iOS?
- How do I make my camera LED flash when my iPhone rings?
- How do I re-sync contacts to my vehicle after switching to a new iPhone?
- How do I move away from a shared Apple ID for iMessage?