There’s so much new stuff to cover today that we can’t take as much time as we’d like to discuss NLU’s new BodyGuardz film protectors for the MacBook Air 11” and 13” ($50 each), so the following will have to suffice until we have a chance to circle back and say more.
Only a handful of items qualify as mandatory purchases in our minds when we buy new Mac laptop computers. AppleCare is one, an extra wall power adapter is sometimes another, and NLU’s protective film is the third. We’ve literally used the company’s film on all of our MacBooks for years, and have—apart from their tendency to peel a little at the edges over time—really, really liked the results. They protect the computers, make us less cautious when setting them down on most surfaces, and enable the machines to be resold in cosmetically “like new” condition when we’re ready to upgrade.
The MacBook Air versions for the 11” and 13” computers have arrived, and there are no huge surprises this time out: the full-fledged kit comes with top, bottom, and palmrest guards, plus four stickers that go on different portions of the Air’s tiny edges, providing partial protection around the ports. There’s only so much NLU (and others) can really do to cover edges that taper down to such dimensions, so it gets credit for trying—we’ll have to see over time how well the side stickers stand up against opportunities to peel. The company has tailored the top and bottom pieces tightly enough inside the MacBook Air’s curves this time that we’d be surprised if they peel, but the side stickers have been notoriously problematic in the past.
Application was typically straightforward, at least for us, as we’ve been doing this for years now: completely clean the outside of the MacBook with a microfiber cloth to eliminate all dust, use the included soapy water spray bottles to moisten the adhesive film, center the film and work out the residual moisture using an included squeegee and the cloth, then let it all dry. The only installation issue we noted is that NLU doesn’t include the cloth, so if you don’t have something totally lint- and dust-free around, you’ll need to figure something out on your own to avoid specks in the film. Some users may also chafe at installing something using water to moisten the adhesive, but we’ve never had any problems, perhaps because we’ve been very cautious with the included liquid.
Last, and an issue we’ve mentioned in past coverage of NLU’s MacBook film, is the price. We were never totally thrilled about the $50 asking price for film for a 15” MacBook Pro, and as the sizes of Apple’s metal devices have shrunk to 13” and now 11”, the price still strikes us as high—particularly given that literally each of the installations we’ve done has experienced a little edge peel after eight months or a year, and we’ve wanted to replace the peeled parts, but just haven’t due to lack of time. NLU scores some points by offering lifetime replacements for the film if you want to request them, but doesn’t include a second set of pieces in the package so that you can just install them yourself as necessary. We really would like to see the company remedy this issue by either including a full second set of film for the price up front, something that would also aid first-time installers with problems, or at least doubling up on the parts that are most likely to come off over time. The price would be easier to swallow if there were no lingering concerns like these. That said, we rely upon this film every day for the super-thin, impressive protection it offers for our MacBooks, and the Air version is every bit as good as its predecessors.