More protection for the 11-inch MacBook Air
Despite the popularity of the 11.6-inch MacBook Air, and the fact that it's been available since last October, bags and cases specifically made for protecting Apple's smallest laptop can be difficult to find. Back in December, we rounded up every bag and sleeve we could dig up for the 11-inch Air. It's time to take a look at the other options that have debuted since then.
Toffee MacBook Air Envelope, Brief, and Sleeve for 11.6" MacBook Air
Designed for the business professional, Toffee’s line of leather cases and sleeves can now count the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air among its list of supported laptops. The two MacBook Air configurations have been added as options for both Toffee’s $130 Brief (upper right), a fitted sleeve that outwardly resembles a softcover briefcase, and $90 Sleeve (left), a padded, leather, zippered sleep. The company’s $90 MacBook Air Envelope (lower right)—a landscape-orientation, pebble-grain leather envelope with white stitching—has also been redesigned to fit Apple’s two new models. The Brief and Envelope come in either red or black leather, while you can choose one of four colors—black, red, pink, or orange—for the Sleeve.
Be.ez LA robe Air 11
Be.ez's $30 LA robe Air 11 ( ) is a more durable—and more colorful—alternative to the traditional neoprene laptop sleeve. The LA robe is made of 5mm-thick, low-resilience polyurethane—a memory foam-like material that dissipates impact and then slowly returns to its original shape—covered in jersey-like fabric that's available in a variety of slick and fashionable designs. Just as appealing, however, is that the LA robe Air 11 weighs only five ounces, making it a great way to keep your Air safe inside another bag or pack.
Pen & Quill Cartella for MacBook Air 11 Inch
Possibly inspired by the Dodocase for iPad, Pen & Quill's Cartella for MacBook Air 11 Inch is billed as "the one and only bookbindery case for the MacBook Air." Sporting an internal Baltic Birch frame with proprietary bumpers to hold your Air, along with an Italian leather-bound cover, the Cartella makes your laptop truly look like a MacBook. The Cartella allows access to the Air's ports and jacks, and if you fold the "front cover" back and under, it turns into a low-profile angled stand—you can use your MacBook without removing it from the case. Inside that front cover is a thin pocket that can hold a few 8.5-by-11-inch documents.
Acme Made Skinny Sleeve MacBook Air 11"
Acme Made's $40 Skinny Sleeve MacBook Air 11", available at Apple Stores, is a slip-in horizontal sleeve that aims to be thinner and lighter than other sleeves on the market. Waterproof and stain resistant, the Skinny Sleeve is made of Acme Made's "StretchShell" neoprene with rigid inserts on the top and bottom. An elastic, Moleskin-notebook-style strap keeps your Air from sliding out.
Speck shells, sleeves, and packs
Case maker Speck has introduced a slew of protective products for the 11-inch Air. Building on the success of the company's hardshell laptop coverings, the $50 SeeThru Case for MacBook Air 11" (lower left) is a clear, glossy, two-piece shell that snaps onto the top and bottom of your Air, protecting it from scratches without adding much bulk or obscuring its sexy profile. All ports are accessible, and custom feet keep the Air firmly planted on your desk. The $50 SeeThru Satin Case for MacBook Air 11" offers similar protection in can't-see-through-it black. The company claims its new Air shells are its thinnest ever. Also custom-made for the Air is the $35 PixelSleeve Air 11" for MacBook Air (upper right), a form-fitting, textured-neoprene sleeve with a micro-fleece lining.
The company also has two netbook-focused bags that will fit the 11-inch Air. The $50 CorePack-10 for iPad & 10" Netbooks (lower right) is a messenger bag with a butterfly-opening design that's TSA-friendly. Despite the bag's name, its padded, micro-fleece-lined compartment fits the MacBook Air (or, of course, an iPad, netbook, or e-reader), while the bag's other main compartment houses pockets for accessories and cables. Similarly, the $50 PortPack-10 for iPad & 10" Netbooks (top left) fits the 11-inch Air. This vertical messenger is designed to stay slim if you're not carrying much, but it can expand to meet your needs—pockets on the outside can fit a few accessories and cables, while a zipper around the middle of the pack allows it to expand to twice its normal size to fit even more of your stuff.
Incipio Slim Sleeve and Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Cases
Incipio offers both a sleeve and a use-in option for the 11-inch Air. The $30 MacBook Air 11in Slim Sleeve Case (top) is a synthetic-leather protective sleeve lined with high-density foam and micro-suede material, yet it weights less than 7.5 ounces and is only 6mm thick. The $50 MacBook Air 11in Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case (bottom) is, like Speck's SeeThru, a thin, hardshell case that snaps onto the top and bottom of your Air. The Feather is less than 1mm thick and sports a soft, matte finish in one of five different colors.
SGP MacBook Air 11 inch Leather Case Gariz Modern Series
Designed specifically for the 11-inch MacBook Air, SGP’s vegetable-tanned (and long-named) $110 MacBook Air 11 inch Leather Case Gariz Modern Series is a thin, luxurious envelope that offers your laptop smooth protection without the added bulk of thicker sleeves. Lined with microfiber, the landscape-orientation sleeve holds your Air in place with a leather flap that snaps shut using two silver rivets.
Hard Candy Cases Candy Convertible and Bubble Sleeve MacBook Air Cases
Hard Candy Cases has joined the MacBook Air case fray by offering both a snap-on leather jacket and a padded sleeve. The $50 Candy Convertible Air (right), available in black or red faux-nubuck leather, wraps the exterior of the Air in a thin, leather shell. The $50 Bubble Sleeve (left), meanwhile, provides a thoroughly padded and shock-resistant carrying shell for your laptop. Rubber bumper corners protect the Air from bangs and bumps, while molded foam holds it in place.
Waterfield Designs MacBook Air Wallet
A sleeve is a convenient way to protect your laptop inside another bag, but sometimes you want to carry a few bits of essential gear, as well. Waterfield Designs' $89 MacBook Air Wallet carries your Air, SuperDrive, power adapter, mouse, and a few other small accessories in a padded case not much larger than some 13-inch laptops. The interior is lined with soft, lightly padded fabric, and rigid inserts provide a bit of extra protection. The exterior is available in one of six colors with leather trim. For an extra charge, you can add one of Waterfield's comfortable shoulder straps—or just D-rings for using your own strap.
STM Slim Extra Small
STM's $40 Slim Extra Small notebook bag looks like someone left its 15-inch big brother in the dryer for too long. According to STM, this messenger-style bag is a perfect fit for the 11-inch MacBook Air, though it's actually designed for any laptop with an 11-inch screen (which probably means the laptop compartment is quite a bit thicker than the super-slim Air). Two zippered front pockets offer room for accessories, while a small slider pocket is ideal for your iPod or iPhone. Your MacBook Air will be protected in the main compartment by plush corduroy lining and high-density foam padding, while the 1.4-pound bag's exterior is made of 300D micro ripstop nylon with polyurethane coating.
Joli MacBook Air 11" Sleeve
Dutch designer Jolien Meiberg has constructed a whole series of MacBook Air 11 Inch Sleeves—available on Etsy.com—that combine a leather exterior with felt lining for professional-yet-funky protection. The $75 sleeves come a range of leather and felt colors, and you can even request a custom-made version if you don’t see a color pairing that's to your liking.
Wrapsol Original Scratch Protection System for MacBook Air
Wrapsol's Original Scratch Protection System for MacBook Air is not just a mouthful. It's actually a sound way to fend off everyday wear and tear. This $45 protective-film kit includes three transparent, custom-fit pieces of film: one for the top of the Air, one for the bottom, and a third for the wrist rest area that fits precisely around the touchpad. Wrapsol's film set doesn't protect as much of the Air's body as NLU's BodyGuardz, but Wrapsol claims its polyurethane film is stronger and more protective. The set comes with the typical extras, including a microfiber cleaning cloth and a squeegee for application.
GelaSkins for 11.6" MacBook Air
Don't want (or need) an all-over protective skin? Or just want to dress up your Air with some eye-catching graphics? GelaSkins has debuted an entire line of skins for the 11-inch MacBook Air, currently at 217 designs and counting. Each $30 GelaSkin covers the top of your Air with a vinyl-like protective layer that's resistant to scratches while it sports your favorite design. (You can also create a design by uploading your own graphic, image, or logo.) The skins use special 3M adhesive that lets you easily remove them without any residue—especially useful when putting on a skin, since it will likely take a few tries to get it to line up perfectly. We tested—and loved—the Booombox II design shown here, which generated lots of questions and comments from passers-by.