SGP‘s $110 Gariz Modern Series Genuine Leather Case for the 11-inch MacBook Air is the company’s first foray into sleeves for Apple’s smallest laptop, and—as a serious bag or design geek might gander from the name—a collaboration with Korean design company Gariz.
The thin, landscape-orientation sleeve consists almost entirely of Italian, vegetable-tanned leather and features a fold-over flap with a snap rivet on each end to keep your laptop nice and snug inside. The sleeve’s elegant design makes the Gariz Case a nice fit for a business meeting, high-fashion event, or evening soirée.
That is, assuming you can get your MacBook Air inside the sleeve in the first place. As anyone who’s ever tried to squeeze their way into leather jeans knows, the material is hardly stretchy. When I first attempted to slide my MacBook Air into the pouch, I had to wedge it in there, one inch at a time. After about five minutes, I finally managed to get the laptop inside the sleeve, only to have the reverse problem: How to take it out? Luckily, one side of the sleeve is cut lower than the other—ideally so that you can charge your MacBook Air while it’s in the Gariz Case, but I found that this design was more useful for giving me a larger chunk of laptop to grab when yanking my poor becalmed laptop out of its leather enclosure.
Admittedly, after this first rather disastrous attempt at sheathing my computer, subsequent efforts went a bit more smoothly. (Tip: I also discovered that while the Case is designed to fit the Air skinny-edge-first, if I shoved in the MacBook hinge-first, it loosened up the fit noticeably; I was then able to slip the Air inside the normal way with much less difficulty.) And once things have loosened up, the Gariz Case fits—again—much like a pair of tight leather jeans, nicely accentuating the Air’s figure while adding little extra bulk. On the other hand, it also doesn’t offer a lot of bump and shock protection, either.
Ultimately, while the Gariz Modern Series Genuine Leather Case is nicely constructed and looks great, it’s also pricey for a minimalist sleeve, and you’ll have to decide whether having the sleekest looking case at an office meeting is worth the couple of minutes you’ll spend struggling to yank your MacBook Air out of its shell.