With all of this talk lately of the new Apple MacBook Air line, it's important to remember that while the laptop is a stylish piece of hardware carved from aluminum, it can still suffer from hard use. I always have a protective case for my smartphone and tablet, so why not one for my laptop?
Enter the Saddleback leather case from Tuff-Luv. I have a great love for quality leather goods; even moreso if they are of rugged construction and have that freshly tanned leather smell. If you've walked into a store like Wilson's Leather you know exactly what I am talking about.
Tuff-Luv contacted me and asked me if I wanted to evaluate one of their cases for the MacBook Air 11". I said I would be happy to, and shortly afterward I received the new case in the mail. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised; after all, most high-end leather goods from the UK that I've seen have never disappointed me.
This case was no exception. As soon as I opened the package, the smell of a brand new Rawlings baseball glove hit me. I checked out the stitching all over the case to bake sure there were no loose threads, crooked seams or visible knots. Nothing of the sort. And the stressed leather look is a really good choice, because you never have to worry about scratching it and damaging the finish--you won't even be able to tell if a scratch is new or original from the manufacturer. It only comes in brown, but after you've seen it you probably don't need any other color.
The case fits very snugly around the MacBook Air. The leather that cover the corners of the handrest have an additional bonus: normally when you rest your hands on the laptop, the sharp edges tend to cut into your wrists. Not anymore, since the leather frame protects your sensitive skin and provides a comfortable place for your hands. The interior of the case is lined with microfiber-quality suede. I don't know if that was necessary, but it was certainly a nice touch.
When closed, the magnetic leather flap keeps your laptop wrapped up tight. When open, you can have the magnetic flap resting on the top of your screen bezel; there's a notch in it so it won't block the camera. Personally I prefer to fold the upper cover underneath the laptop to keep it out of the way. The extra weight of the leather has a tendency to drag the lid of the MacBook Air down. This is perhaps the only drawback I have experienced with this case, and it's certainly not one that would keep me from buying the case.
One of the major issues with folio-type laptop cases is that they add a considerable amount of bulk to the laptop they are designed to protect. Of course there are very thin skin-type ones, but they really do nothing more than protect the laptop from minor scratches.
The Tuff-Luv Saddleback leather case adds a modest amount of thickness to the MacBook Air, but not so much that it becomes unwieldy. And it is fairly light, so the added weight is hardly a bother. Even better is that the form-fitting case does not increase the height and width by any appreciable degree so that it still fits nicely into my XS-sized Timbuk2 messenger bag.
Keep in mind, this is not the kind of case you would want if you need to protect your shiny new laptop from a 6-foot drop onto concrete. It would probably protect it against a flat drop, but not a drop onto the edge. It's meant to be a stylish carrying case that protects your laptop from the majority of abuse you will likely put it through, and looks great doing it.
If you can afford to spoil your laptop, the Tuff-Luv Saddleback leather case for the MacBook Air 11 will set you back around $130 US, or around $164 for the 13" model.