Apple's MacBooks, Airs, iPhones and iPads have spawned a huge industry of cases and covers and keyboards. Mostly it's a sign of their popularity with consumers who like being able to snap on different colors and styles that fit precisely, so seeing some of those styles show up for Surface has been a sign of its success.
I'm a big fan of Maroo's Surface cases; the portfolio style for the Surface Pro that gives you a multi-position kickstand and the option of folding the cover back under the kickstand to stabilize the Surface on your knee is very flexible. And the new Surface Book slip case has the same high quality glove leather that Maroo has always used for its Mac cases.
But what about decorating your device to get that personal feel that Apple customers are so used to?
There's something about the design of Surface Book that stops people peppering them with the usual spatter of stickers; the metal and the hinge just look so good on their own. But if you want to get a different look, Toast has a very nice option: real wood veneer in a choice of different woods, that's cut precisely to fit the lines of a Surface Book.
And I do mean precisely: there are strips to fit the sides, every vane of the hinge and even dots to fit on the buttons, and a matrix cut to fit around the keys and touchpad that follows the chamber of the concave lip where you open the Surface Book, as well as a back that leaves the polished mirrors of the Microsoft logo visible and a slice of wood for the base of the keyboard that leaves the grip strips free.
This is all precision cut, and with plenty of attention to detail; the grain of the wood on the top and base slices of our sample was matched, so your Surface Book really does look like it's actually made of wood and aluminum.
All that precision cutting makes it a little fiddly to apply, because you need to line everything up equally precisely, while not getting the very strong glue stuck to your fingers. You can peel off a little of the backing and until you press it down firmly, you can re-position the slice of wood, but once you press it down, the wood is there for good. (If you do want to remove it, you have to warm the wood with a hairdryer and peel; there's a pattern of small dots cut out of the backing that interrupt the adhesive surface you apply to the Surface that make it a little easier to take off than if it was a full adhesive sheet.)
Once applied, the Toast wooden cover looks very stylish and distinctive, and that little bit more personal. If you're going to customize a design as stylish as the Surface Book, you want something equally classy. It's not cheap -- $69 to $139 depending on how many of the surfaces of your Surface you want to cover -- but it should be hard wearing, and it will stop the metal of your Surface Book picking up scuff marks.
Toast also has covers for the Surface Pro 4 ($49 to cover the back) and for a wide range of phones and tablets, laptops and MacBooks.