Sometimes at Testfreaks we get access to prototype versions of upcoming products. Today we will look at one of these prototypes called the Cartella for MacBook Air. This is a new case from Pad&Quill a company which creates hand made bookbindery cases for touch enabled devices. The Cartella is designed to mimic the appearance of Moleskine notebooks (the pen and paper kind), so the design should look rather familiar.

This unique case will make your MacBook Air stand out from the crowd with its handmade style and stylish appearance. It actually hides the MacBook Air so well; most people may just think you are carrying around a big Moleskine notebook.

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Since this is a prototype version of the Cartella, it did not come with any special packaging; just a plain cardboard box with the case protected by bubble wrap. The Cartella arrives with a brief history of the company, installation instructions and some spare bumpers.

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The case measures 35 cm x 25 cm x 2 cm and is covered with Italian leather on its exterior mimicking the well-known Moleskine style. The outside of the Cartella is unmarred by logos on the front, back or sides, lending an air of elegance to the case.

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On the back of the case is an elastic strap used to keep the Cartella closed. According to my contact at Pad&Quill, “the straps are glued down to the backer board and then paper is glued over the top”. From my past experience with Moleskine style products; this strap is the first component to get broken. In fact my initial Dodocase for iPad’s strap came unglued and was a hassle to repair. This is the main peril of using a Moleskine style case; hopefully Pad&Quill used some real strong glue on the Cartella’s straps.

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Here is a size comparison of the Cartella to the 10” iPad Dodocase. There is a conspicuous size discrepancy between the two as the Dodocase can be easily disguised when hiding amongst books on a bookshelf while the 13” Cartella case is much more noticeable due to its size. Apparently three inches does make a difference.

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The Cartella opens like a book utilizing a cloth spine to maintain durability especially when the spine is wrapped all the way back. The inside of the Cartella is covered with a textured glossy red paper liner with a thin pocket on the inside of the inner cover, which can be used for storing papers.

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The lower half of the Cartella is composed of Baltic Birch frame where the MacBook Air rests snuggly when housed in the case. Lining half of this frame is a rubbery bumper to keep the MacBook Air in place. Pad&Quill does provide additional bumpers for those who are nervous about the fit or if the original bumpers wear out.

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Toward the front of this frame are two round wooden discs that provide traction for the MacBook Air’s feet. While the back of the frame has two circular openings for resting the other two MacBook Air feet which helps even out the laptop while housed within the Cartella.

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On the sides of the Cartella are openings for port access on the MacBook Air including USB, power, audio inputs and MiniDisplay port.

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Specifications:

The Cartella for MacBook Air

Our Sputnik Moment

They said is couldn’t be done and yet, Pad&Quill is proud to present The Cartella. The one and only bookbindery case for the MacBook Air.

The Cartella rhymes with bella which is exactly what you will think of our Italian leather bound case for the Macbook air. Designed with the same Baltic Birch frame as our other cases, this one pays tribute to the innovation that brought sleek design and functionality to the laptop market. For the device which redefined ordinary we present an extraordinary case.

Securing the MacBook Air within 1/20,000 of an inch this case offers the protection, functionality and luxury that you have come to expect from Pad&Quill. Our proprietary bumper material keeps the laptop in place. Access to all major ports are available and when our unique portfolio book is folded back it provides a perfect laptop stand. A new large pocket space is now included for those documents and notes you need on the go.

Installation of the MacBook Air into the Cartella requires sliding the Apple laptop into the lower half of the case. The most important step is positioning the MacBook Air within the rubber bumpers of the Cartella. If this is not done properly, then the MacBook Air will fall out and you don’t want that to happen.

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Another important thing to note, despite the presence of the rubber grips, the MacBook Air will come out if the Cartella is held upside down.

When inserted properly the MacBook Air will sit flush with the front of the Cartella. In the front center is a space for opening and closing the MacBook Air screen.

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Both sides of the MacBook Air are accessible while the laptop is housed in the Cartella. Even with the cover closed, both these sides can be easily reached.

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The front cover of the Cartella can be folded over to provide a slight tilt to the MacBook Air. This also keeps the Cartella’s cover out of the way when doing work on the laptop.

The build quality and design of the Cartella is first rate. The only real drawback to the Cartella especially for the 13” MacBook Air is its size. The Cartella makes the svelte Apple laptop seem much bulkier. This is the trade off for this style of case.

In terms of protection, the Cartella is not going to provide Toughbook style security but it should keep the MacBook Air relatively safe from minor bumps and traumas.

Working on the MacBook Air within the Cartella was comfortable as the case double as a lapdesk.


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Conclusion:

Pad&Quill’s first MacBook Air case is definitely a great start. Its design mimics the Moleskine style giving it a classic appearance, which stands out from most other MacBook Air cases. It’s primarily designed for style as it will not protect the MacBook Air from major trauma.

The major concern with any of these styles of cases is the durability. From my past experience I have seen both elastic straps and spines break on these style of cases, hopefully Pad&Quill’s craftsmanship is a bit better than the competition.

Overall the Cartella is a stunning MacBook Air case and will make the already conversation worthy MacBook Air stand out that much more.

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Pros:
+Terrific Appearance
+Terrific construction using classic bookbinding techniques
+Handmade
+Quality build materials

Cons:
-Adds bulk to the MacBook Air experience

Grades:
Overall score 9 10 thumb1 Review of The Cartella for MacBook Air
Design score 9 10 thumb1 Review of The Cartella for MacBook Air
Performance score 9 10 thumb1 Review of The Cartella for MacBook Air

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